The Buckeye state has seen an increase in homeschooling in recent years, much like the rest of the country. However, the reasons for families in Ohio bringing their kids home for education may be a little different than in other places around the US.
In this post, we'll dive into the benefits of homeschooling in Ohio as well as the rules and regulations you'll need to follow if you decide to do so. We'll also give you a list and links to some of our favorite programs and curricula to help you get started.
Here we go...
Benefits of Homeschooling in Ohio
The benefits of homeschooling in Ohio are much the same as homeschooling anywhere else. Homeschool families enjoy more flexibility in their schedules, allowing for more customized curricula, field trips, and even vacations.
Homeschooling can be a great choice for families with special needs children as it offers the flexibility to work around doctor's appointments and any required therapies. It also gives the learner the opportunity to work at their own pace and focus on their own interests.
Many families also choose to homeschool because public and private schools have become places where children no longer feel safe. Did you know that Ohio is one of the 10 states in the country that make up over 51% of incidents and threats of school violence?
Unfortunately with the rise in violence, including gun violence and bullying, children are learning things in school today that were unthinkable a decade ago. Things like active shooter drills and how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying and suicidal ideation in their friends are common topics. It's sad and terrifying that this is what the world of traditional schooling has come to.
We all want better for our kids. For many, homeschooling is a way to provide it.
Ohio Homeschool Laws
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and has been since 1993. Ohio adopted homeschooling as a legal way for parents to educate their children in 1989.
But each of the 50 states has different requirements for families choosing to homeschool. Homeschooling in Ohio is very different than homeschooling in GA! Before you begin your child's home education, it's important to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations of the state of Ohio so you can remain compliant.
Ohio has moderate regulations relative to other states regarding homeschooling, so you'll need to be sure to dot your i's and cross your t's. We'll go through the details here for you and provide helpful links and resources so you'll be ready to dive in by the end of this article.
Ohio has two options to choose from when it comes to homeschooling. The first option is "Homeschooling under Ohio's homeschool statute." The second option is "Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school (-08 school)."
This option is comprised of five steps which you must follow.
"Step 1: Submit annual notification to the school district so your child is excused from compulsory attendance.
The notification must provide the following:
School year for which notification is made
Name and address of the parent, and full name and birth date of the child
Name and address of person(s) who'll be teaching the child, if other than the parent
Assurance that the homeschool will include the required subjects listed below (“except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent”)
A brief outline of intended curriculum (see a sample outline for members only below)
List of textbooks or other basic teaching materials
Assurance of hours and qualifications (see below)
Step 2: Make sure you have the required qualifications
Parents who homeschool their children must have a high school diploma or GED, or scores from a standardized test demonstrating equivalence. A parent who lacks these qualifications may still homeschool under the direction of a person who holds a baccalaureate degree. Such oversight is required until the children's test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency.
Step 3: Teach the required subjects
The required subjects are: language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid, safety, and fire prevention.
Step 4: Teach for the required number of hours
Parents providing a home education program must assure the superintendent that they will provide at least 900 hours of home education per school year.
Step 5: Assess your student annually
Parents homeschooling their children under Ohio’s homeschool statute are required to annually assess their children’s academic proficiency. You may select one of three options to comply with the assessment regulation.
One, you may choose to test your child with any nationally normed standardized achievement test. The test may be administered by an Ohio licensed or certified teacher, by another person that you and the local school superintendent agree upon, or by any person authorized by the publisher of the test. The composite score must be sent to the superintendent and must show that the child scored at least in the 25th percentile.
Two, you may choose to submit a written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of your child’s work has been reviewed by a qualified person and that your child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities. The narrative must be prepared by an Ohio licensed or certified teacher or by someone else whom you and the superintendent have agreed upon.
Three, you may choose another form of assessment than those listed above if you and the superintendent have agreed upon it.
Here is what will happen if your child does not demonstrate reasonable proficiency:
If your child fails to demonstrate reasonable proficiency on the assessment, the superintendent is obligated to notify you in writing that you must submit a plan of remediation within 30 days. During the remediation, you will be required to submit quarterly reports. The superintendent may terminate remediation when your child demonstrates reasonable proficiency. It is possible that a child may be ordered into public school if remediation is unsuccessful." - HSLDA How to Comply With Ohio's Homeschool Law
"Ohio Administrative Code 3301-35 08 permits a school which is not chartered by the state board of education, nor seeking a charter, because of truly held religious beliefs to operate if it meets certain minimum standards. There are specific requirements and qualifications for forming an -08 school." - HSLDA How to Comply With Ohio's Homeschool Law
If you believe this option is appropriate for you and your family, we strongly recommend visiting the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, becoming a member, and reading their -08 schools article. The HSLDA has successfully defended this section of the code for homeschooling parents and can help you too if you need them.
HSLDA members also have access to forms and letters such as letters of intent and written narratives to make life easier as they remain compliant with Ohio law. With membership starting at an affordable $12 per month, it's a resource definitely worth exploring.
Of course, you can also review Ohio statutory and regulatory requirements regarding homeschooling at the Ohio department of education website.
Getting Started Homeschooling in Ohio
When you're ready to begin homeschooling, after you've read the laws and made sure you're compliant, you'll need to choose a curriculum or program. Today's homeschooling families have many options available to them.
From traditional printed curricula that you purchase and teach yourself to online academies that not only teach students but also take care of grading and record keeping for parents.
The choice is completely up to you as the parent - the state has no say in what curriculum or program you decide to use. There is no one to approve home school curriculum or list of approved curricula.
The following are some of our favorites because of their stellar reputations and long-standing standards of excellence in homeschooling.
These offer the traditional touch of textbooks and workbooks in your hands. For those who appreciate paper and pencil more than a screen and keyboard, these companies are some of the best in the world.
For those families looking for less clutter around the classroom, these programs are online and streamlined for your success. Most are highly customizable and offer courses according to the learner's abilities rather than grade level.
Accredited Online Academies
If you're interested in full accreditation, these schools have you covered.
Your Homeschool Journey in Ohio
The decision to leave your local school district and homeschool is one of the most crucial steps you'll take in your child's education and, indeed, in their life.
A way to not just keep them safer but help them feel safer. Studies have shown homeschoolers demonstrate improved mental health compared to their peers in public school.
Regardless of which program, curriculum, or academy you choose, remember that there will still be good days and tough days - but that's ok! The best things in life aren't always easy. But they're worth it.
You can find support in local groups, co-ops, and on social media. Plug into the Ohio homeschooling community and learn from those who've been where you are. It's a wonderful journey and we promise, you won't regret a moment of it!