Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc.

News & Events

Year-End Evaluations

Please take ONE minute (really!) to help other Massachusetts homeschoolers by anonymously completing this survey. Your answers help AHEM keep track of homeschooling policy and practice across the state.

Thank you for your participation!

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Connecting with Others: Town Point People

Would you like to help connect homeschooling families in your town or area? Are you wondering who is new in your area, or how you can support new families?

AHEM keeps a list of local, independent volunteers known as Town Point People (TPPs). The purpose of TPPs is social. TPPs are there to help homeschoolers make local connections and find resources and groups near them. Read more ▸


We want your questions!

  • Can homeschoolers participate in school sports?
  • How many hours a day should my third grader be "doing school"?
  • What happens if my town doesn't send me an approval letter?

Whatever your homeschooling questions, AHEM is here to help. Our new series Ask AHEM is designed to answer common questions—or unusual ones. Whatever you want to know about homeschooling in Massachusetts, our team of experienced volunteers is ready to answer, or to point you to where you can find answers.

If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at Read more ▸

Overreach, Reasonable . . . or Essential?

What if your town asks for more?

Because homeschooling in Massachusetts is governed by case law, there are “gray” areas. This does not mean, however, that we are without guidance. The law itself gives guidelines for what sorts of requests towns can make.

On the positive side, Care and Protection of Charles lays out four factors that may be considered in determining whether to approve a home education plan. These are: Read more ▸

Homeschooling Events at Local Libraries

We recently sent out a survey to librarians across Massachusetts to see how their libraries serve the homeschooling community and what events they offer for homeschoolers. If your local library does not yet offer events and services for homeschoolers, please consider reaching out to point them to the AHEM website and to have them complete our recent survey for librarians so that we can follow up with them. Read more ▸

Frequently Asked Questions: End-of-Year Evaluations

It's that time of year. Many of us are finishing up one school year and thinking about reporting for the next. Whether this is your first year reporting or you are an experienced homeschooler, AHEM has answers to all your evaluation questions. For more on each of these topics, please visit our website.

What forms of evaluation are acceptable?

Read more ▸


This week we have something just for the librarians among you. We'd love to know what you are already doing for homeschoolers in your community and how AHEM can better help you to reach the homeschooling community.

**Please note that we are just looking for resposnes from Massaschusetts librarians this time. If you are not in that category, please do not take the survey but do consider passing it along to your local librarian and telling them about the work AHEM does.**

Click here to take the survey.

In Praise of Park Days

By Roberta Van Vlack

Park days have long been a staple of my family’s homeschooling life. With four kids, these informal, weekly gatherings have provided everyone (even mom) with an opportunity to make friends and socialize in a way that no co-op we found ever could. Park days were the one constant in our schedule from year to year. (My high school age daughter did the recorded version of Spanish 3 because the live class would have interfered with park day. One has to have priorities, you know.)

Park days are a melting pot. Read more ▸

Homeschooling Policy and Practice Survey Results

Every year, AHEM sends out a survey asking homeschoolers across the state about their town’s homeschooling policies and about their interactions with school officials.

We use this information in two ways. As we answer questions through our One-on-One Contacts program, we refer to the database to see the experiences of other homeschoolers in a given town. The responses also give us a snapshot of homeschooling policy and practice trends over time so we can see if there are broad changes that are occurring across the state.

Below are some of the results from this year's questionnaire. Read more ▸

Legislative Update - April 2024

Our Massachusetts Legislature began its 193rd session on January 4, 2023. Below is a summary of bills filed this session that AHEM is following. At this time no action needs to be taken on any of these bills. Read more ▸

Survey Results: Homeschooling Books and Resources

Recently, we asked you what books or other resources influenced your decision to homeschool. Thank you to all who responded.

Resources mentioned by more than one respondent: Read more

Help Getting Started Homeschooling in Massachusetts

We begin to see a spike in new homeschoolers this time of year. Maybe it is building frustration with a school system that doesn't fit your child's needs, maybe it is just the warming weather calling you out of doors. Whatever your reason for homeschooling, the AHEM website has everything you need to get started homeschooling in Massachusetts. Read more ▸

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We're updating our recommendations and would love your input.

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Home with Kids 24/7

With the cold, sloppy New England winter dragging on, it seemed like a good time to reshare this article from our archives. We hope that it will encourage you, whether you are new to homeschooling, a veteran, or just considering.

By Sophia Sayigh

Maybe you have subscribed to our list or are visiting our website because you have decided unexpectedly to homeschool and now find yourself at home all day with your kids. Here I draw on the wisdom of practicing homeschoolers with tips for managing your day. Trying to recreate school at home can be stressful. And goodness knows, none of us need more stress in our lives. So here is a short list of tips for being around your kids 24/7 that have been successful strategies for many a homeschooling family: Read more ▸


Your skills, expertise, and helping hands!

AHEM is staffed by a handful of currently homeschooling or formerly homeschooling parent volunteers. To stay viable, we need young families with skin in the game who care about keeping independent homeschooling as an educational option to step up. Help out in order for Massachusetts homeschoolers to keep the right to homeschool the way they want to homeschool.

Several opportunities are available: Read more ▸

Resources for Homeschooling High School

Whether you already have teens or are just planning the future, some of the most common questions we get are: What about high school? Can my homeschooled child get into college? How can my child access standardized testing? How do they get a diploma and how can I create a transcript?

The good news is that our surveys show that high schoolers who were homeschooled thrive in the next stage of life. And our resources page has all the information you will need to help them get there. Read more ▸

"Hybrid" Homeschooling

More and more frequently we are seeing questions abouthybrid homeschooling, the idea being that someone can homeschool but drop their child off at some kind of program, either for a few days a week or full-time. Others when speaking of hybrid schooling may mean homeschooling while taking some classes at the local public school, joining a coop, or using accredited online programs while homeschooling.

Legally, part-time homeschooling does not exist in Massachusetts. You are either enrolled in school, or you are not. When a homeschooler takes classes at a public school, the school does not receive per pupil funding for that student. Theoretically it’s possible for an enrolled student to work out an arrangement with their school to do part of their schooling at home, but this would be up to individual schools, and is not common. So for enrollment, you’re either in or you’re out.

As long as there have been homeschoolers, they have chosen to use the resources of their community to augment their experiences. Many museums, nature sanctuaries, tutoring centers, private instructors, performing arts organizations, and libraries offer classes and activities for homeschoolers. The availability of homeschoolers to enroll in programs during daytime hours offers opportunities to fill otherwise empty spaces. Read more ▸

Unsnarling Charles

Understanding Massachusetts homeschooling law is not a straightforward undertaking. Yet it is an important one. Once you understand your rights, you can stand up for them. Homeschooling in Massachusetts is a purely local undertaking, with each district performing oversight functions. (The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has no authority to approve or disapprove homeschooling plans, and in fact, plays no role whatsoever in the implementation of homeschooling regulation in our state.) The following is our own interpretation of Charles's intent regarding issues such as prior approval, written approval, evaluation, mid-year changes, and testing, and does not constitute legal advice; it is for informational purposes only. Read more ▸

The S-Word

How to Think About the Socialization Question

by Roberta Van Vlack

If you have even considered homeschooling, you have probably had the S-word thrown at you. The first thing I always recommend when someone asks the dreaded question What about socialization? is to ask them what they mean by that term.

I’d like to suggest that there are three main ways that people use the term. Socialization can mean simply social time i.e. time spent with peers. It can refer to specific habits and practices which people are expected to learn and use. I am thinking here of things like standing in line, saying please and thank you, and more subtle social skills like how to participate in a group discussion. Lastly, socialization can refer to one’s ability to be relational—to form,  build, and negotiate relationships. Read more ▸

Word Cloud

A look at the topics tackled by our One-on-One Contacts in 2023

If you have ever sent a homeschool question to AHEM, chances are good someone in the community has had a similar question. According to the numbers, the most frequently used words in 2023 were: homeschool (46%), district (34%), education plan (24%), approval (12%), application (11%), superintendent (8%), services (7%), register (6%), and IEP (5%).

AHEM’s one-on-one volunteers offer information and engage with you to address each question, whether you are just looking into homeschooling, withdrawing mid-year and wondering if your district needs to approve your plan before you start, or need a sounding board for how to respond to your school district. Read more ▸