Homeschooling: Homeschooling Parent Qualifications
What qualifications do you need to homeschool your child?
What are parent qualifications?
Eleven states—Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—require parents to have some form of educational qualification in order to homeschool (or in the case of Tennessee, to homeschool high school students). The required qualification is generally a high school diploma or GED, but Washington state goes further, requiring either college credits or the completion of a course in home-based study. The remaining thirty-nine states allow any parent to homeschool regardless of their educational background.
Can parents avoid these educational qualifications?
Six states—North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—allow parents without a high school diploma or GED can bypass these educational qualifications as follows.
- Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington allow parents without the required qualifications to homeschool through an umbrella school or (in the case of Virginia) through a religious exemption.
- North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington allow parents to homeschool under the supervision of a qualified person (a certified teacher or, in the case of Ohio, an individual with a bachelor’s degree).
- Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington allow superintendents to waive the standard educational requirements at their discretion.
The remaining five states—Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina—require all homeschooling parents without exception to meet their educational qualifications.
Do any other states have teacher qualifications?
In addition to the eleven states already mentioned, three states—California, Kansas, and New York—require parents to be “competent,” “qualified,” or “capable of teaching.” However, these states do not mandate any specific requirements or give local or state officials the authority to determine who meets these standards, leaving that up to the parents. This means that, in practice, these states do not require parents to meet any educational qualifications. The remaining thirty-six states have no requirements whatsoever, allowing any parent to homeschool regardless of educational background.
What do these eleven states’ requirements look like?
Georgia: High school diploma or GED
New Mexico: High school diploma or equivalent
North Carolina: High school diploma or equivalent
North Dakota: High school diploma or GED, or under the supervision of a certified teacher for the first two years of homeschooling, to be extended if the children score under the 50th percentile
Ohio: High school diploma or equivalent, or homeschool under the direction of an individual with a bachelor’s degree until the child’s test scores show reasonable proficiency or a GED is obtained
Pennsylvania: High school diploma or equivalent
South Carolina: High school diploma or GED
Tennessee: Homeschool parents must have a high school diploma or GED when homeschooling children grades 9-12; parents homeschooling through umbrella schools are exempted from this requirement.
Virginia: Homeschool parents must have a high school diploma, or a teaching certificate, or homeschool through a correspondence program, or provide evidence of their ability to provide an adequate education; parents homeschooling through a religious exemption are exempt from this requirement.
Washington: Homeschool parents must be supervised by a certified person, have a required number of college credits, complete a course in home-based study, or be deemed sufficiently qualified by the local superintendent
West Virginia: High school diploma or equivalent, or be deemed qualified by the county superintendent or school board and homeschool under direct supervision
- The parent providing primary instruction should have at least a high school diploma or GED.
- Parents who have committed offenses that would disqualify them from teaching other people’s children should not be permitted to homeschool.
It is recommended that the parent providing primary instruction be required to have at least a high school diploma or GED. In cases where a parent does not have this qualification, homeschooling may be permitted under the supervision of a certified teacher or other similarly qualified individual indefinitely or until a GED is obtained. States like Ohio,Washington, and North Dakota currently have similar parent qualification requirements. We also recommend barring from homeschooling parents who have been convicted of child abuse, sexual offenses, or other crimes that would disqualify them from employment as a school teacher. This provision is currently in place in Pennsylvania.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should homeschool parents have to have a high school diploma or GED?
Homeschool parents may teach students of any grade level and cannot be expected to be capable of teaching at a grade level above that which they themselves have completed. Completing a secondary education also ensures that the parents values education in their own lives.