Getting Started–Step 2: Open Your School
North Carolina is a great place to homeschool! Every state in the US has different laws about homeschooling, and in North Carolinia, homeschools are governed by the NC Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). We are the only state who has a division like this. We have a great law!
How to Open a Homeschool
- Notify the NC Division of Non-Public Education of your intent to operate a school and include your school name, and name of chief administrator. Here is the link to open your homeschool: https://www.dnpesys.nc.gov/NPEPublic/NOIHomeSchool.aspx
- 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.
- 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.
NC Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE)
1309 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1309
The NC Homeschool Law
A Little History
During the 1988 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, Article 39 of chapter 115C of the General Statutes were amended to allow home instruction, under certain conditions, as a means of complying with compulsory school attendance requirements. While it was a good law and homeschooling flourished under it, NCHE saw room for improvement. The needed change was in the definition of “home school.” On March 5, 2013 NCHE had bills filed in both the NC House of Representatives and the Senate to make the change in the “home school” definition. The bill passed unanimously at every stage and was signed into law on May 30, 2013.
- Home school
- means a nonpublic school consisting of the children of not more than two families or households, where the parents or legal guardians or members of either household determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction, provide academic instruction and determine additional sources of academic instruction.
- Duly authorized representative of the state
- The Director of The Division of Non-Public Education or his/her staff
To comply with the NC homeschool law, you file a notice of intent with the NC Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) to operate a homeschool. The teacher will need to submit proof that he/she has a minimum of a high school diploma. You will need to name your school, and it is important to know that you can not change the name. It may be fun to say you attend the Seusstastic Academy of Humor and Science, but bear in mind that the name of your school will appear on your child’s high school diploma and the transcript you will send to prospective colleges.
After you open your school, you will need to keep attendance records showing that you schooled on a regular basis for a minimum of 9 months annually. Your students will need to take a nationally standardized achievement test every year. Immunization records need to be kept up-to-date unless you have a waiver. If you have a religious reason for not wanting your children immunized, write a letter explaining your objection, sign it and put it in your homeschool records. If there is a medical reason for not immunizing one or more of your children, you will need to get a waiver from from a licensed physician for each child that is waived. You do not need to open a school until your oldest child turns seven. (If your child is not yet seven and is enrolled in a NC public school, the school principal may insist that your homeschool should be open, but you can legally withdraw children under the age of seven years.)
Within the law is a statement concerning requirements: “No school meeting these requirements shall be subject to any other provision of law relating to education except requirements of law respecting immunization.” What this means is that any requirements added to the law regarding public and private schools do not apply to homeschools.