Some people believe Rhode Island is one of the worst states for home education because of all the restrictions. However, the requirements for homeschooling in Rhode Island are not excessive.
To homeschool in Rhode Island, you need to follow these steps:
- Submit a letter of intent to the local school committee before September 1st
- Provide 180 days of instruction
- Teach the mandated subjects
- Comply with the district’s requirements
- Submit the student’s attendance report to the district’s committee
At a glance, the requirements don’t seem to be anything out of this world. But there’s a catch in “complying with the district’s requirements.” Although it is not impossible, this statement is too broad. Plus, there’s no standard for what each district will require. Let’s see more details about these terms and conditions you need to meet to be a lawful home educator.
Homeschooling Options In Rhode Island
There is only one homeschool option in Rhode Island. No churches, institutions, or tutors can help you with home education.
As a parent, you can choose to homeschool your children if you want to. But, you are the sole person responsible for their education.
Before You Begin Homeschooling In Rhode Island
Now that you know homeschooling in Rhode Island will be your responsibility as a parent, it is time to self-assess.
Do You Have The Time? Space? Interest?
All students in Rhode Island should receive 180 days of instruction, a rule that applies to private schools and homeschooled students.
The rule complies with the same days of instruction given in public schools. It is up to the parent to decide how many hours and days of education the student will receive.
There are no specific laws about what space your child needs for at-home education, and you can follow your intuition and see what works best for your student. Most parents prefer to reserve a quiet place where there are few distractions. However, other parents take advantage of those distractions as small breaks.
Nevertheless, you must ensure the child receives instruction in the required subjects. Remember that the local district committee approves homeschooling in Rhode Island. If they decide your child is not progressing enough, they can request you switch them to a public school.
Your child’s thorough and efficient education should be in your best interest. After the COVID-19 pandemic, most parents were forced to help their children with their instruction at home. However, this was not a voluntary decision. In homeschooling, you need to know if you are interested in following your children’s educational progress.
Rhode Island Laws For Homeschooling
There are not many laws for homeschooling in Rhode Island. The most basic rule is to get approval from the school district before starting.
All parents willing to provide at-home education should fill out a request to the district school. A committee will review their request and decide whether they approve the home education.
The homeschool registration process in Rhode Island is straightforward; you must create a letter of intent directed to the school superintendent. You will include the following information in this letter:
- You will inform of your intent to provide at-home education to your children.
- Children’s name, month, and year of birth.
- School period, you want to start homeschooling.
- Confirmation that you will teach the required subjects in English.
- List the subjects you will teach.
- List of resources you will use to ensure thorough instruction.
- The parent’s mailing address and name are needed in case of contact.
There’s no need for you to state your phone number or email address. The school district will contact you via mail if needed.
Costs Of Homeschooling In Rhode Island
Rhode Island doesn’t require parents to pay for at-home education. However, suppose you enroll your child in an online or correspondence education program. In that case, that will come with an additional cost for you.
The advantage is that these programs have set their curriculums following local laws and requirements.
Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum
By law, all parents must teach the following subjects:
- history of the US and state History
- Health and Physical education
When choosing which curriculum to use for your child or children, it is essential to consider learning and teaching styles. K12 is an excellent resource for public education taught online following a typical school day schedule. Schoolhouse Teachers allow parents to create individualized lesson plans for all ages, grades, and academic levels. Alpha Omega Publications offers multiple learning options with a Christian background.
ABC Mouse and Adventure Academy work well for young learners through elementary, using interactive lessons that engage the learner. Khan Academy, Supercharged Science, Duolingo, and Hooked on Phonics are other programs that help focus on a specific academic area. The local library, community, and recreation centers are also valuable budget-friendly resources.
Of course, more learning options are available than just those we just listed, but this is a great place to get started and see the different home-based learning techniques.
If you begin to feel overwhelmed in your search, most companies will offer a free trial that allows the parent and student a chance to try before signing up. Trials are a great way to see what works best for your family.
Some companies and institutions can provide you with an outline of the curriculum. You can also consult with your district and use the curriculum used in public schools or create a custom-made education style for your children. Most families prefer to do it this way because they can adapt home education to their needs.
For instance, some parents can provide 3 to 4 hours of daily instruction to prevent burnout.
Regarding the curriculum, the only state standard is that you amount to 180 days of instruction in the required subjects by the end of the school year.
All instructions must be provided in English, as required by the Rhode Island State Law 16-19-2.
Recordkeeping And Testing For Homeschooled Students
Parents should keep attendance records for their children. Work progress or any other type of recordkeeping is not mandatory. Testing is not mandatory either.
However, most parents choose to keep track of their children’s progress in learning the required topics. Additionally, testing can help some parents assess which subjects they need to reinforce.
By the end of the year, parents should submit an End Of The Year report to the school superintendent via mail. The letter should incorporate the following:
- Inform that you have provided at-home education
- Student’s name
- State that you complied with Rhode Island laws 16‐19‐2, 16‐19‐ 2, 16‐22‐2, and 16‐22‐4.
- List the mandatory subjects
- State the days the children attended instruction
- State the number of absences
- It should end with the parents’ names and mailing addresses.
Homeschooling and Special Education Services
The Rhode Island Education Department has a Special Education Office that can help parents design an outline to educate their children for children that require special education.
Homeschooled Students And Public School Access
The superintendent decides whether homeschooled children can participate in their district public school extracurricular activities.
Most superintendents agree to let children enroll in a sports team, bands, or other activities.
There are no requirements by law to deem a student as a homeschool graduate. If the parents determine the student has completed the hours of instruction, they can consider him a graduate.
Some parents choose to issue a diploma to their children. Depending on what other courses the student wants to access, they might need to participate in other education programs.
Field Trips For Homeschooled Students
Here’s a list of museums, science labs, and outdoor field trips available for homeschooled students in Rhode Island:
- South County Museum
- Rhode Island Historical Society
- World War II Veterans Memorial Park
- Roger Williams Park Zoo
- Audubon Nature Center & Aquarium
- Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park
- Frosty Drew Nature Center & Observatory
- Museum of Natural History and Planetarium
Homeschool Associations, Groups, And Co-Ops
Even though Rhode Island is highly regulated, you can find some associations that help tutors. Here’s a list of the institutions that can help with home education in the ocean state.
- Educational Evaluations of Rhode Island, located in West Greenwich
- ENRICHri, in Coventry
- Enki Education, in Cranston
- Good Company Tutorials in Cranston
- Barrington Christian Academy, in Barrington
Homeschooling in Rhode Island is not rocket science. There are not many regulations by law. We covered the steps you must follow to be a lawful home educator.
As long as you provide the required subjects and instruction days, you and your child can enjoy this journey together.