Homeschooling in Oregon – Your Ultimate Guide
Homeschooling in Oregon is fairly simple to do. Diving into your homeschooling journey is exciting, but it can sometimes be scary. OCEANetwork is here to help!
This is your go-to page for how to start homeschooling in Oregon. Although the steps for getting started are simple, there’s more to learn and explore. Work yourself through this guide, exploring the links and resources provided here, or take our FREE Get Started Homeschooling in Oregon video course. Before you know it you’ll be well on your way to an awesome homeschool year with your kids!
Table of Contents
4 Simple Steps for Homeschooling in Oregon
- Submit your letter of intent to homeschool. This letter is sent once for each child when they are 6 on Sept. 1. Read more about the letter of intent here.
- Choose your curriculum and teaching resources. Independent homeschoolers have a great variety of curriculum options to choose from. Use these tips and curriculum guide to help you choose.
- Complete standardized testing. You are only required to complete standardized testing in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. Learn more here about standardized testing (under the Evaluation section).
- Enjoy the journey! That’s it! As long as the requirements for homeschooling in Oregon are met, you are free to craft a custom education to fit your child’s needs. Explore our blog for more tips and inspiration!
Why are you homeschooling? Perhaps it’s a change you’re making out of necessity right now. Or maybe you have goals for your family that have brought you to homeschooling. Like any endeavor, you need to consider your “why” and keep it in view when the days get tough. Having a clear vision and a heartfelt commitment will sustain you more than textbooks, lesson plans, science projects, and field trips.
Homeschooling has many advantages. Write them down and expand that list as you progress along your homeschooling adventure! That list will help you during the difficult days. It will also help narrow some of your choices as you prepare to homeschool. When you need inspiration, browse our encouraging blog posts or head over and get recordings from past Oregon homeschool conferences to listen to in the car!
Homeschooling in Oregon? Sign up for the FREE OCEANetwork Waves Magazine!
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but the laws vary in each one. Make sure you understand Oregon homeschool laws and what is required of you. The law is not difficult, but if you don’t follow it, you would be in violation of the compulsory attendance law and your child could be considered truant. It’s important to stay informed!
The two requirements you need to be most familiar with are 1) submitting your letter of intent to homeschool, and 2) standardized testing in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 Click here for full details on Oregon homeschool laws.
You submit your letter of intent to your Educational Service District when your child is 6 years old by September 1 of that school year. Find out more here, including what goes in letter and the address to send it to. Also note that we recommend NOT using the ESDs online notification systems.
Once you send your letter of intent to homeschool, the other requirement to keep in mind is evaluations. Homeschool students are evaluated in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10. This standardized testing must be completed by August 15th at the end of those grade levels. Test results will be mailed to you, and it’s important that you keep those on file to provide to your ESD IF they request it. Whether or not you will need to provide test results depends on what district you live in. Some ESDs never ask for it while others do regularly. The best approach is to keep the test results on hand in the event that they do request it from you.
Most students are evaluated with standardized achievement tests administered by a qualified tester. Special needs students have alternate methods of evaluation. Check out the links we’ve provided for more information about tests and how they are administered.
Generally speaking, you do not need to stress out too much over the standardized tests, although you may want to give them some test-taking practice if needed. If your homeschool student scores above the 15th percentile, you can just keep on with what you’re doing. If your child falls below the 15th percentile, the law contains a three-year procedure to attempt to bring the child’s scores above the 15th percentile. You will have time and help to get things where they need to be.
- Review the template provided for the notification of intent to homeschool
- Review the Summary of Homeschool Law, which includes links to specific topics such as special needs, interscholastic sports, etc.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Oregon homeschool laws apply ONLY to independent homeschooling and NOT to government-funded educational options, including charter schools. Read more information about this legal distinction between charter schools vs. homeschooling and some issues to be aware of.
Your homeschooling can be totally individualized to meet your child’s specific needs. Overall, parents with children with disabilities say homeschooling, while challenging, is very rewarding.
If your child qualifies under Oregon homeschool law as a child with disabilities and you would like to use public services or alternative forms of evaluation, then your steps for homeschooling may be slightly different than they would be otherwise.
- Your letter of intent to homeschool would include letting the ESD know that you want services from the public school or you plan on using a privately developed plan (PDP).
- You may choose an alternative evaluation method. There are three options for evaluating homeschool children with disabilities. 1) Have them evaluated using standardized achievement tests. 2) Have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) developed by the public schools for the child. 3) Evaluate them according to a privately developed plan (PDP). These three options will be explained in more detail following.
The homeschool journey isn’t one you have to make alone! Thousands of families in Oregon homeschool their children. Find out how to connect with them and OCEANetwork, your state homeschool organization.
The Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network (OCEANetwork) has been protecting and expanding homeschool freedoms in Oregon for over 30 years. Be sure to sign up for emails to get important updates and Freedom Watch Alerts! You’ll also enjoy these services of OCEANetwork:
- FREE eNewsletter and Print Magazine
- Annual Oregon Christian Home Education Conference (The 2020 homeschool conference was online. Registration and content access are open through April 2021.)
- Annual Graduate Recognition event
- OCEANetwork Freedom Watch Team
- Apple Pie Day Legislative Event
- Connect with OCEANetwork:
Finding a support group in your area can be a huge blessing. Support groups can bring great encouragement, practical help, and moral support for your family. Several support groups in Oregon have affiliated with OCEANetwork and become a part of the network! Leaders and members of affiliated support groups also receive a $15 discount to Home School Legal Defense Association.
Go to our support group search page to find one in your area. You can also search online and on social media to find other local in-person groups to consider. The effort it takes to connect with other homeschoolers in real life is worth it, although it may take time. The groups vary in terms of size, formality, focus, and core beliefs. But whether you settle into a group or simply find one or two likeminded homeschool families to connect with on a regular basis, we recommend finding ways to connect!
And of course, social media may provide some good support as well! For example, you can connect with OCEANetwork and other homeschool parents in our Facebook group, Homeschooling in Oregon.
Every student is unique. How will you teach the unique characteristics of your children? When you homeschool, you are responsible for your child’s education. This should not be entered into lightly. It is a serious business. Are you prepared? There are methods of teaching, styles of learning, types of curriculum and long-term goals that need to be considered. OCEANetwork has several resources and articles to help you get started! Click here to find out more.
Some families made the commitment to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord even before their children were born. They have an entire library of homeschool books. They have file cabinets filled with teaching aids and software. They can’t wait until “Emily” or “Johnny” turns two so they can teach them to read. Other families have a commitment born out of a Christian principle that may only be a few weeks old, but the Lord has revealed to them the necessity of godly education.
Both families will have to wade into the water slowly. They need to get off of the shore. No amount of sitting and watching the river flow by will provide the same experience as walking in and taking one step at a time by faith.
- Make a commitment with everyone in the family that the homeschool will last at least one year – no exceptions (short of the Lord’s return).
- Decide on three important subjects that will get attention every day, for instance, Bible, reading and math.
- Decide on three more subjects which will get attention at least twice a week.
- Agree not to commit to outside classes (co ops, gym days, library story times, etc.) at the detriment of the “inside classes.” Count the cost before saying “yes.”
- Plan three (at least one week) breaks throughout the school year (your choice). Something for teacher and pupil to look forward to.
- In the “teacher’s schedule” hide one or two special events each month that can be used as a surprise to break up the schedule. They can be as simple as a special video, or as out of the ordinary as a trip to the zoo. These are at the teacher’s discretion and should not show up on the calendar until the day before.
- Schedule weekly time that both parents can discuss the schooling activities with the student and with each other. Review your reasons for homeschooling. Review God’s principles. Never make the teaching parent feel like they’re alone in this.
Oregon is a wonderful place for field trips and homeschool events. There are kid-friendly hikes, ocean visits, factory tours, and more. Here are some places to explore for educational family fun!
- Oregon State Parks
- Oregon Beach Activities
- Oregon Museums & Attractions
- OCEANetwork Community Calendar
- Oregon Capitol Field Trip
We’ve created an Oregon homeschooling starter package. It will give you a great head start into your homeschool year! It’s completely free — our gift to you! — and includes:
- Oregon Homeschool Planning Starter Pack
- Homeschooling in Oregon Cheat Sheet
- Oregon Capitol Field Trip Printable Pack
- Free Oregon Homeschool Magazine
- Oregon Unit Study
Get Your Oregon Homeschool Starter Package!
Join our mailing list to receive the Oregon Homeschool Starter Package and get future Oregon homeschooling and Freedom Watch Updates.
Here’s a handy cheat sheet for a visual of the information provided here. You can download this above as a part of the Oregon Homeschool Starter Package. It’s great to keep on hand for your own reference or to share with freinds.