If you’ve made the decision to embark on a homeschooling journey, you may be wondering how to begin or imagining piles of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. But while some specific situations may encounter a few exceptional challenges, for most the process couldn’t be more simple.
Notifying the DNPE
If your oldest child will turn age 7 in the upcoming school year, it’s time to file your Notice of Intent to Operate a Home School. One of the parents/legal guardians must possess a high school diploma or GED and transcripts or a college diploma must be submitted with your Notice. At this point, you will also choose a name for your homeschool.
As long as you continue homeschooling, you do not need to file a new Notice of Intent each year. Current information and more details can be found at the DNPE. Read through these carefully before filing, as they will help you avoid mistakes and become more familiar with the process.
Here is the online form. Note that you will be notified through email when the Notice of Intent is processed. The message will include your homeschool ID Number.
If your child is currently attending public school and age 7 or older, you will need to wait to receive confirmation that your Notice of Intent has been accepted prior to withdrawing your child from school. If your oldest child is under 7 and already attending public school, you are free to withdraw that child prior to officially opening your homeschool with the state.
Some parents have been met with resistance from public school officials when withdrawing their under-7 children. However, do not be discouraged as they are breaking the law by not allowing you to withdraw. If this happens, please call the NCDNPE. They will help you resolve the situation.
Once your homeschool is established, there are a few requirements going forward. In no particular order, they are:
- Maintain attendance records for each student.
- Maintain immunization records for each student.
- Operate the school “on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year.”
- Have a nationally standardized achievement test administered to each student within one year of your homeschool’s start date, and then annually thereafter. Tests must include English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. Records of the results must be retained for at least one year and made available to the DNPE when requested.
- Notify the DNPE when your school is no longer in operation.
There are no other requirements for curriculum or scheduling. You have the freedom to operate your homeschool as you deem best for your child or children. Here’s a quick primer from North Carolinians for Home Education on approaches to homeschooling getting started on planning curriculum.
Don’t fret too much over making the “perfect” decision when it comes to curriculum. Remember that one of the great things about homeschooling is the freedom that comes with it — including the freedom to try new curriculum when what you’re using isn’t working out.