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
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.
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...
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...
Chapter 71: Section 1 Maintenance; double sessions; subjects; twelve-month school year
Section 1. Every town shall maintain, for at least the number of days required by the board of education in each school year unless specifically exempted as to any one year by said board, a sufficient number of schools for the instruction of all children who may legally attend a public school therein. No town shall hold double sessions in any public school, if in any other public school of comparable grade levels in such town there are vacant spaces for more than thirty-five children, the number...
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.
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...
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.
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.
Current News
Current News is a section of the AHEM website that offers information on current legislative issues.
Perchemlides v. Frizzle (1978)
In Perchemlides v. Frizzle (1978), a Massachusetts court upheld the right of the nonreligious Perchemlides family to homeschool their young son. The court concluded that "the Massachusetts compulsory attendance statue might well be constitutionally infirm if it did not exempt students whose parents prefer alternative forms of education."
Chapter 76: Section 1 Requirements and exceptions.
Section 1. Every child between the minimum and maximum ages established for school attendance by the board of education, except a child between fourteen and sixteen who meets the requirements for the completion of the sixth grade of the public school as established by said board and who holds a permit for employment in private domestic service or service on a farm, under section eighty-six of chapter one hundred and forty-nine, and is regularly employed thereunder for at least six hours per day,...
The Role of School Policies and Forms
Home education policies are not laws nor contracts between schools and homeschoolers. Rather, they are tools for the administrative convenience of school officials. School districts are not required to have policies, but are free to deal with homeschoolers on a case-by-case basis.
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.
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...
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.
Featured Resources

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