We review all of this information -- an overview of homeschooling in NH, the simple reporting requirements, plus the resources, equal access statute, online learning, special education issues, and making home education more affordable -- in our video series available on our YouTube channel.
What are the qualifications for parents to homeschool their children?
What are the reporting requirements?
There are three basic requirements: 1) filing a Letter of Intent one time per child within five days of beginning the home education program; 2) maintaining a portfolio of work including a reading log; and 3) conducting some kind of assessment annually. The Letter of Intent and the acknowledgement letter from the Participating Agency must be kept for the duration of the home education program. The portfolio and annual assessment must be kept a minimum of two years. Additional details along with sample letters are available on our Where to Begin page.
Can families home educate children with special needs?
Yes, absolutely. Although families that home educate are declining access to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), they may still access testing through the local district thanks to the federal Child Find law. Local districts may offer services, but that is on a district-to-district basis. Check local school board policies for additional information. More information is on our Children with Special Needs page. Many families access services through private resources.
Is it expensive to homeschool?
Home education can be very affordable. It is up to the family to choose which resources they use and some can be quite inexpensive. In addition to books, magazines, videos, and special events, libraries usually have access to discounted museum tickets. Members of Granite State Home Educators’ Facebook group share resources regularly, including free programs and online sources. Homeschoolers may also access discounts for a variety of goods and services. GSHE also manages another Facebook group to help families buy and sell used materials. Also, other local support groups, including a Seacoast group, host used curriculum sales annually. Families may also qualify for the Education Tax Credit scholarship; see the information provided above.
Where do I begin the process of homeschooling?
We have a page for that! Check our Where to Begin section for a simple explanation along with samples and links to more information. We also have information about common methods to homeschooling. To help you identify which style may be a good fit for your family, there are a couple online quizzes and info re curricula and resources that go with those learning approaches.
What if the original homeschool materials are not working well for my child?
Homeschoolers are not locked into one particular curriculum or approach and are not required to use the same standards or materials their local district schools use. In fact, that is one of the best parts about home educating! Families may change the learning approach and materials as needed throughout the child’s home education program. It truly allows for a custom-fit education.
Must a home-educated child stay at the grade level they would be assigned to in the local schools?
No. Homeschooling allows for a fully customized learning approach. If a child is accelerated in an area, the family may allow the child to work at that level. Likewise, if the child needs additional support or time to solidify knowledge or skills in another subject, the family may do so. The child does not need to work at the same grade level for all subjects.
Do parents need to do all the teaching themselves?
No. Families may provide direct-instruction if they wish, but they are not limited to it. Families often utilize a wide range of learning opportunities, including co-ops, field trips, enrichment programs, online classes, and other educational sources; many more are also listed on our High School & Beyond page.
How do I know my child is learning?
There are a variety of ways, both formal and informal, to determine if your child is doing well in your home education program. Just as any parent can see if their child is struggling or engaged, homeschoolers can see every day how their children are doing with their course of study. Some curricula have periodic quizzes or tests to incrementally determine how the student is doing with the material. Many families utilize outside resources, including co-ops and online programs, that provide regular feedback on the student’s progress. Finally, homeschooling families are required to complete some kind of annual assessment. This can be an opportunity to see the child’s strengths and weaknesses that can indicate areas for adjustment in the year ahead.
Can students access classes and programs at their local public schools?
Yes. Homeschooled students may access classes at their local district schools through a law referred to as Equal Access. School boards must have a policy that allows resident home-educated students to participate in curricular and co-curricular programs at their local schools. Each district may determine their own policies, but generally allow access to one or two curricular programs per term, as well as participation in extra curriculars such as band, athletics, fine arts, field trips, and more.
How much time does it take each day to homeschool?
It depends on your family’s approach to learning. Some families are very structured while others do not follow a strict routine or daily schedule. Many utilize a mix of resources where a portion of their week includes co-ops or outside classes and other portions of their week are unstructured. The purpose is to have meaningful learning opportunities. Every family finds what works well for them, but many report that it requires significantly less time than the typical eight-hour school day.
Do homeschoolers need to follow the same schedule or calendar as their local public schools?
No. Homeschoolers do not have to follow the same daily schedule or have 180 school days or match the local school calendar. Families are able to learn when it suits their needs – any day of the week or time of day.
Do homeschoolers receive state-issued diplomas?
No. Homeschool families self-certify the completion of high school; GSHE has a sample form. It is recognized by universities, the military, and federal student aid. More information is available on our Graduation and High School & Beyond pages.
How can I connect with other homeschooling families?
GSHE has several social media groups to help you plug in and find your people! Our primary Facebook group has over 5,000 members from across the state! It is an active environment where people share experiences, resources, ideas, and support. We also maintain an extensive list of groups around the state, if you wish to connect with local people or those who share a similar homeschool approach and style. NH has a vibrant homeschool community -- join us!
I still have questions. Who can I contact?
We are here to support you through your home education journey; you're not alone. Please find us on Facebook, email us at info@GraniteStateHomeEducators.org, or attend one of our frequent Intro to Homeschooling sessions that we hold across the state. Check our blog and Facebook page for upcoming events as they are scheduled, or contact us to have one in your community.