"How To Homeschool" in NC

Homeschools in North Carolina are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Non Public Education  which administers the requirements of the North Carolina General Statutes governing both conventional non-public schools (private schools) and homeschools.

Their website contains valuable information which can be found here:   http://www.ncdnpe.org/index.asp

(The following is provided for informational purposes only  and should not be construed as legal advice given by NC Homeschool”ology”)

North Carolina law defines a home school as “a non-public school in which the student receives academic instruction from his/her parent, legal guardian, or a member of the household in which the student resides”. 

Two household schools are permitted.  The home school academic instructional setting must always meet the home school legal definition of G.S. 115C-563(a) and is limited to students from no more than two households.”

The North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) is authorized by that section of the state law (G.S. 115C-563a)  to receive notices of intent to Homeschool.

1) Parents wishing to educate their children at home, need to inform the DNPE of their intent to home school.

A “Notice of Intent” form must be filed once their children are age 7. 

The Preferred method is online registration and you can click here to go to the DNPE Registration Page

or you can download the form at the DNPE site or here:


Parents need to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to homeschool.

2) Once the Homeschool is established, the administrators (parents/guardian) must maintain at the school their children’s  disease immunization as well as annual attendance records for each student.

3) Every year the students must have a nationally standardized achievement test administered and the testing records kept ready for inspection, or those items may be  provided voluntarily to the DNPE through the “Inspection by Mail Program”.

Homeschool Administrators simply need to keep records of the student’s attendance and the results of an annual Nationally Standardized Achievement Test ready for  inspection by the representatives of the DNPE on the premises of the Homeschool.  

Representatives of the DNPE are not authorized to inspect the premises themselves, but only the required records.

You can view and download the Attendance Forms here:


3) The annual test must be Nationally standardized and cover the subject areas of English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics. Records of the test results must be retained at the school for at least one year and made available to DNPE when requested.   

Recommendations (distinguished from legal requirementsabove) for the daily operation of your Homeschool and for Nationally Standardized tests are available at their website: http://www.ncdnpe.org/hhh103.asp

A very valuable printable Homeschool Handbook is available from the NCDNPE as well: Homeschool Guidebook

North Carolina companies who are test providers and fellow home educators:

PES Direct/ Greg Munger (owner) http://www.pesdirect.com/

Brewer Testing/ Pat Brewer (owner) http://www.brewertesting.com/

Bayside School Services/ Donny & Sandy Ball (owners) http://www.baysideschoolservices.com/

There is also a great article by the former director of the DNPE, Rod Helder, on the history of Home Education in North Carolina:

For information on what the public schools in NC are teaching  in each grade, you can review the NC Standard Course of Study for the grade your child is in:


While you are here, you can check out the links in the sidebar for information on Homeschool Support Groups and Co-ops in your area, search by your county in the search bar to see what activities are posted and check out the field trip suggestions too.

Thanks for stopping by~

Merit Blog Sig

42 comments on “"How To Homeschool" in NC
  1. Twyla says:

    Hello! First of all, kudos to you for maintaining this site! Here’s my question, I would love to homeschool my son. He is failing miserably in the 8th grade and is not excited about school at all. I think his teachers just pass him along each year not truly teaching him anything. I can’t do his math homework with him because he doesn’t have the basic building blocks from the year before. I work a full time job though and while my husband is a stay at home dad, he has a learning disability and couldn’t possibly teach. How do I find a qualified tutor in my area and how much can I expect to have to pay for that service? Again, many thanks for creating this site!

    • Merit K says:

      Twyla- Thanks so much for your encouraging words! It definitely sounds like your son will benefit from a good home education program. Tutoring services vary, as do their costs. There are good options such as http://www.wyzant.com/, which is an easy to service to use and will help you choose a tutor in your area. I would also suggest that you look for Co-op Classes- check around with a local homeschool group or google. Your husband might not be able to teach, but he could make sure that the co-op homework is completed and supervise your son’s work schedule. Another option is online classes such as Landry Academy (ses link on side bar) and or online learning website like ALEX or “Time for Learning”. There are so many great resources out there to help us homeschool, or teach subjects that we are not strong in! I hope you will let us know how this goes for your family!

  2. Traci Davis says:

    Hello. I am so happy to have found this website! I am a single mother of 5 children ages 4-10. My 4 oldest ones are enrolled in elementary school at the moment. I am working on getting my GED in order to meet the requirements to home school all of them. I should be done my testing by August 23rd. I have three questions if you have the time to answer.

    My first two are – Once I receive the necessary paperwork required to complete the Notice of Intent to Home School, my understanding is that I should wait 30 days before removing my children from their current public school. Is that correct? I plan on, and would love to start, as soon as possible. I am not certain on the proper way of removing them, so I would appreciate any insight you have on doing that.

    Finally, I help my brother run his business. Our families are extremely close, but we do NOT live together, and he has expressed that he would like for me to home school his daughter as well. I would not mind at all, seeing as though she and my daughter are the same age and grade level. Is that legal for me to do so? I have scoured the internet, and I know I have read that in NC you can home school your children and one other family. But then in another paragraph it says something completely different. If it is legal, and I am able to do this for them, how would we go about doing that?

    I know it’s a lot, and I apologize for the lengthy message, Haha, but I am a loss when it comes to finding information on these questions. Thank you so much for your help.


    • Merit K says:

      Hi Traci- I am glad we have connected too! Congrats on obtaining your GED and on your decision to teach your kids at home. In answer to your questions, there is no required or “official” procedure for removing your kids from public school. Most of the homeschoolers I know who have done this have recommended that you be certain the school is aware of your child’s enrollment in your homeschool by doing everything in writing and complying with the local school’s procedures to remove the students, to avoid any confusion and/or truancy questions from the schools later on in the year. I would also talk directly with the school admin in charge to be sure they know all that is going on. Secondly, you may homeschool another family’s children under the umbrella of your school. I don’t know if you have seen the Homeschool Guide from the NC Div. of Non-public Ed., but it is really helpful and there is a brief section in it explaining about teaching the children of one other family- http://www.ncdnpe.org/documents/HomeSchoolGuideBook.pdf , you would also need to be responsible for any info. the schools of your brother’s children might need once they are enrolled in your homeschool. I hope you feel reassured and confident. I hope your school year is the best ever!

      • Priscilla Saravia says:

        Hi! I have a six year old who I homeschooled for kindergarten, she turns seven in December. I wanted to start the home school year in September 2014. I wanted to do the intent notice for her but it says you can no longer do it for this school year???! I am so confused as for what to do because if I would’ve done the intent in June or July, she is still six. It clearly states in their website that you cannot notify them of any child under seven. Please help. What exact steps should I take?

      • Merit K says:

        Hi Priscilla, if your child will turn seven during the school year, then this is the year for you to send your NOI to the NC Division of Non-public education. You can just get on their website and submit it there. They don’t take them in May/June, but right now, it will be fine to send it in, but you now have to do it during business hours m-f 7:30 am-4:30 pm if you want to use that method. It is confusing that they have posted that message online, but early birds like us will just have to wait until those business hours to use the online form :) Let me know how it turns out, if you get a chance- and have a great school year!

  3. Candice says:

    Thanks for the advice i figured i would just keep an organized file of her progress as proof of attendance and progression again thank you so much!

  4. Candice says:

    I have a five year old that is not currently enrolled in any school and want to home school her she is up to date on shots and everything do i need to contact the state and let them know i want to homeschool ?? We will move to alabama next year where i will enroll her in a public school so how would i prove to alabama that she is ready for first grade being i am home schooling her for kindergarten ??

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Candice~ you will have so much fun homeschooling Kindergarten! You don’t need to do inform the state of anything when homeschooling your 5 year old. Although all NC students are entitled to attend school beginning at age 5, the compulsory school ages in our state are 7-16 and the state doesn’t want to be informed of your homeschool formally unless your child will be turning 7 by July 1st of the upcoming school year. You are going to need to check with the state where you are moving to see how they determine where to place your child. They will most likely have a placement test they will give the child to determine readiness to move on to first grade. You can also keep records of your child’s accomplishments in a “transcript” type format and some schools may accept that. You are not considered an “official” NC homeschool, but you may still legally teach your child at home! You can read all of this at the NCDNPE website FAQ section; http://www.ncdnpe.org/FAQs/hhh114o.aspx#CC and let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. sally says:

    We are considering home school for both of our sons. N.C. says high diploma is required. My husband has his plus multiple college degrees. For personal reasons. I do not. I am planning to. My question is can we homeschool now or do we have to wait until I complete this?

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Sally- Kudos to you for being a great example to your boys and working on your own education! Congrats on choosing to homeschool too. Our family has found it to be a wonderful lifestyle. The law requires that at least one of the adult in a homeschool household have a HS diploma (or a GED). In my opinion, you can certainly still participate in the home education of your children. Your husband would need to verify to the department of non-public education that he holds a high school diploma, (if you do not have a diploma or your GED). He would be the owner and administrator of your school. This means that he will oversee their instruction/education, specifically, all instructors, which may include you, tutors, co-op classes and online courses or self instruction, as well. You submit your “Notice of Intent” to homeschool to NCDNPE by email and (they reply by email with a fax # ) fax a copy of his High School Diploma or a GED. You can read all this on the NC Department of non-public education website or take a look at their guidebook which also includes this information. Hope you find this information encouraging and helpful!

  6. Alicia says:

    Hi, I have been homeschooling my 2 girls for a year and a half now. But when we started only one was above the age of seven. But as of this year the youngest turned seven. I know that means she will need to be tested this year along with her sister, but do I need to notify NCDNPE of me homeschooling them both because when we started and sent in our intent we only told of the one child. Does that make sense? Also I have a 3yo son who I will also be homeschooling but when it comes time that you would register him in public school would I need to notify anyone that he is being Homeschooled to? Thanks in advance! Alicia

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Alicia- This is a very common question. You don’t need to inform NCDNPE of the additional student. Your notice of intent to homeschool is good for all the students in your home. When you get an email from NCDNPE and then go to the link to do your online reporting (similar to the old gray cards we used to get), the administration does ask for information on how many students are being homeschooled and you can provide that information at that time, if you choose to do so. Your 3 year old is not considered of compulsory school age (7-16 years old) and thus, you do not need to report him at all, at this time. I am glad that teaching at home seems to be going well for you!

  7. Rachel Littell says:

    Hello I was wondering if I could teach my kids and two other families kids.

    • Merit K says:

      NC allows us to teach our children and one other family’s children in your homeschool. You can tutor other children, or teach classes for other families, but they must each be enrolled in their own home school. Hope this info helps.

  8. Kati says:

    HI! We are about to jump into the “homeschool” world with our 11/13 year olds and are very excited for them. They will be schooled by their now tutor….they are both very athletic and would still like to participate in their old school (which is a private catholic school)…. what options are there? Can they still play sports with school or even participate in other extra curricular activities with their old school? I was also wondering if there were any rules in regards to the fact that their main schooling will come from someone other than ourselves… I realize this might be a bit non-traditional, but we feel that it is the best decision for us.

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Kati- Congrats on your new homeschooling adventure! In our state, you can have your children homeschooled by another family and/or use a tutor as long as you are ultimately the one making the decisions about your homeschool. If your school is interested in allowing them to participate in their sports programs, that causes no problem for your homeschool in the eyes of the Department of Non-public Education. There are also a lot of homeschool sports teams- you will find some links to their websites on the sidebar if you scroll down and on the tab/page for Sports at the top of our webpage. Glad to hear that you are confident in your decision – that is the best indicator of success in homeschooling, in my opinion! Let me know if we can answer any other questions or help in another way. Blessings~ Merit

  9. Nicole says:

    I moved from Western NY with my son who is 18, but by NC he has enough credits to be a Sophmore with an IEP and is on the Spectrum. He has been miserable and the administration is fighting me on everything. He is so anxious at school because of how they treat him so after the last meeting I gave him the choice with all the pros and cons. Today I faxed the intent to honeschool, have my registration number, the district is willing to offer related services. My problem? He has the right to attend high school until age 21, but I read I can’t operate my homeschool that has only a student who is over 17. Did I read the law wrong? Any information I am very grateful to you.
    Thank you

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Nicole, Your question is very valid. It is so great that you are going to teach him at home and allow him the time to grow. I am not giving any legal advice to you, but it’s my opinion that if you re-read the law, you will see that the meaning behind it is that students who do not fit into the parameters of the law (ie. pre-schoolers and students over 18) are not required to follow the homeschool law. It doesn’t mean that you cannot operate a homeschool, just that you do not have to report to the state your intent to homeschool students over 18 and/or under the compulsory age of 7 years old. FROM the NCDNPE website: “Please DO NOT send a Notice of Intent to DNPE for the present school year if the only students to be enrolled in your home school: (a) Are currently under age 7 and will not turn age 7 before this coming June 1; or, (b) Are currently 18 years of age or older.” Thus, I would say that although you are not considered an NC private school as is one that is registered, there is nothing keeping you from teaching him at home and then graduating him when he meets the criteria you have decided he needs to meet to graduate from your homeschool program. In my opinion, you can still provide transcripts of his work and present him with a diploma upon completion of his credit. I don’t see anything in the law that prevents you from continuing his education at home, just that you are not under the umbrella of the NC Homeschool laws. Does that help? If you want specific legal advice, and not just my opinion, you could contact HSLDA- I found this on their site: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/nc/201308050.asp or contact the Div. of Non Public Education (919) 733-4276.

  10. rex ledford says:

    hey everyone we are new to this a week an cant find anyone to help us out.what do we do to homeschool do we buy the books an where anhow do we do homework classes an test pls help

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Rex- welcome to home education. As you have already noted, there is a lot to figure out. I am assuming that you already started out by sending in your Notice of Intent to Homeschool at the North Carolina DNPE and once you have done that, you are on your way. If you are withdrawing from a public school, you should have informed them in writing of your homeschool program’s commencement. Now you should follow my advice and find your local homeschool support group. Most of them have great members who know all the answers to classes in your area and if there are educational stores around. Look in our sidebar for your county and go to the links. There are also links to information about testing at the testing page. Google is great for finding out about curriculum for each subject. In NC, we have to purchase all our own materials so although that gets pricy, we have all the FREEDOM to chose! ALSO, the NCHE Conference is coming up and you can look at all the books & items there at the Book Fair. It is fabulous and will be in Winston-Salem in May.

  11. Brandi Houston says:

    Hello. I have been homeschooling my two oldest children for four years now and this year my 6 year old is in “Kindergarten”. I have looked over the testing requirements for 5/6 year olds on the ncdnpe website about whether or not she will need to be tested this year. The way the website makes it sound, if there are older children in the homeschool, then she will also have to be tested. Is this correct? It’s time to order tests and I am not finding the answer anywhere. If any of you know, I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Merit K says:

      The way I read it Brandi, it is by the individual child’s age so she wouldn’t need to be tested yearly until she is 7 years old which is the compulsory attendance age in NC and the time when your child will “officially” be included in your homeschool. Do you see what I mean? Hope this takes some of the pressure off you, but let me know if you still have questions.

      • Brandi Houston says:

        Thanks! That makes perfect sense. That is what I was hoping but I wasn’t sure. Thanks for you speedy reply. My nerves are much calmer now. lol

      • Merit K says:

        So glad that was a help :) I know this is a crazy time of year with getting ready for testing !

  12. Monica says:

    I have a 10th grader who I am going to have to home school d/t depression and anxiety he just can’t make through the day. After reading your blogs. Colleen mentioned Penn Foster and I too have the same concerns about if it is accepted by NCDPI and if our children can continue on to college. I am a Public School Teacher and the Public Schools Admin do not want to comment on home school. Most of the staff I work with still have the old school feelings about home schools. I did home school my child in 6th grade and it was a good experience, but high school is different. Any more on Penn Foster?

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Monica- this isn’t Colleen, (it’s Merit) but I would love for her to share her opinions too, if she sees this. Good for you going against the school teacher “norms” and doing what is good for your son. I am a former teacher, myself and my teacher friends have been surprisingly supportive of all I do. There are many options when you homeschool. Your home is considered a private school under NC laws so even if you use an online school, ultimately the diploma will come from your school. I do not know anyone using this program, but Penn Foster is accredited by Pennsylvania which is a good education state. I did notice their average student is older (24), so I think that much of what they do is geared toward those who are returning to school rather than High School at home students so there might not be much interaction with other students his age and you may need to seek out activities in your area so he doesn’t feel isolated. Check out all your options before you decide. Connect with a support group in your area and find out about online classes members use in individual subjects like the “Life Classes” or in Co-ops, they are a good choice academically and might cost less than the online schools’ tuition fees. If your son is a good reader, you might want to set up some course descriptions for him yourself so that you can include projects and field trips that might get him moving when his depression is making him feel unmotivated. It looks like you are looking for a self paced course so that when he needs to, he can take a break from the work and then work more when he is able. Keystone, Time for Learning, NC Virtual Schools, seem to have good basic classes and levels of learning. Some major colleges, like Stanford now offer online classes as well if he likes to stay busy and is good academically, but just bogged down by anxiety and depression. I am saying a prayer for him and for you to have wisdom in your decision.

      Homeschooled students are being recruited by colleges- home educated students attend college at a higher than average rate. My daughter graduated from my NC homeschool (Creative Learning Academy) last year and was accepted at her first choice college. She received both merit based and needs based scholarships.

  13. Katie says:

    I have an 11yr son in the Austim Specturm and he struggles everyday in public school! He wants to be homeschoold and the thought used to scare me but I’m to the point that the thought of sending him to school scares me more. Do I have to wait until a new school yr to begin homeschooling, or can I begin the process in the middle of a semester? His depression over public schooling is growing worse. Help!

    • Merit K says:

      Katie- It is a lot of work to teach at home, but it is so worth it. You do not need to wait. If he is not thriving, there is really not a reason to wait so don’t worry, just use this link to go to the Department of Non-public Education in order to register your homeschool by completing your Notice of Intent to Homeschool. I would let the school know (in writing) you are going to begin a homeschool program as soon as you get notification from the DNPE. You are entitled to his school records as well if you want them. Feel free to contact me here if you have other questions. You can click on my avatar to get to my profile and email me.

  14. Colleen says:

    Wow, I’m so happy to have wandered into your site today! I’ve been homeschooling my children since Kindergarten. We were from Ohio, which has absolutely wonderful state-funded home-based programs and when we moved here to NC 5 years ago, I wanted to continue schooling my children from home. It’s been a struggle! Local public schools don’t know who their home school liaison is and every question I’ve asked has been shut down by some very uninformed people. My daughter is currently 17 and I ended up breaking down and enrolling her in the Penn Foster high school program, but still worry about whether or not the local community colleges will accept that diploma or whether she will still have to take the GED. Also, I was informed that she could receive classes for free (electives only) through the local community college, but nobody there seems to know what on earth I’m talking about!! Ah! Sorry for the rant. I’m just so happy to have discovered this blog and will now set about reading. Thank you!

    • Merit K says:

      Colleen, I am glad that you were encouraged by the site. I hate to hear that you have had a struggle here. NC is an easy state to homeschool in and it is sad that so many are uninformed about it. I do not know much about the online program you are using, so I am afraid that I am not a help there, but I do know that if you want to find out about the Community College courses that are available to high school students that are homeschooled, you should contact the colleges. They are more informed about this than the public schools will be. Our CC offers high schoolers classes in the basic required courses, such as math and science. Feel free to share here anything that you learn that you think others will benefit from as well and email me if you think I can help with anything else :)

    • Monica says:

      hey colleen, I am in a similar situation and I am looking at Penn Foster too. I have the same questions you have. Can you share how it is working for you.

  15. Nikki Brooks says:

    I just found this site. We moved to NC, from Virginia, in August 2008. After private schools from Pre-K through 2nd grade, we decided to try to put our son in public school here in NC. We tried it from 3rd grade until a few months into 6th grade. What a mistake that was! Each year was uglier than the previous year. I couldn’t believe it! To make a long story short… the system beat a once pleasant, optimistic child (who was known as “smiley” and “sunshine” by the teachers, helpers, parents and even headmasters) into a cranky, sullen, school hating child. :( I am trying to get him back to his old self. Thanks for your help, Nikki.

    • Merit K says:

      Wow Nikki- that is so sad! So are you teaching him at home this year, or considering it? I am glad that you found the website a help. Let me know if you have specific question too. Blessings, Merit

  16. sanderson76 says:

    Thank you so much for all of thisl We have decided to homeschool this coming school year and it has been overwhelming to me in trying to get everything figured out. My son will be going into the 1st grade so I have been doing tons of homework over the past few weeks. Just today I ran across your site and love it.

  17. fitzaddict says:

    I’m in the Sanford/Spout Springs area. We have three children, 8, 5 and 3. Our 8 year old son is in the second grade this year and has been on an IEP for about four years now. His IEP was mostly for language and speech, but it also included math, reading and occupational therapy. He was recently taken off occupational therapy and is on a consultation basis for reading. For reading he is now left in the general education classroom instead of being pulled out. However, he is still pulled out daily for math and twice a week for speech.

    Our 5 year old daughter is in Kindergarten after completing two years of school in a PSCD classroom also on an IEP for speech, occupational therapy, sensory and nervous system issues. She has overcome them all and taken off the IEP altogether and doing wonderfully.

    Both children have come a tremendously long way and are doing fantastic.

    Our other daughter, 3, seems to be on the right track developmentally with no worries at all…aside from thinking she’s the boss ;) lol

    I’m writing to you because I am interested in pursuing homeschooling them next year. There are numerous reasons for this idea, but one of the main ones is plainly that I feel God has laid it on my heart to do so. I have many questions about pursuing this avenue and wondered if I could connect with you or if you could point me to someone available to answer questions for me. We moved to NC about six months ago, so we’re fairly new to the area.

    The idea of officially announcing to NC, Harnett County, that I’m going to be homeschooling is feeling a little overwhelming. There seems to be lots of red tape I need to cross before I’m allowed to homeschool my kids. I was wondering if someone familiar with this realm could help me navigate my way through. I want to do things right, and get some groundwork started to be ready for next year. I feel like I have lots of questions…but at the same time I don’t know where to start to ask them lol.

    Thanks for any help!

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Rebekah- I am going to email you and try to follow up with you! Welcome to NC BTW- it is really a good state in which to Homeschool :)

      • Amber Toler says:

        I actually was curious about the options available to homeschooling a child with an iep. I have a 10 year old who has aspbergers and an iep for reading
        In her public school and she has been improving since she got it but I am planning to homeschool my almost 4 year old and she and I both are interested in me homeschooling her next school season. I have read alot and looked at programs…I have seen some where that she could still get her iep at the public school along with access to still joining in sports and other public school extra activities…does anyone know if this is true ir where and who u can go to ask for sure. I would like to get as much Iinformation as possible so I can set up a routine and program that will be best for her. Any help would be appreciated.

        Thanks Amber

      • Merit K says:

        Amber- in NC your homeschool is considered a private school, therefore there is not a obligation to the public schools to provide services to your student, however, many NC school districts will work with you to provide special needs students with testing or other programs and you should contact them to investigate what might work for your student. There is a scholarship program as of 2014 which your family might qualify for since your child has been in the public school- http://www.autismsociety-nc.org/index.php/presets/public-policy/nc-scholarship-program-for-children-with-disabilities

        Check the above website and I do encourage you to speak with the school about your educational goals, some of them will try to find ways to work with you and it never hurts to ask.

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