There are four education pathways in NH to fulfill the compulsory attendance law, RSA 193:1. It applies to children who are six years old as of September 30th of the current school year to age 18. Kindergarten is optional.
- public education (local district or charter),
- private education,
- home education, or
- the Education Freedom Account (EFA) program, new as of summer 2021.
One pathway may resemble one of the others, depending on the family. For example, a public school student may have credits from a Learn Everywhere approved provider or participate in an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) program, but that does not make the child a homeschooler or an EFA student. Likewise, a private school may allow a student to participate in a program somewhere else such as for dual-enrollment or a program outside their curriculum, but that child is still enrolled in that private school. Many public schools used the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) as their remote option, but that didn't change students' enrollment status. A homeschooled student might take classes at their local public school or VLACS, but that does not make that child a public school or charter school student. For EFA students, they may be enrolled at a private school or the family may direct the child's learning at home, but they are still EFA (contracted) students.
The distinctions are not always clear, and some options give families flexibility within one of the four fundamental pathways, but they are registered as only one of those pathways and that is what determines their standing for compulsory education attendance. This video may also explain the four education pathways to satisfy NH's compulsory attendance requirements.
NH Education Pathways
|public education||private education||home education||Education Freedom Accounts (EFA)|
|subtypes||district and chartered||secular and religious||n/a||approved uses|
|statute||RSA 193-E||several||RSA 193-A||RSA 194-F|
|rules||Ed 300||Ed 400||Ed 315||Ed 324|
|primary funding sources||federal, state, and local||families||families||state|
|student eligibility||grades K to 12||determined by the governance body||age 6 to 18||grades K to 12 and income thresholds|
|standards||federal and state||determined by the governance body||families||contract|
|curriculum||local||determined by the governance body||families||state, managing organization, and contract|
|academic reporting||state and local||families||families||state and managing organization|
|notification frequency||annual||annual||one time||annual|
Home education that is governed by RSA 193-A is often confused and conflated with the Education Freedom Account (EFA) program that is found in RSA 194-F because at-home use may closely resemble the day-to-day learning for the child. However, there are key differences.
Home Education Compared to Education Freedom Account Program
|Home Education||Education Freedom Account (EFA)|
|governing statute||RSA 193-A||RSA 194-F|
|state education rules||Ed 315||Ed 324|
|subtypes||n/a||approved uses from approved vendors|
|initiation of program||immediately whenever the family chooses||4 to 6 weeks until contract is signed, prorated funding based on registration deadlines|
|notification frequency||one-time when beginning a program||annually|
|age range||when the child is 6 years old or older by 9/30 of the current school year to age 18||grades K to 12|
|eligibility||all NH families||income threshold|
|records/portfolio||yes, consisting of reading list and work samples, kept a minimum of 2 years||no|
|annual assessment deadline||when the family chooses, results remain private and property of the family||July 15 of each year, financial penalties for late submissions|
|assessment submitted to a government authority||no||yes, the managing organization|
|graduation||self-certified||unknown, not in statute or rules|
|resources||any the family chooses||approved uses from approved vendors|
|standards||chosen by the family||determined by contract|
|primary funding||the family||state|
|privacy||family can choose not to interact with any government agency||child's information in a state database and given a SASID|
|participation in Equal Access, RSA 193:1-c||yes||no|
|withdrawal options||any education pathway in the state||statute specifies public school only|
|legal support from HSLDA as members||yes||no|
GSHE believes families are fully empowered and capable of making decisions for their own families and determining what is best for their children. We strive to give people facts, not opinions, to help them make informed decisions.