Homeschooling in North Dakota requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal intricacies and regulations that are imposed by the state.
Whilst the regulations are stricter than in other more relaxed states, it’s pretty easy to adhere to the rules with enough notice.
Let this article serve as a guide to the state’s regulatory landscape for homeschooling and shed some light on the necessary compliance measures.
We’ll also be exploring the local co-ops and education sites available to you as a current or prospective homeschooling parent.
Understanding North Dakota’s Homeschooling Laws
There are two options for homeschooling in North Dakota, based on whether you are a state-certified teacher or not.
If you are a certified teacher under North Dakota law, then you can homeschool at a private school; however, if you’re not, you have to follow the “home education law” – more on this in a minute.
If you’re not a teacher, you still need to have at least a high school diploma or GED to teach unsupervised. Without these qualifications, you are still permitted to teach, but you will have to be supervised for two years.
At the end of these two years, if your child is testing above the 50th percentile, you no longer have to be monitored. However, if your child falls below that line, the supervision will continue until the point where they surpass it.
Legal Requirements Under The Home Education Law
Statement Of Intent
Firstly, you need to file a yearly statement of intent at least 14 days before you begin homeschooling or move into a new North Dakota school district.
Typically, this will be filed with the local school superintendent, but if there is none, you can file with the county superintendent.
Required Days And Hours
North Dakota has a set number of days and hours that your child must be receiving instruction in order to adhere to the homeschooling regulations.
Your child must be receiving at least 4 hours of lessons or workshops every school day, and this must happen for a minimum of 175 days a school year.
Make sure you keep attendance records just in case they’re ever required for something.
Like a lot of moderately regulated states, North Dakota has a set of required subjects that you must teach as part of your homeschool. These include the following:
Required elementary and middle school subjects:
- English language arts
- Social studies
- Science (including agriculture)
- Physical education
Required high school subjects:
- English language arts
- Social studies
- Physical education
- Foreign languages, or fine arts, or career and technical education.
There is a requirement for children in grades 4,6,8, and 10 to take a standardized achievement test.
You should use the test that is used by your local school district, or you can use a nationally recognized standardized achievement test, like the California Achievement Test or the Basic Achievement Skills Inventory Test.
There are exceptions to this, however. If you have a moral or religious objection to the use of standardized tests, you hold a bachelor’s degree, or have met the cutoff score of a national teacher examination, you can be exempt from SATs.
However, you must make sure that you include this in your notification of intent to homeschool at the start of the year.
Legal Requirements Under The Private School Option
If you are a qualified teacher, and so long as you pass a criminal history record check, then you are able to teach your child at a private school. You will still need to file a yearly statement of intent.
This has fewer regulations but also a lot less flexibility. This is because you have to teach the same subjects and curriculum as are required in public schools.
In addition to this, your child has to attend your homeschool for the same length of time as a public school.
Local Homeschool Co-Ops In North Dakota
In North Dakota, homeschooling families seeking community and support can connect with various local co-ops that provide valuable resources and shared learning experiences.
One notable option is the Black Hills Homeschool Co-Op, where parents collaborate to organize educational activities, field trips, and workshops for their children.
Additionally, the Red River Valley Homeschoolers Association fosters a supportive environment through regular meet-ups and online forums, offering a platform for parents to share insights and advice.
For those in the Western part of the state, the Bismarck-Mandan Homeschool Network hosts events and facilitates connections among homeschooling families.
These co-ops serve as vital hubs for building connections, sharing ideas, and finding a sense of community in the realm of homeschooling in North Dakota.
Not only do they offer parents a sense of community and shared resources, but they also help homeschool kids find their tribe and get a chance to socialize in a way that they could be lacking.
Educational Sites In North Dakota
North Dakota offers a rich array of educational sites, including galleries and interactive museums that cater to homeschooling families.
In Bismark, the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum provide a captivating exploration of the state’s history and culture, offering educational exhibits that are suitable for all age groups.
Meanwhile, Fargo’s Plains Art Museum serves as an engaging venue for artistic discovery, providing hands-on activities and exhibitions for children to enhance their understanding of visual arts.
For families on a budget, several educational sites in North Dakota are actually free to visit.
In Grand Forks, the North Dakota Museum of Arts offers complimentary admission and showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artworks.
Additionally, the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown provides free entry, allowing homeschooling families to delve into the history of the American bison and the region’s indigenous cultures.
These cost-free educational opportunities contribute to the accessibility of enriching experiences for homeschooling families across the state.
Learning doesn’t have to be restricted to the classroom; in fact, you’ll probably find that getting out of the house every week or so will improve your child’s concentration and enthusiasm for learning.
Graduation Options And Homeschool GED
In North Dakota, homeschoolers have diverse options for graduating, allowing them to actively participate in ceremonies and obtain recognized credentials for their future.
Some co-ops organize graduation ceremonies, providing homeschool students with the opportunity to celebrate this milestone with their peers.
Alternatively, parents can issue a homeschool diploma showcasing the student’s academic achievements.
On top of this, homeschoolers can pursue a General Educational Development (GED) credential, opening doors to various educational and vocational paths.
To apply to colleges, homeschoolers typically follow the same admissions procedures as traditional students, submitting transcripts, standardized test scores, and any additional requirements.
North Dakota’s flexibility in graduation options ensures that homeschool students have multiple pathways to transition seamlessly into their chosen higher or further education pursuits.
In conclusion, homeschooling in North Dakota is a well-supported educational pathway, offering families a wealth of resources and community connections.
The state’s clear regulatory framework provides a solid foundation for homeschooling endeavors, making it easier to plan what you need to do and ensure that your child is receiving a quality education.
From Fargo to Minot, local co-ops and educational sites offer homeschooling families diverse opportunities to enhance their children’s education, creating a well-rounded approach to learning within the North Dakota homeschooling community.
Further reading: Learn about homeschooling in South Dakota.
What are the requirements to homeschool in North Dakota?
In North Dakota, the requirements for homeschooling include submitting a letter of intent to the local school district, maintaining a portfolio of the student’s work, and participating in standardized testing.
It’s essential to follow the guidelines outlined by the state’s Department of Public Instruction. For specific details and any updates, it’s advisable to check with the relevant authorities or visit their official website.
When did homeschooling become legal in North Dakota?
Homeschooling became legal in North Dakota in 1989 when the state legislature passed a law allowing parents to educate their children at home.
Since then, the state has established certain requirements to ensure that homeschooled students receive a quality education.
What state is the most lenient for homeschooling?
Determining the most lenient state for homeschooling can vary depending on individual preferences and regulations.
However, some states are known for having more flexible homeschooling laws. States like Alaska, Texas, and Oklahoma are often considered more lenient, with fewer regulations and requirements for homeschooling families.
It’s crucial to research and understand the specific homeschooling laws in the state you are interested in.
Is it possible to homeschool yourself?
Homeschooling yourself, often referred to as self-directed learning or self-education, is indeed possible.
Many individuals pursue self-education outside of traditional school settings. This approach allows you to take charge of your learning journey, set your pace, and explore topics of personal interest.
Resources such as online courses, books, and educational platforms can support self-directed learners.
Keep in mind that maintaining discipline and staying organized are key aspects of successfully homeschooling yourself.
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