Legal/Homeschool Laws
Laws that regulate home education vary from state to state. It is important to understand the legal requirements in your state and to be aware of legislative and other legal issues that affect homeschoolers in your community. We've compiled resources that will help you become informed. Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and the vast majority of homeschoolers face no problems, you may find that you need legal assistance at some point in your homeschooling career. We've compiled a list of resources to help you find the support you need. And if you'd like to become more involved in working towards homeschooling freedoms, we discuss some of the issues facing homeschoolers that we hope you find compelling.
State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in Massachusetts and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Forms
Which forms do you need to fill out? Where can you get them? Here is a list of useful forms for homeschooling in Massachusetts.
Legal Support
If you need legal information or have run into a legal situation regarding your decision to homeschool, these resources will be helpful.
Lobbying Groups
A listing of local and national lobbying groups and information on how you can become involved in the political process to ensure the freedom to homeschool is protected.
Attorneys
When searching for an attorney, it is helpful to know whether he or she has experience working with homeschoolers and is interested in protecting the right to homeschool.
Legal Issues
Is homeschooling legal? Which laws pertain to homeschoolers and which don't? How do homeschoolers protect their rights to freely educate their children and to preserve their privacy?
Government Resources
A listing of local and state government resources, including your state's Department of Education, school districts, and Senate and House of Representative information.
What's Popular
How to Comply with Vermont's Homeschool Law
Vermont law specifically refers to homeschooling in 16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(21) and 16 V.S.A. § 166b. To homeschool under this statute, you’ll need to follow these guidelines. Necessary steps include sending in a written enrollment notice, submitting a narrative describing the content to be provided in each subject area, obtaining acknowledgement of compliance, teaching the required subjects and assessing your child annually. 
Homeschool Policies in Massachusetts: An Overview
AHEM offers this clarification of the role of homeschool policies in towns in Massachusetts.
Ten Points from the Supreme Judicial Court's Decisions
A discussion of the Supreme Judicial Court's decisions (Charles and Brunelle) that affect homeschoolers.
Charles Decision: Care and Protection of Charles (1987)
The 1987 Care and Protection of Charles decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) provided parents and school officials with guidelines for the process of approval of home education. The town of Canton filed a petition for care and protection, with respect to education, of two homeschooled children. The details of the case are spelled out in the decision itself. The Court, after providing guidelines by which school officials might evaluate home education plans, required Canto...
In the Matter of Johnna M. Searles (1990)
In this District Court Opinion, the judge denied the request of school authorities that the child be ordered to enroll in school pending the approval of the home education program, stating such an order would be "premature at the present time." She stated that the interests of all parties "are best served if they proceed expeditiously in a serious effort to resolve the matter by agreement."
Tips for Writing Your Education Plan
Practical ideas and tips for composing your education plan, with some examples of key phrases and paragraphs you may wish to use.
Massachusetts Department of Education Draft Advisory on Home Education
On June 9, 2003, a representative from Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts joined representatives from other homeschooling organizations to discuss the current DOE Draft Advisory on homeschooling. The advisory is the document the DOE submits to individuals seeking information about homeschooling in Massachusetts. The document's intent, according to the DOE, is to provide a neutral analysis of homeschooling law, and to answer the most commonly asked questions about homeschooling. Many h...
Summary of Guidelines for Home Education in Massachusetts
A summary of what school officials may consider and may not consider when dealing with homeschoolers in their districts.
How to Withdraw Your Child from School in Vermont
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
Charles, in Brief
A summary of the Charles decision and its effort on home education in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Massachusetts. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Massachusetts.
Care and Protection of Ivan & another (1999)
In the Ivan case, the family was brought to court by the school for refusal to provide "bare essentials of their educational plan and to allow for any evaluation…" The court placed the children in legal custody of the Department of Social Services, ruling that "…it was always open to the parents to work out an accommodation of their interests along the lines suggested by school authorities and to resolve the matter by agreement. However, the judge found that the parents never filed educational p...
Massachusetts Home Education: Information for Superintendents
Lists court rulings on home education in Massachusetts, a summary of guidelines for home education in Massachusetts, FAQ for Superintendents, relevant documents, and more.
Chapter 71: Section 3 Physical education.
Section 3. Physical education shall be taught as a required subject in all grades for all students in the public schools for the purpose of promoting the physical well-being of such students. Instruction in physical education may include calisthenics, gymnastics and military drill; but no pupil shall be required to take part in any military exercise if his parent or guardian is of any religious denomination conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, or is himself so opposed, and the school commi...
Sample Education Plan
Provided by Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts.
Featured Resources

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