North Carolina Homeschool Laws
Although North Carolina is considered to be a medium-regulation state for homeschooling, the NC Department of Non-Public Education (NCDNPE) has established a parent-friendly process for the things you’ll need to get started including:
- Making sure you have the proper educational credentials
- Filing your notice of intent
- Tracking attendance
- Planning for annual standardized testing
Being fully aware of what is expected of you as a homeschooler can put you much firmer footing for your first year’s adventure of teaching at home. Below, you’ll find an overview of NC homeschool requirements and how to enroll a homeschooled child in public school in North Carolina, if you need to for any reason.
- How to Register for Homeschool in NC
- Your Notice of Intent
- Homeschool Recordkeeping in North Carolina
- North Carolina Homeschool Graduation Requirements
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in North Carolina
*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.
How to Register for Homeschool in N.C.
The key requirements for homeschooling in North Carolina include:
- Parents must have at least a high school diploma (or equivalent).
- Families must file a notice of intent to homeschool with the NC Department of Non-Public Education (NCDNPE).
- Families should keep attendance and immunization records on file for each homeschool student.
- Homeschooled students should take a nationally standardized test each year and keep the results on record for one year.
- The homeschool should operate on a regular schedule for at least nine months of the school year.
- Families should notify the NCDNPE when closing their homeschool
For a full explanation of each of these regulations, including forms that will be helpful in staying compliant, visit the NC Home School Information Portal.
Full details and additional links relating to the home education laws for North Carolina can be found at A2ZHomeschooling.com.
Your Notice of Intent to Homeschool in NC
The North Carolina Department of Non-Public Education is the division of state government that regulates homeschooling (and the only one like it in the country!) As such, they require families with children between 7 and 16 years of age to open a homeschool by filing a notice of intent. This intent form will include information such as whether or not the parent holds a high school diploma (or equivalent), the chosen name of the homeschool, the name of the administrator, and the homeschool address.
Families can file their intent to homeschool at any time of the year. The NCDNPE requests that families update their record if their homeschool address changes, and to also notify them if they will be closing their homeschool. Families do not need to renew their intent each year, however.
Homeschool Recordkeeping in North Carolina
The records that homeschoolers are required to keep in North Carolina do not have to be submitted to the NCDNPE unless specifically requested. However, it is a good idea to keep a detailed, accurate, and professional homeschool portfolio of items for each student. Information that you might want to include in your homeschooler’s portfolio could be:
- Subjects covered each school year
- Parent-administered or online school report cards or assessments
- Yearly standardized test scores
- High school transcript for any student in grades 9-12
Having this information handy can be especially helpful if your homeschooler returns to school because it can help establish an appropriate grade level for the student’s enrollment. Also, when applying to colleges, an accurate homeschool transcript is every bit as important (and valid) as one supplied by a public or private school.
North Carolina Homeschool Graduation Requirements
As you are doing your initial research on homeschooling in North Carolina, you are likely curious about how a home educated student gets their diploma. The simple answer is that each homeschool sets their own graduation requirements. Once your student has accomplished the coursework, tests, and goals that you prescribe, you can administer your own homeschool diploma!
How do you decide on what those requirements will be? It’s important to keep your student’s post-secondary goals in mind. If college is in your teen’s future, then you’ll want to research the expectations of individual colleges your student may want to attend and align your high school homeschool path accordingly. For students who may want to head right into the workforce after graduation, then a heavier focus on vocational coursework and apprenticeships may be appropriate.
As you plan out your high school curriculum, it can also be helpful to review the graduation guidelines of traditionally schooled students in North Carolina. Time4Learning offers the following chart to help you with quick comparisons between public school and homeschool graduation requirements.
|North Carolina diploma requirements||Students must have a minimum of 22 completed credits to graduate in North Carolina and receive a diploma.||Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements and can issue their own homeschool diploma; students of private/online schools may receive diplomas from those institutions.|
|North Carolina high school testing requirements||There are no graduation testing requirements for the state of North Carolina.||Homeschool students are also not subject to testing requirements for graduation.|
|North Carolina high school transcripts||NC public school transcripts include identifying information, standardized test scores, attendance information, credit totals and a complete credit history by course including course titles, grades received each semester, and cumulative grade average for each.||Homeschool parents may create their own student transcripts, and may include any information they deem pertinent to colleges, military, and/or future workplace organizations.|
|North Carolina high school course credits||In order to graduate, NC high schoolers must have 4 sequential English credits, 4 mathematics credits, 3 science credits (including a physical science, biology, and an earth/environmental science course), 4 social studies credits, 1 health/physical education credit, and 6 elective credits.||Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements; for the purpose of creating transcripts, some homeschool parents do assign credits to individual courses.|
|GED eligibility||NC has two paths to a high school equivalency diploma: GED and HiSET. These are offered through the Basic Skills Plus program of the community college system in NC.||The same requirements for eligibility apply to homeschoolers as to public school students.|
Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
Even if you plan to homeschool all the way through graduation, there are sometimes circumstances that make it necessary for a student to return to public school after a time of homeschooling. In those cases, you’ll need to know how to transfer from homeschool to public school. In North Carolina, there are basically two steps you need to take to return your child to school:
- Notify the NCDNPE of your intent to close your homeschool. (You can always reopen it later, if you wish.)
- Contact the school principal of the school you will be enrolling in to find out their enrollment process.
It’s worth noting that each school may have a different policy in regards to enrollment by a formerly homeschooled student. Some may simply let you register your child for the grade you wish him/her to attend. Others may request information on your student’s homeschool curriculum and progress or even require your child to take assessment tests to establish their appropriate grade level.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in North Carolina
Have other questions about homeschooling in North Carolina? You may find the following pages helpful.