Homeschooling and Working with Public Schools

Homeschooling in New Hampshire is something of a DIY effort. We have a great deal of autonomy and school districts are hands-off, but that often comes as a surprise to many prospective and new homeschoolers.

NH home ed statute does not require families to follow their local school district's calendar, daily schedule, curriculum, scope/sequence of learning, or other aspects of the public education model. The requirements are quite simple: we need to file a notice of our intent to homeschool, cover certain subjects at some point over the duration of our home ed program; maintain a portfolio with a reading list; and conduct some kind of annual assessment. All of this is covered very thoroughly on our Where to Begin page with more details and links, as well as videos we produced on multiple aspects of these requirements.

This "hands-off" approach is highly valued by experienced homeschoolers because it allows families to fully customize a learning plan for their children based upon their needs, goals, and use an educational approach that fits their family.

Families may choose to work with their local district in a few areas. Upon request, families can pursue testing for special education needs, but districts have the option whether or not to extend services to the children. More information is available here. Resident homeschoolers may also participate in curricular and co-curricular programs, if space is available. Details on Equal Access are available here.

However, families need to understand that it is their responsibility to know potential requirements, particularly if they wish for their children to enroll in the public schools at some point, whether it is when Covid-related practices return to "normal" or because of academic plans.

Generally, students may enroll in their local public school by contacting their district office; it's a simple procedure and may require only a couple days to get the paperwork in order. Grade level is usually determined by the child's age and not academic achievement when enrollment is for grades 1 through 8.

It is more complicated at the high school level, especially for students entering at or above the 10th grade level. In NH, local public high school principals have the discretion to approve or deny credits towards graduation from any educational provider outside the district, including VLACS or other NH charter schools, accredited private institutions, and home education. To avoid unpleasant surprises, we encourage families to have an open discussion with the high school about their plans so you know the school’s expectations and requirements. The SAU may have their graduation policy and requirements posted on their website.

GSHE created multiple resources to help families prepare, if their intentions are to enroll in their local public high school.
Free to Customize Learning
Homeschool to Public High School (video)
GSHE Homeschool to Public High School event recording (video)

CLEP classes and exams are one way families can demonstrate the rigor of their home ed program when seeking to transfer credits to their local public high school. The NH Department of Education recently announced a new program with Modern States for students to take College Level Examination Program (CLEP) over 1,000 classes and exams for free. CLEP exams may be used for high school and college credit and can be a great way to make college more affordable. Here is the department's press release and an interview Commissioner Edelblut did with InDepthNH about the program.

Whether you plan to homeschool for only a short-time or long-term, know that GSHE strives to be a resource for you during your home education journey. We have multiple Facebook groups to help you find community, depending on your particular needs and interests.

Granite State Home Educators -- Our primary group for supporting home educators around the state.

Granite State Home Educators Marketplace -- Our group that brings together buyers and sellers of homeschool resources.

GSHE Homeschool Pod Connections -- A group to help bring together families looking to form home-based learning communities such as homeschool pods and microschools.

GSHE Action -- This is our group specifically for tracking and discussing legislation related to home education.

Families Helping Families -- Specifically for families who have children with special needs, not just for homeschoolers!

Granite State Gifted -- This group is for families in any educational setting who have advanced and twice-exceptional children.

Granite State Home Educators on MeWe -- We have a growing presence on this social media platform, too.

Plug in where it fits your family's needs. GSHE has numerous resources, including videos and extensive articles on our website, to help you work through these tough decisions and support your home education journey.