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
Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM)
Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) is a nonprofit, independent, grassroots, volunteer-run, educational organization that gathers and disseminates information about homeschooling in Massachusetts through education, advocacy, and events.
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.
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.
Court Rulings on Home Education in Massachusetts: Overview
A summary of the effects the Charles Decision and the Brunelle case have on homeschooling families in Massachusetts. Lists thirteen perspectives on the Charles and Brunelle decisions.
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."
Michael Brunelle et al., vs. Lynn Public Schools (1998)
The Charles decision left the door open on the question of whether or not home visits might be required as a condition of approval of a home education plan. In 1998, in the Brunelle vs. Lynn Public Schools, that question was settled: home visits could not be deemed "essential" in determining if education was taking place; therefore, home visits could not be required as a condition of approval. (The Court did not exclude the possibility that such visits might be required in exceptional cases.) In...
Official Requirements for Homeschooling in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, there is not one simple, short answer to the question of what your local district may require of you. This is a brief look at the official requirements to homeschool in Massachusetts.
Commonwealth v. Frank Roberts (1893)
As this decision indicates, Frank Roberts sought to have a private day school approved in Fitchburg. The school committee refused approval of the private day school. Subsequently, it seems, Mr. Roberts taught his daughter, Mary, at home. He was prosecuted for not causing his child to attend school. When his case was heard before the superior court in Worcester, Mr. Roberts was not allowed to introduce evidence that Mary was, in fact, receiving an education. Upon appeal, the Supreme Judicial Cour...
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...
MHLA and Legislation
The Massachusetts Home Learning Association lists its current and past lobbying issues and actions. Some years as many as 10,000 bills are filed before the Massachusetts State Legislature; typically only about 300 become law. Most simply die in committee. When evaluating news of threatening legislation, MHLA urges you to check facts and question everything. Once a volatile e-mail begins to move through a network, various assumptions and speculations appear in subsequent posts. These both get pas...
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...
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.
Charles, in Brief
A summary of the Charles decision and its effort on home education in Massachusetts.
Homeschool Guidelines at a Glance
A discussion of the laws regulating home education in Massachusetts, including school authority oversight, approval and evaluation, and responsibilities of school authorities and parents.
Sample Education Plan
Provided by Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts.
Featured Resources

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