Each state in the U.S. has its own homeschool law. If you reside outside of New Hampshire, find out what your state's homeschool law is here: https://hslda.org/legal . If you live in New Hampshire, please read on.
A child in NH is required to attend school (compulsory attendance) if they have reached the age of 6 years old by September 30th and to continue to attend until they turn 18 years old. Home education is an alternative to public or private school that can be used to meet compulsory attendance requirements. Below are details about how to legally set up your homeschool in NH. There are other pages about methods and curriculum choices. New Hampshire law allows for flexibility in parents' curriculum choices, but some parents choose to use curriculum providers for their many benefits.
To set up your child's home education program:
- Choose a Participating Agency: A participating agency is the place where you will send notification that you are beginning to homeschool. You only need to notify once when beginning to homeschool, not every year, unless you move out of a school district into a new school district (when using the district as your participating agency.) You may choose as your participating agency either the principal of a private school, the superintendent of you resident public school district, or the commissioner of the NH Dept of Education. There are a number private schools in New Hampshire that have agreed to serve as participating agencies for home educators. If you choose one of these private schools, you simply need to mail them your notification letter. You may choose to include a small donation. See below for a list of private schools that act as participating agencies in NH.
- Notification: Send written notification of commencement of your home education program to the participating agency of your choice within 5 days of beginning to homeschool. You only need to notify once when beginning to homeschool, not every year, unless you move out of a school district into a new school district (when using the district as your participating agency.) Your notification should include the child's name, date of birth, and mailing address, the parents' names, address, and phone number, and the start date of your home education program. You may choose to use the notification form created by the NH Department of Education. Save the letter of acknowledgment of the establishment of a home education program sent to you by your participating agency as proof that you have legally established your program. If your child has already been enrolled in your public school, notify your resident district superintendent of your child's withdrawal from attendance in public school on or before the date your home education program begins.
- Portfolio: Every year the parent must keep a portfolio of student work for each child being homeschooled. The portfolio includes the titles of books read and samples of work done by the student of writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the child. These should include materials dated over a period of time in order to demonstrate that the child has made educational progress commensurate with the child's age and ability. If the child has special learning needs, this portfolio will show progress taking into account those special needs. Keep this portfolio for at least two years after completing the instruction for that year. The portfolio is the property of the parent and stays with the parent. It does not need to be shared with a teacher unless the parent chooses the portfolio review option for their year end evaluation.
- Annual Evaluation: Each child must have an annual evaluation that documents the child's educational progress. The parent may choose to have a certified or private school teacher evaluate the portfolio, a national student achievement test, a state student assessment test used by the resident district, or another valid measurement tool agreed upon by the parent and the participating agency. The parent must keep a copy of the evaluation. Standardized testing materials can be obtained from the various home study programs for a fee. No school enrollment is required to order standardized tests from Seton Testing Services. Spectrum Test Practice Workbooks can be useful for practice for standardized test taking.
- Required subjects: A home education program in NH is required to include the following subjects: science, math, language, government, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, the history of the constitutions of New Hampshire and of the United States, and an exposure to and appreciation of art and music.
For practical help with homeschooling, contact the experienced parents in our support group.
NH home education laws and rules:
For specific legal questions:
Home Education Advisory Council of the NH Department of Education. The NH department of education administers the home education law in NH through its rule making authority. This council facilitates communication between the home education community and the department of education and other educational stakeholders when these rules are being written and when important concerns are raised that pertain to home education. CUHE-NH sends member representatives to this council who can assist you.
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Lawyers are available who specialize in homeschool law. HSLDA charges annual membership dues. https://hslda.org/
Catholic private schools in New Hampshire that serve as participating agencies:
Holy Family Academy
281 Cartier Street
Manchester, NH 03102
Mount Royal Academy
PO Box 362 (mailing address)
26 Seven Hearths Lane
Sunapee, NH 03782
Phone: (603) 763-9010
Fax: (603) 763-5390
Headmaster: Derek Tremblay
There are other Christian and secular private schools in NH that also serve as participating agencies. Other homeschool support organizations found on our NH Community page maintain lists of these other choices.