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Homeschool has been a legal schooling option in Massachusetts since 1987. The guidelines for homeschool are based on the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Care and Protection of Charles (1987). The requirements for homeschooling are fairly low. However, in order to homeschool parents must have approval from their local school district. This mandatory school district approval is what makes Massachusetts a high regulation state. MA School districts give approval for homeschool programs that are “equivalent” to what is taught in public schools.
Age of Required Attendance
The state of Massachusetts requires your child(ren) to attend school from the age of 6 to 16 years old. Legal schooling options include:
- public school
- private school
- parochial school
- charter school
(see legal references 1 and 2)
Notify The School District
The Massachusetts Homeschool Law requires you to get approval from your local school district in order to homeschool. Your local school official(s) may ask you for any of the following:
- your education plan
- information about your qualifications to homeschool
- a review of your educational materials (to determine the subjects you will teach and your child’s grade level)
- information on your child’s academic progress
NOTE: Although your local school official(s) can ask for any of the above information, there are a number of things that they cannot ask for or require. Make sure you know the difference between what is required and what is NOT required. Read an Overview of the Court Rulings on Home Education in Massachusetts and Massachusetts homeschool guidelines at a glance to be aware of these differences and prepared to defend your homeschool rights.
Your local school district has the right to refuse your request to homeschool. However, if your school district refuses your request then they are required to show proof that your homeschool plan is not equivalent to the public school program.
NOTE: School districts cannot require a home visit in order to approve your homeschool program (see legal reference 5).
If You Need To Withdraw Your Child
If your child is already attending a Massachusetts public school you will need to officially withdraw them before beginning to homeschool. In order to officially withdraw your child send in a Withdrawal Letter and notify your local school district that you would like approval to homeschool.
(see legal reference 3 and 4)
The Massachusetts Homeschool Law does not require you to qualify in order to homeschool.
You do not need to have any specific education credentials. Your local school official(s) can ask you for information about your qualifications to homeschool; however, they cannot require you to submit any official documentation.
(see legal reference 4)
Hours of Instruction
The Massachusetts Homeschool Law does not require you to teach a specific amount of days/week or hours/day.
Your local school official(s) can ask for information about your education plan which includes hours/days of instruction; however, they cannot require you to keep and submit records of how many hours you teach.
Massachusetts public schools are required to teach 180 days/year or 900-990 hours/year. You must simply offer an equivalent, not identical, amount of days/hours to receive approval to homeschool. For instance you might homeschool a few hours a day, a few hours on the weekend, some evenings, during the summer, etc.. Homeschool is flexible and does not need to be the same hours of the day/week/year as your local school.
(see legal references 4 and 6)
The Massachusetts Homeschool Law does not require you to teach a specific list of required educational subjects.
Your local school official(s) can ask to review your educational materials to determine what educational subjects you teach: however, they cannot require you to teach specific subjects, use specific texts/materials, or use specific teaching methods.
Massachusetts public schools are required to teach the following subjects:
- the English language and grammar
- the history and constitution of the United States
- the duties of citizenship
- health education
- physical education
- good behavior
You must simply offer equivalent, not identical, instruction to receive approval to homeschool. Your local school official(s) will want to see that your child’s academic abilities are within their grade range.
(see legal reference 4 and 7)
The Massachusetts Homeschool Law does not require you to keep records of your homeschooling.
Your local school district official(s) can ask to see educational material, ask for information on your child’s academic progress, or ask about your education plan; however, they cannot require you to keep specific records of your homeschooling.
(see legal reference 4)
The Massachusetts Homeschool Law does not require homeschoolers to participate in testing.
However, your local school district can require an assessment.
Methods of educational assessment or evaluation can be any of the following:
- a portfolio
- an assessment by a professional educator
- an educational journal
- program certificate of achievement
(see legal reference 4)
Immunization Law For Massachusetts Homeschoolers
The state of Massachusetts does not require homeschool students to receive vaccinations. Only students who attend school are required to be immunized.
(see legal reference 8)
Helpful Websites For Massachusetts Homeschoolers
For local support and information visit these Massachusetts homeschool websites:
- Code of Massachusetts Regulations 603.8.02.
- Massachusetts Home Learning Association Ages to Begin and Stop Reporting to the Local School District.
- Massachusetts General Laws XII.76.1.
- Care and Protection of Charles (1987).
- Brunelle vs. Lynn Public Schools (1988).
- Code of Massachusetts Regulations 603.27.03 & 603.27.04.
- Massachusetts General Laws XII.71.1.
- Massachusetts General Laws XII.76.15.
This summary is for informational purposes only and is not given as legal advice. HomeschoolStateLaws.com does not endorse any of the links or organizations listed above.