Massachusetts Home Education: Information for Superintendents

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Information for Superintendents is provided by Massachusetts Home Learning Association and Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators.   Please send comments to supt@mhla.org.

Summary of Guidelines for Home Education in Massachusetts

Last updated August 8, 2002

School Officials MAY consider...

School officials may not...

Subjects not directly considered in court rulings

Our observations on the Guidelines are included in red italics.

School Officials MAY Consider
  • Subjects taught
 

No specific curriculum is required.

 
See Court rulings point 4
  • Competency of parents
  Parents do not need special qualifications to homeschool.
 
See Court rulings point 5
  • Length of school year and hours of instruction
  There is no regulation requiring a certain number of hours for any subject.
 
See Court rulings point 6
  • Access to textbooks and other instructional aids, bearing in mind that many curricular materials may be found "apart from the four corners of a text or workbook." Brunelle at 518
  Since this access is only to determine the type of subjects to be taught and the grade level of the instruction, many school officials do not expect to view actual textbooks. Rather, they view the list of titles submitted in the ed plan. There is no requirement to use textbooks.
 
See Court rulings point 7
  • Means of evaluation
  The form and frequency of evaluation will be agreed upon by the parents and the school officials.
 
See Court rulings point 8
 
The School Officials MAY NOT
  • "require home visits as a condition to the approval of [parents'] home education plans"
Brunelle decision at 519
 
See Court rulings point 9
  • "dictate the manner in which subjects will be taught"
Charles decision at 339
 
See Court rulings point 7
  • "apply institutional standards to this non-institutionalized setting"
  Brunelle decision at 517
 
See Court rulings point 10
 
Subjects Not Directly Considered in Court Rulings
  • Homeschooling begun without prior approval
  There is no educationally sound reason for keeping the child in school while processing the home education plan, nor for declaring truant a child who is being educated at home.  
 
See FAQ#1
  • Diploma
  Homeschoolers are not generally issued diplomas by their school districts.
 
See FAQ#2
  • Athletics/extracurriculars/school classes
 
  Many homeschoolers participate in school activities.  
 
See FAQ#3
  • MCAS
 
  Homeschoolers do not take the MCAS.  
 
See FAQ#4
  • Special ed
 
  Homeschooling works for special needs students.  
 
See FAQ#5
  • Meetings
 
None required. Brunelle makes it clear that any conditions for approval of education proposals must be "essential" for evaluating the education of the child.  
 
See FAQ#6
  • Periodic Assessment
 
  School officials and parents decide on a mutually satisfactory reporting schedule, usually not more than once a year.  
 
See FAQ#7
  • Kinds of Assessment
 
  The Court indicated that ONE method, not multiple methods, of assessment may be required.  
 
See FAQ#7
  • Schedules
 
  None required.  
See FAQ#8
     
Supt. Home
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Copyright 2001, 2002 by Massachusetts Home Learning Association and Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators. Pages may be freely copied provided that the following sentence is included with any citation: Information for Superintendents is provided by MHLA (mhla.org) and Mass HOPE (masshope.org) and can be found in its entirety at either one of those sites.

August 2002 edition

The information on this website does not constitute legal advice; it is provided for informational purposes only.