Getting Started–Step 2: Open Your School
Now that you have decided to homeschool, the next step is to open one. North Carolina is a great place to homeschool! Every state in the US has different laws about homeschooling, and in North Carolina, homeschools are governed by the NC Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). We are the only state who has a division like this. This is the agency you need to notify when you open a homeschool.
The North Carolina compulsory attendance law requires children ages seven through fifteen to attend school, and a child in a homeschool meets this requirement. If your child is under 7, you do not need to open a homeschool, and DNPE will not let you open a homeschool until just before the oldest child you will be homeschooling turns seven. Scroll down to find information about withdrawing your child from public or private school if they are under seven.
Children Ages Seven to Seventeen
How to Open a Homeschool
When you choose to open a homeschool, the primary thing to do is submit an online “notice of intent to operate a home school” (NOI) with DNPE. You may do so Monday through Friday any month of the year except the months of May and June. Here is the link to the NOI form, Notice of Intent (nc.gov). After clicking “I agree and wish to set up a home school,” you will be asked to view a video on how to fill out the form. At the conclusion of the video a “Continue to the NOI” button will appear. Note: DNPE doesn’t allow a homeschool to be opened when the only student is eighteen or older.
Your High School Diploma
Before you go to fill out the NOI, you need to scan or take a picture of your high school diploma or equivalent. Note that any higher level degree, transcript, certificate, etc. that shows you have a high school diploma will work. When you fill out the form, be sure to attach the scan or picture of your diploma or equivalent.
Name Your School
Also, before you fill out the form, you need to pick a name for your homeschool. Once your homeschool is established, the state will not allow you to change the name of your homeschool. Therefore, it is important that you think about what it would look on a high school diploma. Here is an NCHE Blog post you may find helpful, Choosing a Name for Your Homeschool.
Religious or Non-religious
You will be asked to select under which part of Article 39 you elect to operate—Part 1 (religious) or Part 2 (non-religious). Your school will not be treated any differently, no matter which you choose. Pick the one with which you feel the most comfortable.
Confirmation of Your Open Homeschool
When DNPE has added the information about your homeschool to their database, you will receive an official acknowledgement email with a homeschool ID number.
Withdrawing from Public or Private School
Next, we recommend that you meet with the principal or the school administration and present a written letter addressed to the principal of the school where your child is registered. Be sure to retain a copy for the letter for your records. The letter should be in your own words to fit your situation. Here is a sample letter.
Dear Mr. John Principal,
This letter is to inform you that our child, Janie Doe, in the 4th grade at Main Street School is being transferred to our homeschool, Doe Homeschool, ID Number 5555.
Please provide a copy of the academic records for Jamie Doe.
Along with your letter, submit a printed copy of the official acknowledgement of your completed NOI from DNPE by email.
Finally, complete any withdrawal forms you are asked to submit. (However, don’t sign any withdrawal forms that add any regulation beyond the requirements of the homeschool law, or add any curriculum requirements.) Keep a copy and any other correspondence for your records.
Now, you can begin homeschooling!
- Notify the DNPE of your intent to operate a school and include your school name, and name of chief administrator.
- Maintain immunization records on each student.
- Operate on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year.
- Administer a nationally standardized test, or other equivalent measurement, that measures achievement in the areas of English grammar, reading, spelling, and math, to every student each year, and maintain the results on file for one year, subject to inspection by a duly authorized representative of the State. For information on tests and testing services, see this page: https://www.nche.com/helps/testing/.
- Notify the NC Division of Non-Public Education, when changing your address or closing your school.
- Certify that the persons (usually one or both parents) providing the academic instruction hold at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. You will need to have this diploma or its equivalent (any official document proving that you have a high school education) ready when you open your homeschool.
- Maintain attendance records on each student annually
Children under Seven
If your child is six or younger, you need to formally withdraw your child from school if you plan to homeschool him, but you don’t need to have an open homeschool.
We recommend that you meet with the principal or someone in the school administration and present a written letter addressed to the principal of the school where your child is registered. Be sure to retain a copy of the letter for your records. The letter should be in your own words to fit your situation. Here is a sample letter.
Dear Mr. John Principal,
This letter is to inform you that we are withdrawing our child, Janie Doe, from the kindergarten class in Main Street School. We will be assuming the responsibility for the education of Janie Doe.
Some school districts have been difficult with parents withdrawing their children. You will need to inform them the compulsory attendance law doesn’t apply to any children under seven years old. You might want to print this document to take with you. Many school districts have a withdrawal form you need to fill out. (However, don’t sign any withdrawal forms that add any regulation, or add any curriculum requirements.) Be sure to keep a copy and any other correspondence for your records.
Now begin homeschooling!