Homeschool Help Sheet

Posted: Thu, 09/29/2011 - 11:28am Updated: Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:27am

This document is provided upon request to all citizens interested in public and nonpublic education. Any public or nonpublic educator having questions about home education may contact the Indiana Department of Education.

Getting Started

  • RESEARCH HOME EDUCATION: Before you transfer your child from a traditional school, learn all you can. Talk to other home educators, read books about home education, learn about homeschool law in Indiana, "comparison shop" for a curriculum for your school.

  • TRANSFER YOUR CHILD AND NOTIFY HIS OR HER CURRENT PRINCIPAL, IN WRITING, OF YOUR DECISION: While the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) issues school numbers to all private schools after they report their grade level enrollment data, you do not need a homeschool number prior to transferring your child and beginning home instruction. However, you do need to let the public school know why your child is no longer in attendance or he or she may be considered truant.

  • REQUEST A COPY OF YOUR CHILD'S PUBLIC SCHOOL RECORDS: You are entitled to a copy of these public school records, both as a school administrator and as the parent of a minor child, under state law and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please note that this does not apply to private school records.

Homeschool Law

In addition to reporting your enrollment, Indiana law requires (if specifically requested by the State Superintendent) the following of all homeschools and other nonaccredited, private schools:

  • 180 DAYS OF INSTRUCTION: You decide which days your school will be in session, and how long to teach each day. In the case of mid-year transfers, days attended at the first school count toward the 180 day total at the homeschool.

  • ATTENDANCE RECORDS: There is no special form for these records, which are used to verify private school attendance. Please note that the law allows local public school superintendents to request copies of your child's attendance records to verify attendance.

  • INSTRUCTION EQUIVALENT TO THAT GIVEN IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: State law does not define equivalency of instruction for public or private schools. If there is ever a question of educational neglect, keeping good attendance records and other documentation regarding attendance and continuing educational activity is highly instrumental in addressing these concerns.

  • CURRICULUM: State law exempts home schools from the curriculum and program requirements which public schools must follow.

Homeschool Organizations

While not a source for textbooks, these organizations can provide guidance about local support groups, choosing curricula, and the "how to's" of home education.

Books and Curricula

THERE IS NO STATE-APPROVED CURRICULUM FOR HOME EDUCATION AT ANY GRADE LEVEL, NOR ARE THERE STATE-APPROVED OR MANDATED TEXTBOOKS. Indiana law gives home educators the flexibility to choose the curriculum and textbooks they feel will most benefit their children.

THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DOES NOT PROVIDE BOOKS OR CURRICULA FOR HOME EDUCATION AT ANY GRADE LEVEL. Many home educators use correspondence programs to teach their children. The following names and numbers are included to assist you as you start your search; however, there are many others available.

THIS LIST DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ACCREDITATION OR ENDORSEMENT OF THESE PROGRAMS BY THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. You must contact the programs directly for answers to your questions about their prices and the comprehensiveness of their curricula:

High School Only:
Ball State University Dual Credit Program (800) 382-8540
Best Online Schools
Indiana University (Accredited diploma**) (800) 334-1011
American School (Accredited diploma**) (800) 531-9268
Univ. of Nebraska (Accredited diploma**) (888) 482-5598
Allied National High School (Accredited diploma*) (800) 968-4034
Ivy Tech Community College

* Accreditation is through the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, not through the Indiana Department of Education.
** Accreditation is through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, not through the Indiana Department of Education.

Elementary/Middle/High School:
The Calvert School (K- 8) (888) 487-4652
Abeka (K-12) (800) 874-3592
IndyPlus (K-12) (317) 240-1797

** Accreditation is through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, not through the Indiana Department of Education.

General Information

HOME EDUCATED STUDENTS ARE NOT DROPOUTS. They are transfer students who keep their DRIVER'S LICENSES upon withdrawal.

  • If you are home educating a SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, referrals may be available from one of the homeschool organizations listed above. Under 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10), children with disabilities enrolled in homeschools have the same genuine opportunities for participation in IDEA funded programs (through the public schools) as children with disabilities enrolled in an accredited, nonpublic school.

  • WORK PERMITS must be obtained from the issuing officer at a local public or accredited private school. Homeschooled students are bound by the same child labor regulations that bind all other students. For more information, contact the Indiana Department of Labor at (888) 833-6967 or visit the child labor web page.

  • While encouraged, KINDERGARTEN is not mandatory in Indiana. Children are to be enrolled and attending school in the fall of the school year during which they turn seven, unless their parents choose to home educate. Home educated children are to begin school no later than their seventh birthday.

  • The IHSAA has established the following criteria for homeschoolers to participate in public school sports:

The criteria include:

  1. The student, in conjunction with the school, provide proof to the IHSAA that the spirit of the eligibility rules will not be compromised including passing a physical examination and participating in the required number of practices in a given sport;
  2. The student must have been homeschooled for the previous three consecutive years;
  3. The student completes all state-wide examinations as authorized by the Indiana Department of Education;
  4. The student's family must submit grade information to the school to affirm the student is passing all courses;
  5. The student must be enrolled in the school for which the student is participating for a minimum of one class per day.

Dual enrollment for all extra-curricular, elementary, middle and high school sports is a local decision. For specifics, contact the IHSAA at (317) 846-6601.

  • Participation in public school EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES is also at the discretion of the public school.

  • Under Indiana law, students enrolled in non-accredited, private schools (including, but not limited to, homeschools) ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SCHOLARS PROGRAM.

Testing

State law does not require ISTEP+, or any other testing, for children in homeschools. In fact, home educated children may not take ISTEP+ unless they are also enrolled in a public school for at least one period per day. The Department of Education recommends periodic, standardized achievement testing for homeschooled children. If you wish, you may be able to arrange for private testing at one of the following:

Indiana University
Institute for Child Study
201 N. Rose Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 856-8303

Greater Lafayette Area Special Services
(765) 449-3208

Bob Jones University
Testing Services
(800) 845-5731

T.E.A.C.H.
308 E. Main St.
Fairland, IN 46126
(317) 835-0326

University of Evansville
Dr. Nealon Gaskey, EdD
School of Education
1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville IN 47722
(812) 479-2367

Getting a Diploma

Homeschooled children will not receive a diploma from the local public school or from the state. The IDOE suggests you use an accredited correspondence program which grants a diploma upon completion.

Students who are issued a diploma by the administrator (parent or legal guardian) of an Indiana homeschool possess a legally issued, non-accredited diploma according to the State of Indiana. Homeschools, like all other non-accredited, nonpublic schools, may legally issue a diploma to students that complete the graduation requirements of that school, as established by that school.

Indiana law requires homeschools to give instruction equivalent to public schools but does not bind any requirements set forth with regard to curriculum or the content of educational programs offered by the school.

Sixteen year-old home educated students may choose to take the general equivalency exam to earn a general educational development certificate (GED).The forms required for participation in GED testing are available at local GED testing sites, or from www.gedtest.org