"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:

http://www.4shared.com/document/IyfzopUU/NewSchoolForm.html

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:

http://www.4shared.com/document/vQfep_4U/_2__NC_AttendanceForm.html

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:
http://www.ncdnpe.org/documents/hhh137.pdf

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:

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/

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

23 comments on “"How To Homeschool" in NC
  1. 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
    Nicole

    • 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 !

  4. 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.

  5. 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!
    Katie

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!
    Rebekah

    • 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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