Know the Law
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and the laws vary from state to state. As a homeschooler in Oregon, it is essential that you know and follow Oregon homeschool law. Each family who decides to homeschool is responsible to know the homeschool law. The law is not difficult, but if you don’t follow it, you would be in violation of the compulsory attendance law and your child could be considered truant. OCEANetwork believes that the parent, not government, has the responsibility to educate children. Until such time as the compulsory attendance law with its notification and testing requirements for homeschoolers is repealed, however, we encourage families to honor the civil authority and obey the law.
Here is a summary of homeschool law that we keep as updated as possible. You can also look at our big picture checklist to help you get started in homeschooling.
Summary of Homeschool Law
Starting the fall of 2016, “Children between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend public school unless they qualify for an exemption. If you comply with the homeschool procedures, your child is exempt from having to attend public school” (ORS 339.030). The administrative rules go on to explain that you notify when they are 6 on September 1. You do not have to notify if they turn 6 during the school year.
In order to obtain the homeschool exemption you must:
1) Notify the Educational Service District (ESD) of your intent to homeschool. This does not have to be done until your child is 6 on September 1. The letter must contain your name and address, names and birthdates of the children you are homeschooling and the name of the last public school your child attended or the school district in which you reside. You just send in this letter once for each child. If you move to another ESD, you need to notify the new ESD.
NOTE: ESDs may not inform homeschoolers on their web sites that there is a paper option for notification. They may instead present an online registration form that often collects more information than is legally required. This may leave the impression that their online form is the only option. OCEANetwork recommends that instead of using their forms or online systems (which often request information beyond what the law requires) you send in a paper notification that only gives them the minimum information. For your convenience, we have provided a template and instructions for sending a paper notification here.
2) Homeschool students are evaluated in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10. Most students are evaluated with standardized achievement tests. Special needs students have alternate methods of evaluation. The ESD may request you to send a copy of the evaluation results to them for their files. (Make sure you read the Oregon Homeschool Laws brochure to find the list of tests, who can give the test, etc.)
3) If your homeschool student scores above the 15th percentile, you are free to continue home educating. If your child falls below the 15th percentile, the law contains a three-year procedure to attempt to bring the child’s scores above the 15th percentile.
We have provided information containing the homeschool laws and their explanation in English. It is important for every homeschool family to completely understand the homeschool law.
- Oregon Department of Education publications (best viewed in Internet Explorer and Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or higher):
- The Oregon Department of Education’s web page for homeschooling.
- Contact information for Educational Service Districts (PDF file)
- Current list of test administrators (Excel Spread Sheet)