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Common Questions about Homeschooling

Is it legal?

Yes. Massachusetts has no statute that specifically addresses homeschooling. Rather, homeschooling is governed by case law, in conjunction with applicable statutes. The most important case is Care and Protection of Charles & others, 399 Mass. 324 (1987). In this case, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld the compulsory attendance statute, General Laws Chapter 76, Section 1. In its decision, the Court was aware of the need to balance two basic tenets — the constitutional right of the parents to homeschool and the state's interest in the education of its citizenry. The result was delegation of homeschooling oversight to local school districts.

The job of the local school district is to approve the homeschool plan, ensuring that it “equals in thoroughness and efficiency, and in the progress made therein, that in the public schools in the same town…” (G.L. c. 76, Sec. 1). Each city or town has discretion in determining how to conduct oversight. For example, some towns give the responsibility to school committees, while others have school principals providing oversight. Most commonly, the superintendent, or an assistant superintendent, oversees homeschooling in his or her district.

Click here for more on the history of homeschooling in Massachusetts.

What about socialization?

Because they spend so much of their time out in the real world, home educated children generally learn to get along well with both adults and peers, and to have friends of all ages. They choose to spend time with others because they enjoy their company or have a similar interest — just as adults do. In many areas, there are formal and informal support groups that offer opportunities to meet other children and provide time for socialization. Many homeschoolers find they have to cut back on their social schedule to have time at home!

What about college?

Homeschooled students are welcomed in many institutions of higher learning throughout the country, ranging from local community colleges to Ivy League universities. See College and Life After Homeschooling.

How do I find support?

There are different avenues for supporting your decision to homeschool. Find one or more that works for you: