*** the information presented here is advice from one mom to another, it is taken from trustworthy sources and is correct to my best understanding; however I am not responsible for misinformation ,or misunderstanding or misinterpretation of this information.
North Carolina has experienced tremendous growth in homeschooling in recent years. There are strong support groups throughout the state, as well as an active state homeschool organization, NCHE, which puts on a huge annual conference and book fair called “Thrive!“, as well as monitors bills in the state legislature and serves NC homeschoolers in many other important ways.
NC Homeschool Statistics https://www.nche.com/stats/
Homeschool students the third largest “district” in North Carolina https://nccppr.org/homeschool-students-third-largest-district-north-carolina/
The Triumph of Homeschooling in North Carolina https://www.johnlocke.org/update/the-triumph-of-homeschooling-in-north-carolina/
NC Division of Non-Public Education Homeschool Information https://ncadmin.nc.gov/public/home-school-information
Q. What is the state’s definition of homeschooling?
A. North Carolina law defines a home school as a non public school consisting of the children of not more than two families or households, where the parents or legal guardians or members of either household determine the scope and sequence of the academic instruction, provide academic instruction, and determine additional sources of academic instruction. General Statute 115C-563(a) as amended changes the definition of a home school to allow parents to hire tutors, let their children participate in group settings where they receive instruction (co-ops, 4-H classroom instruction, etc.) and be instructed by an expert that is not a part of the household in the established homeschool (apprenticeships, a homeschool doctor teaching biology, etc.) This will allow homeschool parents more freedom to choose what is best for the education of their children.
Q. What are the requirements to homeschool in NC?
A. -Submit an online Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Division of Non-Public Education if you will be homeschooling a child age 7 or above
– Parent/guardian must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent
– You must keep immunization and annual attendance records for each student http://www.immunize.nc.gov/schools/ncexemptions.htm
-Administer a nationally standardized achievement test to your children age 7 and up annually; tests must include the subject areas of reading, grammar, spelling, and mathematics. Support groups will be able to guide you to test providers, and in some cases may offer group testing for their members. Testing information for NC can be found HERE or HERE.
For more information on NC legal requirements, go to http://ncadmin.nc.gov/citizens/home-school/home-school-requirements-recommendations (Remember that the REQUIREMENTS are mandatory and the RECOMMENDATIONS are optional.)
Q. How do I begin homeschooling in NC?
A. If your child is younger than age 7 and not enrolled in school, you don’t need to do anything but begin whatever lessons or adventures you want. Compulsory education in NC starts at age 7, so one month before your child’s 7th birthday, or to open a homeschool with children age 7 or above, go to the NC Division of Non-Public Schools website and submit a Notice of Intent (NOI). You are opening a school, not enrolling individual children, so this is only done once for a family, not every year or every time a child in your family turns 7. NOIs are not accepted during the months of May and June, but you may open a homeschool during any of the other 10 months of the year. Turn around time is usually very quick, sometimes within 24 hours. Once you have received the email notifying you that your NOI has been recorded, you must go to your children’s schools (if they are currently enrolled somewhere) and withdraw them. **It is entirely possible that the school personnel do not know the homeschool law or procedures, so be sure you familiarize yourself with the requirements on the DNPE website, and maybe have the DNPE phone number handy so you can expedite things if there is any confusion about what is required. (we’ve all heard stories! but for most this is an easy process)
Here are some other steps to take when you start homeschooling:
- Educate yourself. Consider this job training! Start reading books about homeschool styles, teaching methods, educational philosophies, learning styles. If you search online, you’ll find lots of recommended reading lists for homeschool moms. Here is one.
- If you have withdrawn your child from school, consider a period of deschooling.
- Connect with other homeschoolers for support and information – there are formal and informal support groups throughout the state as well as Facebook groups and online communities.
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly! Relax those shoulders. Do something fun with your kids, like play a board game or video game, go for a bike ride, have a tea party. You are all going to be fine! You don’t have to know everything all at once. Focus on baby steps and building a family culture of learning and caring.
- Q. How many homeschoolers are there in NC?
- A. For the 2018-19 school year, there were 90,688 homeschools listed with the NC Division of Non-Public Education, educating an estimated 142,037 students ages 6-17.
- There are not exact numbers because some states do not require notification, but there are approximately 2-3 million children being homeschooled in the USA.
Q. Are parents qualified to teach their children?
A. Parents love their children, want the best for them, and know them better than anyone else. It is this love, desire, and knowledge that makes parents well-suited to to teach their children. It is important for any homeschool parent to commit themselves to the task by learning all they can about their children and about the best ways to teach them, researching curricula, and studying educational philosophies, teaching methods, and learning styles. This is easily done by a computer search. One place to start is North Carolinians for Home Education, which has excellent information on their website to help parents get started. Homeschool parents will learn right alongside their children, and will learn much about themselves in the process. When they cannot teach something themselves, they will seek out and find other sources of quality instruction for their children. So, parents who love their children and are willing to put forth the effort make the best teachers for their children.
Q. Can someone else teach my children? Can I teach someone else’s children? Can my children be homeschooled by someone else?
A. North Carolina law allows for two-household homeschools, in which a family registered as a homeschool with the DNPE can also include the children from one other household in their homeschool. Beyond that, homeschool parents can choose who provides instruction for their children. G.S.115C-563(a) allows the parent, legal guardian, or a member of the two-family homeschool the discretion to determine the scope and sequence and sources of the academic instruction including, but not limited to, the use of professional educators, tutors, and other persons knowledgeable about the area of instruction. See paragraph 1 of https://ncadmin.nc.gov/public/home-school-information/home-school-requirements-recommendations
Q. What subjects am I required to teach at each grade level? What subjects are required for high school graduation?
A. NC state law does not place any requirements on homeschools in either of these areas! Each homeschool family has the freedom to determine which subjects will be taught each year within their home school and which ones will be required for high school graduation from their home school. There are a number of sources to which homeschool parents can go for guidance in this area. Remember that homeschools are not bound to these guidelines, nor the guidelines of the public schools, and these are presented for your information only, to help with your planning and goal-setting.
So how do you know what to teach when? There really is no definitive list. Some skills, like phonics and math, need to follow a step by step approach, but other subjects do not rely on a particular order. For high school, most people work backwards from whatever the goal is after high school. If your child is possibly college bound, then you will plan your high school coursework based on admissions requirements to the colleges you might consider, or default to the UNC-system admissions requirements. Curriculum providers will follow a scope and sequences. A scope and sequence is a curriculum plan, usually in chart form, in which a range of instructional objectives, skills, etc., is organized according to the successive levels or grades at which they are taught. When you purchase curriculum, each course or program will include a scope & sequence.
NC Public Schools K-12 Standards, Curriculum & Instruction
Scholastic School Success Guides K-8
World Book Typical Course of Study PreK- 12
Q. How much does homeschooling cost?
A. Depending on the choices you make, homeschooling can cost either a little or a lot. Generally, you can assume that homeschooling costs more than a public school education and less than a private school. If you had to, you could homeschool practically for free using public resources like libraries, museums, the internet, educational videos and hand-me-down educational supplies. Some people are able to borrow curriculum from a homeschool friend. There are also free online curriculums available, such as Easy Peasy, Khan Academy, and Ambleside Online.
In general, homeschooling costs more if you use a complete boxed curriculum (like Alpha Omega or Abeka) or sign up with an independent study school (like Liberty U or Keystone). Also, homeschooling costs tend to be higher for teenagers than for elementary school students. Many families enroll their homeschool teens in one or more outside classes, so you will want to factor that into your educational budget.
You will also need to budget additional funding for things like support group fees, extracurricular activities such as basketball, gymnastics, martial arts, piano lessons, and the like.
The bottom line is that: (1) you have complete control over how much homeschooling will cost (2) you can give your child a quality education on any budget (3) homeschooling is an important investment and should be a budget priority
Q. Do I have to follow the public school schedule?
A. In North Carolina, homeschools are treated as private schools and fall under the jurisdiction of the Division of Non-Public Education. You are free to create your own schedule and to set your own requirements. The state requires that your homeschool operate “on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year.” You decide when those holidays and vacations take place. There are no specified number of days or number of hours that your school must operate.
Q. Do I really need to join a support group? What is the benefit?
A. It is your decision whether or not you join a homeschool support group. However, a local support group provides a network of families who offer encouragement, share experiences, answer questions, provide information, offer suggestions, and join together for group activities and fellowship. Different support groups will have different requirements, focuses and flavors. Fees will vary depending on activities and services offered, cost of facilities, etc. You should investigate those available in your area to see which ones would be a good fit for your family. One source for finding support groups in North Carolina is NCHE :Regions and Local Groups
Online support is widespread through local and regional Facebook groups. You can try to search on Facebook by your county name and “homechool”. Here are a few : N.C. Homeschooling, North Carolina Homeschooling for College Credit, Homeschool Moms Around Wake County, Homeschooling Moms in North Carolina
Q. Where do I get books and curriculum?
A. Homeschool families purchase or borrow books and curriculum from a variety of sources, including publishers, homeschool vendors, bookstores, local new &used curriculum fairs, the public library, and from each other! The annual NCHE Homeschool Conference and Book Fair, Thrive!, held in Winston-Salem every May, is an opportunity to look at and purchase materials from over 100 vendors, including both the big homeschool curriculum publishers and small family businesses.
Some of the larger support groups around the state typically hold annual used book sales.
If you are in the Raleigh area, be sure to check out Home School Gathering Place, a family-owned homeschool bookstore selling both new and consigned curriculum and educational materials. 5204 Hollyridge Dr., Raleigh, NC 27612.
Q. Can my child still participate in public school activities like band or sports?
A. Participation in extracurricular activities at public schools is at the discretion of each school and is not widely accepted. The N.C. legislature has authorized the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to govern and administer sports programs in all public high schools across the state. Homeschool students may try out for athletics at their base public school at the discretion of that school and if they meet the eligibility requirements set by NCHSAA. However, homeschool athletics is rapidly growing, and there are homeschool teams for middle school and high school homeschoolers in volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, football, swimming, golf in many areas throughout the state, with state, regional, and national tournaments as well. NCHEAC is the North Carolinians for Home Education Athletic Commission, which is a statewide homeschool athletics conference.
North Carolinians for Home Education Athletics Commission
North Carolina High School Athletics Association
Alternatives to many other typical school activites like band, Prom, and Honor Society are also available within the homeschooling community, due to the hard work and ingenuity of dedicated homeschool parents. Capital Christian Homeschool Band, Carolina Capital Homeschool Prom, Wake Forest Christian Homeschool Honor Society, (Psi Omicron Chapter of National Home School Honor Society), A.R.C.H. National Homeschool Honor Society (Wake Co.), are some examples. Contact local homeschoolers for opportunities near you.
Q. How will my child receive a high school diploma?
A. You will issue your student his or her diploma through your private homeschool, and it will be legally valid as indicating completion of your homeschool’s high school graduation requirements. You may create your own diploma on your computer, request one from NCHE or HSLDA if you are a member of those organizations, or order one from an online company or local provider.
Q. Can homeschoolers get into college?
A. Thousands of homeschool graduates have succesfully gone on to college, and many universities have information on their admissions websites specifically directed towards homeschoolers. There are even colleges actively recruiting homeschoolers and offering scholarships targeted to homeschool students. Homeschooled high schoolers should tailor their high school course work to be sure they are meeting admissions requirements at the institutions they are interested in attending, and take care to keep good records in order to create a high school transcript. Staying well-informed about SAT and ACT testing and application deadlines is important, as well as choosing extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities that will enhance a college application.
Many high school homeschoolers participate in the dual-enrollment program called College & Career Promise at NC community colleges, to earn both high school and college credit at the same time. Through CCP, qualified high-school-age students in North Carolina have the opportunity to take college transfer or technical courses, tuition free, while they are in high school, allowing them to get a jumpstart on their workplace and college preparation.
CFNC (College Foundation of North Carolina)