General / Other Considerations for Homeschool Laws

It is important to know the laws when you are homeschooling. Here are some general considerations for homeschool laws that we keep as updated as possible. You can also look at our big picture checklist to help you get started in homeschooling.

General / Other Considerations for Homeschool Laws

High School Credits
Diplomas granted by public or private high schools indicate the student has completed certain requirements set forth by the institution. One of these requirements is to be present for a certain number of hours in the high school classroom. The diploma has in part become an attendance certificate. Because homeschooled student hours are not supervised by the public school, the public school may not feel comfortable issuing a diploma or certifying attendance. Students homeschooling for part of their high school years will, most likely, not receive credit for school work done in the home and thus not receive a diploma from the state unless the classes are repeated in the school. ESDs do not award diplomas to home schooled students. Check with your local school district for their policies.

Class credits granted or awarded to a home educated student in Oregon by correspondence schools or private schools with homeschool programs may or may not transfer to public schools should the student return to the public classroom.

A few of the options available for the high school home educator: taking a correspondence course which issues its own diploma; finding a private school that gives credit for work done at home (note, the private school’s credits might not be accepted by a public school); taking the GED; or completing high school at home and receiving a diploma issued by the family. Before embarking on educating a high school student at home, you need to research your options.

Will the law change?
Since 1985 (when the previous home- school law was passed), there have been many attacks on the homeschool statute in the legislature. Through God’s grace, we have not lost our positive reputation with the legislature and these attacks have not been successful. In fact, in 1999, home educators were successful in persuading the legislature and the governor that there should be less state control over home education and the 1999 statute became law. However, the freedoms which one legislative session gives can be taken away the next legislative session.

In addition, administrative rules may be amended at any time by the Department of Education. This constant threat became very real in 1990 when the Department tried to enact ill-conceived rules which would have destroyed the freedom to homeschool for many families. Home- school families rallied around OCEANetwork leadership strenuously opposing this change. As a result we were rewarded for our vigilance. The rules were not changed, and the Home Education Steering Committee was established by the governor.

Guard your freedoms!
Homeschooling is regulated on three levels: by statute made in the legislature, by administrative rule written by the Department of Education, and by interpretations also made by the Department of Education. In addition, local Educational Service Districts and local school administrators apply the homeschool laws, sometimes without completely understanding them. It is imperative that homeschool families understand homeschool laws so that misinformed school officials do not impinge on homeschool freedoms.

It is also imperative that home educating families work together to protect and further expand home education freedoms. We recognize that God has given children to their parents, not the state. Parents should be responsible for directing and controlling their children’s education. Homeschool parents have begun to assume responsibility for their children’s education, but the state still tries to maintain some semblance of control and “authority” over our homeschools. We need to work together to move our laws and rules closer to the ideal of parent directed education.

OCEANetwork has been serving home educators in Oregon since 1986 by monitoring the Oregon legislature, the Department of Education and local ESD interpretations of the law. We have directly lobbied to protect homeschool freedoms against many attacks. In addition, we successfully led the lobbying effort to obtain additional home education freedoms in 1999.

Homeschool families can work together by becoming OCEANetwork Supporting Families and by joining their local Christian home education support group. Call OCEANetwork at 503-288-1285 for more information.