Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc.

Homeschooling Fact Check: Days and Hours

This week we continue our Homeschooling Fact Check series in which we examine some of the most common questions we receive and some of the biggest myths about homeschooling in Massachusetts. If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at

This week we tackle two related claims:

Claim 1:

Homeschooled students are required to complete 180 days of school per year.

Claim 2:

Homeschooled students are required to complete 900 hours of school per year at the elementary level and 990 at the secondary level.

Reading the Law:

The hourly requirements are never mentioned in the case law. Regarding days, Charles says: Furthermore, G. L. c. 71, §§ I and 4, and 603 Code Mass. Regs. § 27.01 (1980) require cities and towns to operate the public schools for a minimum of 180 days. (Charles at 339) It does not go so far as to state that the length of the homeschool year must be the same as a public school year. Quoting the General Laws, Charles adds that homeschool proposals should equal in thoroughness and efficiency, and in the progress made therein, that in the public schools in the same town... (at 338). A later case, Brunelle, acknowledges that ...the perception and use of time... are different in homeschooling. (Brunelle at 518)


False. While districts may ask about length of the homeschool year and hours of instruction, the law does not apply the 180 day and 900/990 hour requirements to homeschoolers. If asked, many homeschoolers choose to say that their plans will equal in thoroughness and efficiency the schools in the same town or that the homeschool year will meet or exceed 180 days. (See the links in the sidebar for more information and for AHEM's sample ed plan with suggested language.)

Read all the major cases affecting homeschooling in Massachusetts here.