The steps to homeschooling in Rhode Island aren’t difficult. Here’s what you need to do:
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According to Rhode Island Statute § 16-19-1, “Every child who has completed, or will have completed, six (6) years of life on or before September 1 of any school year, or is enrolled in kindergarten, and has not completed eighteen (18) years of life, shall regularly attend some public day school during all the days and hours that the public schools are in session in the city or town in which the child resides.” One exception to this is when a child is attending “a course of at-home instruction approved by the school committee of the town where the child resides.”
Note that the Rhode Island Department of Education [RIDE] “does not directly supervise home instruction. In Rhode Island, approval of home instruction occurs at the local school district level. If you are thinking of home-schooling your child, please call your local school superintendent’s office for information.”
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
In Rhode Island, there are no minimum qualifications for you to homeschool your child. You need only be able to provide “thorough and efficient” instruction (RIDE).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! Prior to beginning home instruction, “you need to present your proposed home instruction program to your local school committee for approval. Your plan will need to show that you will teach the required subjects. There should be agreement between you and your local school committee regarding how your child’s academic progress will be evaluated” (RIDE).
If your local school committee denies approval of your home instruction plan, you may appeal the decision to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Angélica Infante-Green, 255 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903.
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
In order to fulfill the homeschooling requirements of Rhode Island, “you may copy the public school curriculum or use correspondence courses, or you may design your own curriculum. R.I. Basic Education Program Regulations may also be helpful to you, as they include a framework for a comprehensive curriculum that is used in the public schools. The BEP may be found at 200-RICR-20-10-1 and the section on curriculum is §1.2.1” (RIDE). You can also check with your local school department, public library, and other printed and online resources.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Education, “local school districts must loan certain textbooks, including e-books, in English/language arts, history/social studies, science, math, and modern foreign languages, as well as texts for some other subject areas. The textbooks available for loan under the “textbook loan program” are on a list published annually by the Commissioner of Education. You are responsible for the purchase of other instructional materials needed for your child’s home instruction program.”
You must have approval from your local school committee if you intend to use an online program for virtual instruction in your home instruction plan (RIDE).
Even though Rhode Island does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Rhode Island homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
According to the Rhode Island Department of Education, “The parent and the school committee should agree on a way of evaluating your child’s progress in all required subjects. This may include testing in the required subjects at regular intervals. If testing is the method of evaluating your child’s progress in his/her home instruction program, the site of testing is subject to agreement by you and representatives of your district. Testing at the home is an option you should discuss with district representatives, if you are interested in this.”
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
“You must keep attendance records. If you and your school committee agree that you will test at home, you must keep progress reports/test scores” (RIDE). You must submit these attendance records, as well as evaluations of your child’s progress in the home instruction program through regular reports to the person in charge of home instruction at your district.
In addition to attendance, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:
You may also be able to find more information on Rhode Island homeschool requirements through your local school district by contacting the superintendent’s office.
State law requires that all Rhode Island homeschooling families keep attendance records and submit those to their local school district. Local school districts may have additional record keeping requirements beyond those (such as submitting and end-of-year report), so make sure you are aware of any other records you are asked to keep.
Aside from state and local requirements, however, all homeschooling families can benefit from keeping a homeschool portfolio of their activities and accomplishments. Not only do these come in handy if a student decides to return to public school after a period of homeschooling, but they can also be helpful in creating future transcripts. Some families also appreciate having a physical memory book of their home education adventures.
In addition to attendance tracking, a homeschool portfolio also often includes:
Because homeschooling is completely legal in Rhode Island, students who have completed the requirements set forth by their parents for graduation are considered homeschool graduates. Parents may create and issue their own diploma to a student who has fulfilled the obligations of graduating.
There are no state requirements in Rhode Island regarding homeschool graduation, however, it is a good idea to explore requirements of any higher education institutions your child may be interested in. Knowing what colleges require in terms of coursework, testing scores, and extracurricular activities can help immensely when designing your high school homeschool curriculum plan.
Modify™ helps homeschoolers to keep all necessary records and transcripts.