Homeschooling is a favored choice for many families in Arizona. While it is easy to get started, there are a few steps to be compliant with state regulations.
Arizona offers one way to homeschool. A one-time affidavit of intent to homeschool must be submitted with the county superintendent within thirty days after homeschooling begins. A certified copy of the student’s birth certificate must also be on file. Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies are the core required subjects.
You have decided to homeschool your child and know the initial steps to take. Knowing what to do next is essential to the success of your child as a homeschooled student.
What Do I Need to Know About Homeschooling in Arizona?
The Arizona Board of Education does not have any power to regulate or supervise over homeschooled students within state borders, making Arizona low regulation. Children between the ages of six and sixteen must have a parent or guardian enroll them in an education program. The method of delivery for educational instruction is up to the parents or legal guardians. There are no teacher qualifications needed by the parents or guardians before the student begins their homeschooling journey.
If your child is currently enrolled in a public school or is pre-enrolled for the upcoming school year, it is necessary to complete a withdrawal form to avoid any truancies reported by the public school to the school administration board. Within thirty days after starting homeschooling, it is vital to file an affidavit of intent to homeschool with your county superintendent.
Affidavits of intent must include the student’s name, date of birth, the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the persons who have custody of the student and the address and name of the school the student is currently attending, if there is one. A certified birth certificate for the student must also be on file. If a birth certificate is unattainable, other proof of the student’s identity and a letter explaining why a birth certificate can not be obtained may work in its place.
Immunization records do not need to be on file with the school board but should be maintained by the parent. There are state-mandated subjects to be taught; however, state assessments and tests are not required when homeschooling. If a student or parent wants to evaluate the student’s knowledge while homeschooling, it is possible to contact a local school to get a testing schedule and see which tests are open to homeschoolers during the testing window. The four mandated subjects for all students are Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Any courses outside of those four are at the parent and student’s discretion to pursue or not.
The average homeschool schedule consists of two to three hours of learning time each day and three to five days a week. Arizona does not have any requirements set for a specified number of hours or days to meet a homeschool calendar year. If a decision is made to stop homeschooling, or there is a move out of the current county, a letter of termination must be filed with the current county superintendent thirty days before the move or stop. Another affidavit of intent to homeschool will need to be completed should homeschooling recommence or after moving to a new county.
State-level homeschool regulations should remain consistent, but it is always best to check with the county superintendent to verify the proper actions before starting or stopping the homeschooling process. The Arizona Department of Education is a helpful resource for age and grade level guidelines.
Where Can I Find Homeschool Curriculum?
Looking for a homeschool curriculum is not as scary as it sounds. There are free resources available at local libraries, community centers, and even online. Early learners, ages two to eight, will delight in learning beginner and essential reading, math, science, and color skills with ABC Mouse. Adventure Academy is from the same company as ABC Mouse but geared towards eight to thirteen-year-old children. The lessons are interactive and fun for a decent-priced monthly or yearly membership.
Learning a foreign language is easy and free, with Duolingo. Khan Academy is another excellent online resource that offers some free lessons. If a teacher-led program is wanted, K12 is set up to be similar to a typical public school day with scheduled classes and coursework. Alpha Omega Publications, AOP, is Christian-based and offers online, digital, student-paced, and teacher-led options to choose from for a monthly or yearly membership price. Calvert Homeschool has online courses as well as a printed curriculum. School House Teachers is a fantastic resource when putting together your own individualized curriculum for each individual student. Applecore is an easy-to-use website for student tracking, record keeping, and high school transcripts.
There are plenty of other options to choose from for a variety of online and printed curriculum. The ones listed are just a starting place to decide which option will be best for you and your student. Most, if not all, homeschool programs have a live chat option to help answer any questions before making any final decisions.
Can a Homeschooler Play School Sports?
Homeschooled students that live in the school district of the school they want to play for are allowed to try out for sports the same as a public-school student can. The same policies that are in place for public school students will also apply to any homeschooler that qualifies to be on the team. Registration, fees, transportation, insurance, student responsibilities, behavior standards, and performance standards will be consistent for all students. Parents of the homeschooled student will be responsible for providing subject grades to ensure the student is passing current classes and maintaining participation on the team.
Special Education for Homeschoolers
Homeschooling families with special needs do not have to concern themselves with any other homeschool regulations or laws. The same process requiring a letter of intent to homeschool, choosing a curriculum, and maintaining a learning schedule does not change for anyone with special needs. There may be special education services that the student can qualify for while homeschooled. To explore options available to the student and family, contact the local school district or the Arizona Department of Education.
Arizona Homeschool Associations, Groups, and Co-Ops
With the growing popularity of homeschooling, there is a noticeable increase in local homeschool groups and co-ops. The Arizona Homeschool Association is a state-wide organization with information on legal actions, resources, events, and more. Homeschool groups and co-ops are smaller groups localized to counties, towns, and neighborhoods. These smaller groups host local events, co-teaching opportunities for group learning, field trips, P.E. related activities, and work as a great networking and social outlet for adults and children.
Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Field trips are a fun way to break away from online or book learning and get into a more hands-on approach to a lesson. Scheduling a field trip does not have to be a challenging task to do. Adjust the lessons initially planned for the day and turn it into a learning adventure or a family fun day. Day trips, weekend adventures, and even a week camping while the weather is nice can all be used for experiential learning, outside of the books.
Homeschool Graduation Requirements in Arizona
The parent of the homeschooled student is the one who sets the graduation date and requirements. It is also their responsibility to create high school transcripts and issue diplomas to graduating students. While there are no state requirements set for homeschool graduates, a public-school student will need to meet or exceed 22 credits.
Those credits are 4 for English or English as a second language, 4 Math, 7 Electives, 3 Science, 3 Social Studies, and 1 in Fine Arts. Using the public-school requirements as a guideline, a homeschool student will know what to expect to graduate.