Massachusetts Homeschooling Laws
Each district in Massachusetts sets its own policy for approval of new homeschoolers. For any child of compulsory school age (between 6 and 16), the homeschooling program must be approved in advance by the superintendent or school committee of your home district.
Once you receive approval, however, you still have other requirements to be aware of. You’ll want to know what subjects to teach, what records to keep, how to obtain a homeschool diploma, and even how to transfer from homeschool to public school if you need to end your home education period.
- Massachusetts Homeschool Requirements
- Switching from Public School to Homeschool in Massachusetts
- Homeschool Recordkeeping in Massachusetts
- Massachusetts Homeschool Graduation Requirements
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Masschusetts
*This should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
Massachusetts Homeschool Requirements
Even though homeschool requirements are executed at the local school district level, there are some state laws that pertain to homeschoolers as well such as:
- Local homeschool approval guidelines must be conditioned only on what is essential to “seeing that children receive an education.”
- Teachers should be of “competent ability and good morals.”
- Subjects taught should include orthography, reading, writing, the English language and grammar, geography, arithmetic, drawing, music, the history and constitution of the United States, the duties of citizenship, health education, physical education and good behavior.
- Annual submission to the local school district should include an agreed-upon type of evaluation, such as a standardized test, progress report, or work samples.
When seeking approval to homeschool from your local school district, you can expect a request for an education plan that includes information such as:
- Educational credentials of the parents
- List of subjects you plan to cover
- Summary of teaching materials you will be using
- Choice of evaluation method
Full details and additional links relating to the home education laws for Massachusetts can be found at A2ZHomeschooling.com.
Switching from Public School to Homeschool in Massachusetts
Has your child been enrolled in a public or private school prior to starting homeschooling? Although it’s not part of the legal homeschool requirements in Massachusetts, it is always a good idea to formally withdraw your child from school so that you don’t trigger any truancy inquiries. To do so, you can send either a withdrawal email or letter to the principal, counselor, and attendance clerk of the school. Let them know that you are officially withdrawing your child from school and share that you have submitted your educational plan for review.
Once you have submitted your educational plan for review, you are able to withdraw your child from public or private school. You can begin to homeschool while the educational plan is in review without concern of truancy. If, for some reason, your educational plan isn’t approved, the burden of proof is shifted to the school district to explain why it was not. Laws in Massachusetts prohibit your child to be considered truant even if the educational plan is not approved.
Children are still allowed to to participate in interscholastic activities if they reside within the attendance area of a public school. Rules vary per area, so make sure to check with your local school district first.
Homeschool Recordkeeping in Massachusetts
While recordkeeping isn’t required, the state of Massachusetts does require proof of educational process, usually once a year. The state does not mandate what proof is necessary, and it may vary from district to district. Usually, parents choose to provide proof of educational process via one these two methods:
- Standardized testing OR
- Progress reports and dated work samples
If you choose to take the second route, a great option is to create a homeschool portfolio. This allows you to share your child’s progress and work samples and has wonderful benefits, such as:
- Serving as a cherished keepsake of your time spent learning together
- Providing a reference of coursework covered in case of a return to public/private school
- Assisting parents when creating homeschool transcripts
Make sure to check with your local superintendent’s office to learn their specific requirements for providing proof of educational process.
Massachusetts Homeschool Graduation Requirements
When it comes time for your child to graduate, there are no specific requirements. You can set the graduation requirements for your children, create a homeschool transcript, and issue a diploma. If you homeschool through graduation, and your child is college-bound, it is crucial to create a transcript. Most colleges rely on a detailed transcript, including your child’s GPA, rather than a high school diploma. Universities in Massachusetts and the rest of the U.S. will usually accept a detailed transcript in place of an accredited high school diploma.
If your child would like to earn a high school equivalency diploma, there is the option of taking the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). The Massachusetts Department of Education accepts passing scores on the HiSET to grant a diploma.
Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
If you need to end your period of home education in Massachusetts for any reason, the first step is to notify your local Superintendent within 30 days of termination of homeschool. It is recommended to do this step in writing. It is then up to the public school to determine how to place your child; testing is a common option used.
A public high school will not accept homeschool credits towards an accredited diploma issued through the school, so if your student has both homeschool and public school credits, you will need to submit both a homeschool and public school transcript when applying to colleges.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Massachusetts
Have other questions about homeschooling in Massachusetts? You may find the following pages helpful.