Homeschooling has grown in popularity among parents. Home-based learning is an excellent approach to controlling what children are learning and reinforcing the values parents believe are necessary for their children’s development. If you are located in North Dakota and wish to start homeschooling your children, you may be wondering how to do so.
First, you must decide the best homeschooling option for you. Depending on this choice, you will have to meet the teacher qualifications, teach for a required time, the required subjects, choose a curriculum, keep records, and participate in standardized tests for some grades.
To get started with homeschooling, there is certain information you need to know and have handy to ensure you are complying with the state law and doing all the right things. This article will serve as a guide on how to start homeschooling your children.
In North Dakota, you have two homeschooling options to choose from, and it is essential to know both; you will have to choose the one that better fits your and your children’s needs.
If you would like to take this option, some criteria set by the legislation need to be met.
- Make sure you have the necessary teaching qualifications.
The parent must have earned a GED or high school diploma. If not, the parent could opt to be monitored by a North Dakota licensed teacher.
- Submit an annual statement of intent.
The parent should file a statement of intent with the superintendent of the public school district or the superintendent of the county of residence every year that the child will be homeschooled. The statement of intent needs to be done at least two weeks before you begin homeschooling or within two weeks of transferring into a North Dakota school district.
- Provide the necessary number of teaching days and hours.
The parents should run the homeschooling program for 175 days per school year and teach at least four hours a day.
- Teach the required subjects.
It is vital to comply with the mandatory subjects dictated by the legislation. These subjects will vary depending on the level of the student.
- Keep a school record.
You must maintain an annual record of your child’s courses and academic progress evaluations, including any standardized achievement test scores.
- If necessary, get your child tested.
Homeschooled students in grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 are subject to standardized achievement exams provided by the local school system or a national standardized achievement test.
In case a licensed psychologist determines that the homeschooled student has developmental disabilities, the parent should include the following documentation alongside the statement of intent:
- A copy of the clinical diagnosis of the child.
- A service plan created by the school district or a private replacement services plan.
- The Services Plan team must provide a status report by November 1, February 1, and May 1.
If parents choose to homeschool as a private school, there are fewer criteria to be met. The following are described above:
- Make sure to have the necessary teaching qualifications.
- Teach the required subject.
- Comply with the number of days and minimum hours of instructions.
- Submit an annual statement of intent.
As mentioned above, some requirements need to be met by law; one is teaching the required subjects.
- English language (reading, English grammar, composition, spelling, and creative writing)
- Social studies (history, geography, government, and the United States Constitution
- North Dakota studies
- In the 4th and 8th grades, North Dakota geography and history should be included
- Science and agriculture
- Physical education
- Health (hygiene, disease control, physiology, and the conscientization of the use of alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics)
- English language (literature, composition, and speech)
- Social studies (including personal finance)
- Physical education
- Foreign languages, career and technical education, or fine arts
Unless otherwise stated by the school board and North Dakota Department of Education, it is up to the parents to choose a curriculum that best fits the learning style of the student as well as the teaching style of the parent, guardian, or tutor. There are numerous options available for home-based learning materials.
AOP, Alpha Omega Publications, offers a variety of online, digital, and physical learning options that follow traditional lessons and are backed by a Christian foundation. School House Teachers uses a single sign-on ID to access hundreds of different lessons across all the necessary and extracurricular school subjects for all ages and learning levels for individualized learning goals.
For young learners just starting, ABC Mouse is a valuable resource that focuses on colors, shapes, letters, and numbers in a fun and interactive way. From the same company as ABC Mouse, Adventure Academy takes young learners into an interactive school setting to continue learning similarly to a typical school day. Duolingo is an excellent resource for foreign language studies. Khan Academy is a free online tool to help students with math, science, economics, reading, language arts, test prep, and more.
For families that want to learn from home but stick to a more traditional class schedule, K12 is a free version of public school completed online. Connections Academy, Time4Learning, Bridgeway Homeschool Academy, and Abeka Academy are just a few more popular options to get your search started.
Most companies will offer a free trial before having to sign up for any of their programs. Other free educational and social resources to keep in mind are the public library, community centers, homeschool co-ops, field trips, and other free events hosted throughout the town that work with your current learning and teaching objectives. Parks, beaches, hiking trails, swimming, or just walking around your neighborhood or the local high school track when public school is not in session are all great ideas for physical fitness, testing, and just for fun.
Record keeping is a must in North Dakota, and they must include all the student’s courses and academic progress evaluations, standardized testing scores, and other educational documentation. Besides these, parents should also keep the following vital homeschool records:
- Attendance reports
- Information about the textbooks and workbooks used by your kid
- Samples of your child’s schoolwork
- Correspondence with school officials
- Portfolios and exam results and any other documentation demonstrating that your kid is receiving a suitable education per the legislation
North Dakota requires homeschoolers to take standardized tests for grade levels 4, 6, 8, and 10. Some families choose to take examinations on an annual basis to develop strong portfolios.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. Parents can choose not to participate due to intellectual, moral, or religious reasons. Parents can also opt-out if they, as the person overseeing the home education program, hold a bachelor’s degree, a minimum score on a national teaching test, or are a North Dakota licensed teacher.
Besides the state’s homeschool laws, parents who want to homeschool a cold with special needs should follow additional criteria like communicating the child’s clinical diagnosis and providing status reports.
Under the following conditions, a parent may give homeschooling to a developmentally challenged child:
- A professional psychologist has concluded that the child has a developmental disability.
- Under Section 15.1 23-03, the child’s parent is eligible to offer to homeschool.
- The parent should submit the following to the superintendent of the school district:
- A notification indicating the child would be homeschooled.
- A certified copy of the child’s disability diagnosis, prepared and signed by a qualified psychologist.
- A services plan created in conjunction with the school district or replacement services plans created in collaboration with a services plan team and paid for by the child’s parent.
Ninety percent of the funds for special education programs in public school comes from the state. Suppose the federal government decided not to let the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds be given to homeschoolers. In that case, each state is free to distribute their 90% in any way they see fit.
If authorized by the school’s administration, a child receiving home education in North Dakota may participate in extracurricular activities under the authority of the school district of residence or under the supervision of an accredited nonpublic school. Homeschooled students must comply with the same participation standards as full-time students at these schools.
North Dakota, unlike other states, issues high school diplomas to homeschooled children. These diplomas are granted by the school district, a recognized nonpublic high school, or a distance education facility.
Parents must provide a transcript of accomplishment, a description of curriculum content covered in high school, how program objectives were achieved, and any other documentation that indicates the student fulfilled the high school graduation requirements for homeschool children to get a diploma.
The child’s high school diploma may also show that they were homeschooled.
Some groups and associations help you through the homeschooling process; here are a few of them:
- Bismarck Mandan Area Home Educators (BMAHE)
- FM Secular Homeschoolers
- Minot Home School
- North Dakota Secular Homeschoolers
- North Dakota Home School Families
- Williston Area Christian Home Educators (WACHE)
Homeschooled children have more flexibility to incorporate field trips into their program than students who attend regular schools. Here is a list where you can start and pick some ideas on where to go on field trips:
- Fargo Air Museum – The museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting aviation interest via education, preservation, and repair. The museum is a location where youngsters can learn about aviation, assist in the restoration, and view full-scale replicas of historical aircraft.
- Turtle River State Park – The park, set in a forested valley along the Turtle River, offers year-round recreational spaces for camping, picnics, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and sledding.
- North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum – This museum is the largest one in North Dakota. It has four museum galleries, where children can see the history starting with the geologic formation, around 600 million years ago.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park – This park can be used as a formal or informal classroom where children can learn about conservation and the adventures of Theodore Roosevelt.
- Plains Art Museum – This museum offers exhibitions as well as art and creativity classes. They have the option of virtual visits and some virtual resources that can help with children’s development.
- Dakota Zoo – This zoo is perfect for all types of people, being inclusive and handicap accessible. It is the ideal place to enjoy a day out of the ordinary teaching sessions, and you have access to snacks and beverages, as well as water fountains and trains with handicap accessibility.
Homeschooling can be a fantastic idea, but it must be done correctly. All of the material presented above should be of great help in getting you started on this learning path. The most crucial part of all of this is to comply with state regulations and standards and give your children a decent curriculum that will benefit their future and careers.