Georgia’s Kindergarten and Homeschooling Laws
Please note that while I do my best to update this information, laws change. You are responsible for contacting the Department of Education for updated information pertaining to your particular needs. In my experience the staff there has always been courteous and timely. See the Georgia Department of Education website for contact information.
According to Georgia’s law, students are required to attend a public, private or home education program from the age of six to sixteen years old. Kindergarten is available for every student, but it’s not mandatory. Students are eligible for Kindergarten if they are five-years-old by September 1.
Learn more about new student requirements here.
Homeschoolers do not need to fill out a declaration of intent to homeschool for Kindergarten. However, if your child is already enrolled in Kindergarten and you want to withdraw them, you will need to fill out a declaration of intent within 30 days.
REQUIREMENTS TO HOMESCHOOL IN GEORGIA:
- If you want to homeschool your child, you will need to submit a declaration of intent to homeschool to the Georgia Department of Education within 30 days of establishing a program and thereafter by September 1 of each year. You can submit that form electronically here. It’s very easy to submit the form electronically, and this is the preferred method, but mailing, e-mailing or faxing is permissible. This is the only paperwork you will need to submit in order to homeschool in Georgia. Everything else mentioned on this page is for your own records.
- The declaration needs to list the names and ages of the students, the address of the home study program, and a statement of the 12-month period that is to be considered the school year.
- Parents or guardians may teach only their own children, and they must possess at least a high school diploma or GED, but they can employ a tutor who holds a high school diploma or GED.
- The law states, “The home study program shall provide a basic academic educational program which includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.”
- The home study program must provide instruction every 12 months to the students equivalent to 180 school days with each day consisting of at least 4.5 hours unless the child is physically unable to comply. (This does not mean that you have to sit down at a desk with your child doing formal
pencil and paper academic work for 4.5 hours each day.)
- Parents or guardians no longer have to submit attendance records to the Georgia Department of Education, but they should keep this information in their own files. For driving permits, the declaration of intent will suffice.
- The law states, “Students in home study programs shall be subject to an appropriate nationally standardized testing program administered in consultation with a person trained in the administration and interpretation of norm reference tests…” beginning at the end of the 3rdgrade and every three years after that. The spokesperson at the DOE recommended that parents use a nationally recognized test. Note that a parent can administer the test after consulting with someone at the test’s publisher, or they could ask a local teacher to administer the test. The results of the tests do not need to be shared with anyone, and parents need only retain them for their own records. (You can read my experience with one possible test here, but there are several tests you can pick from that you can administer yourself from home.)
- Finally, the home study program instructor needs to write an annual progress assessment report which will include her assessment of the student’s academic progress in each of the subject areas listed above, and parents need to retain these reports for at least three years. (You can see how I write a progress report here, but there are no specific guidelines on how you are supposed to do it.)
How you homeschool or what curriculum you use is completely up to you.
For support and guidance, I recommend that you meet local homeschoolers. There are many homeschool groups on Facebook. You can also do an online search for local groups. Other homeschoolers can answer your questions, and most are very happy to answer questions from new homeschoolers because they were once new at this too.
I’m always available to answer questions too. Please see my contact form. I also have many resources for Georgia homeschoolers on my blog, and I’ve written some short e-books that can help get you started with homeschooling.
Good luck to you!