This document is a general summary of laws regarding homeschooling, but does not constitute legal advice. You should read the language of the laws and rules or contact an attorney familiar with homeschooling if you have any questions. You can get more information about the laws (Oregon Revised Statutes) and rules (Oregon Administrative Rules) here. For information about Homeschooling directly from the Oregon Department of Education go here.
1. Will your child be at least 6 years old as of September 1st of the academic year?
- If NO, then no further action or notification is required. OAR 581-021-0026 (11) Have fun learning at home!
- If YES, then you need to send a one-time written notice of your intent to homeschool your child. OAR 581-021-0026 (4) The notice must be given within 10 days after you withdraw the child from school, or within 10 days after the first day of school if you begin homeschooling during the summer or at the start of a school year. If you move to or within Oregon during the school year, you must notify your new Education Service District (ESD) within 10 days of your move. The notice must include: (a) the parent’s name, (b) the child’s name, address and birthdate, and (c) and the name of the school that the child last attended or the public school district where the child resides. OAR 581-021-0026 (1)(f) A sample notice can be found here. Send the notice to the Education Service District (ESD) for your county. Links to the ESD addresses and websites can be found here. Many of them have available and prefer online registration. If you do not wish for your child’s information to be released to military recruiters, you must specify this in writing to the ESD; otherwise, the ESD is obligated to release this information upon request. P.L. 107-107, Section 544; No Child Left Behind Law, Section 9528 Access to High School Students and Information on Students by Military Recruiters. The ESD may request additional information such as the parent’s phone number or email address, but providing this information is optional. (You don’t need to provide this if you don’t want to.) There is no requirement to specify your child’s grade level, but you may want to if your child’s grade level is different than what would be assumed given your child’s birth date. NOTE:As a parent, you have the choice of placing your 6-year-old in Kindergarten or higher. OAR 581-021-0026 (6) Once you choose a grade level placement, you should use it consistently. For example, you should not “hold back” or “skip” your child to avoid the four assessment grades (3, 5, 8, and 10). If homeschoolers do this, we may lose our flexibility to determine grade placement for our children.If your child re-enters public school before 10th grade, he or she will probably be placed with age-peers, regardless of the grade level you choose. Once your child has done the 10th grade assessment, you and your child have flexibility in determining when your child is ready to graduate and/or begin college. Allowing your child an extra year at the beginning (by designating a 6-year-old year as Kindergarten) provides a little extra time before the 3rd grade assessment, but does not necessarily determine the ultimate graduation year. Go to #2.
2. Has your child been diagnosed with a disability by a medical or other professional?
Disabilities include: autism spectrum disorder, communication disorder, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, mental retardation, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, traumatic brain injury, and vision impairment. These disabilities are described in OAR 581-015-0051.
- If YES, then your child’s educational progress may be assessed according to the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Privately Developed Plan (PDP). OAR 581-021-0029. Go to Testing Alternatives for Children with Disabilities for more information.
- If NO, then go to #3.
3. Is your child in grades 3, 5, 8, or 10?
- If NO, then no further action is required. Have fun homeschooling!
- If YES, then your child’s educational progress may need to be assessed this year. Go to #4.
4. Was your child in public or private school on or after February 15th during the last school year?
- If YES, then no assessment is required this year. OAR 581-021-0026 (5)(a)(A) Have fun homeschooling! Assessments must be done by August 15th of the year that your child completes grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. However, no assessment is required during the first 18 months after a child leaves school. For example, if your child was in school for 2nd grade until at least February 15th, then no assessment is required for 3rd grade, because the assessment would be within 18 months after the child leaves school.
- If NO, then your child must take an approved standardized test by August 15th of the year that your child completes grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. You choose and pay for the testing to be administered by a state-certified tester, a list of which can be found here. A qualified tester is a neutral party (not related to the child) who is a licensed teacher or psychological examiner, or who has met the qualifications for purchasing the test directly from the publisher. For more information on who can administer a test, go here. Some testers offer group or private testing, some even in your home. You may want to get a recommendation from homeschoolers in your area before choosing a tester.Approved tests are the two most recent versions of the following:
- California Achievement Test (now TerraNova)
- Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills
- Iowa Tests of Basic Skills/Tests of Achievement and Proficiency
- Metropolitan Achievement Battery
- Stanford Achievement Test Battery OAR 581-021-0026 (1)(a)
(Note: Many testers only offer one or two of these tests.) The tester provides the results to you. The ESD may or may not request your child’s test scores. If the ESD requests your child’s test scores, you only need to submit the composite score (combined math and verbal). OAR 581-021-0026 (7)(a) If the ESD requests your child’s test scores but you have not yet received them from the tester, simply let the ESD know that you will submit them when you get them.
5. Was your child’s composite score in the fifteenth percentile or above?
- If YES, then no further assessment is required until the next “assessment grade” (5, 8, or 10). Have fun homeschooling!
- If NO, then your child must be assessed again the following year. If this second composite score is the same or higher than the first score, then your child returns to the normal assessment schedule (grades 5, 8, and 10). OAR 581-021-0026 (7)(e)If the second composite score is lower than the first score, then the child must be assessed again the following year, and the ESD superintendent may allow the parent to continue homeschooling as before, or may require the child’s education to be supervised by a person holding a teaching license (selected by and paid for by the parent). If the composite score in the next year declines again, then the superintendent may allow the parent to continue homeschooling as before, or may require continued supervision and testing, or may remand the child to school for up to 12 months. OAR 581-021-0026 (7)(b)-(d)
6. Does your child wish to participate in interscholastic activities at your local school?
- If YES, school districts are required to permit homeschool students to participate in all interscholastic activities provided the student meets all district eligibility requirements (except class attendance), takes one of the approved homeschool tests prior to each year of participation, and has a composite test score not less than the 23rd percentile. Instead of the testing, a school may adopt alternate requirements in consultation with the parent or legal guardian of the student. A public school student who fails to maintain academic eligibility and then registers to homeschool is prohibited from participating for the remainder of the school year as well as the next school year. OAR 581-021-0033 If your child wishes to participate in an Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) activity (e.g., sports, cheerleading, band, music, speech, etc.), you must register to homeschool before the start of the school year in order to participate in that year. A student who transfers to homeschooling (or to any other school) mid-year without moving residences is ineligible to participate for the rest of the school year unless your school’s District Committee waives or modifies the mid-year transfer rule. In order for the rule to be waived, the reason for the transfer must be beyond the student’s or parent’s control (like illness, bullying, etc.; not failure to maintain academic eligibility). Homeschoolers who also take public school classes should review OSAA rules to avoid ineligibility problems. For more information on participation in OSAA activities, see the Home School Eligibility brochure here. A convenient Home School Eligibility Parent Checklist if available here. For other extracurricular programs, contact the program for any requirements.
7. What should I do if I stop homeschooling my child(ren) in Oregon?
If your child graduates, enrolls in a public or private school, or moves out of an ESD in which s/he is registered, there is no legal requirement for you to notify the old ESD; however, you may choose to do so as a courtesy so that they may better maintain their records.
8. Does your child wish to apply for an Oregon Student Access Commission scholarship?
A Home-Schooled Student from Oregon, not yet enrolled in college must submit all three of the following:
- A copy of the Confirmation of Enrollment letter on file at your local Educational Service District (ESD) (also called Letter of Intent to home-school).
- A copy of the results of a tenth-grade standardized achievement test, required for all home-school students who have registered with their ESD.
- A transcript from your home-school teacher describing your coursework and letter grades assigned.