Intent to Homeschool

Valorie Delp
Homeschooling family

Your notice of intent to homeschool is often the first step in filing paperwork to start homeschooling legally. Not all states require a notice of intent, while others require something on a specific form. Make sure you check your state's homeschooling laws.

What Is a Notice of Intent to Homeschool?

Generally, a notice of intent to homeschool is simply a letter stating that you are planning on homeschooling your child. Some states require a letter of intent; other states merely suggest it and still others require nothing at all. For states that require a lot of paperwork in order to homeschool legally, the letter of intent is generally the first step in filing.

Usually, the parents write the letter of intent, although some states have specific forms you must use. Generally, you send the letter of intent to the designated homeschool liaison and that person sends you the appropriate paperwork to fill out for homeschooling. Remember, each state is different and you'll need to double check your state's laws before filing anything.

What Typically Is in a Notice of Intent

A notice of intent to homeschool generally includes the following information:

  • The child's full name, address, and birth date
  • The grade the child would be entering if they were in school
  • A simple statement saying that the child will be homeschooled for the following school year and who will be giving the instruction

If the child is going to be participating in some type of umbrella or online distance learning, it is fine to include that information. If the parent is providing the instruction, you can state that as well.

What You Shouldn't Say in Your Letter of Intent

Many parents who are disgruntled with the school's education system sometimes feel the need to explain why exactly they are homeschooling. Not only is the information superfluous, but it also draws negative attention to you that simply isn't necessary. When you're filing paperwork for homeschooling legally, it's always best to do what's necessary but nothing more.

You also do not need to mention your curriculum or other materials that you are using. Some states may ask for this information later on in the paperwork process, but it is not typically for the letter of intent. Furthermore, if the board of education does ask for the information and you are required by law to provide it, there is generally a format to follow or a form to fill out.

A Letter of Withdrawal

It is worth noting that some states require a letter of withdrawal in lieu of a letter of intent. The letter of withdrawal serves the same purpose and is given to your child's school principal. A letter of withdrawal, if it is required, is only required if your child is actually withdrawing from a school.

To Whom Do You Send Your Letter of Intent

Many parents who are filing a letter of intent for the first time are not sure where to file. This all depends on your state and the guidelines. The information may be difficult to find but you can always look it up on the website of your state's department of education. Sometimes, you send your letter of intent to the school principal of the school your child would attend. Check with your state's board of education to find out where you should send your letter and whether or not you need to send it once or annually.

Which States Require a Notice of Intent

For more information regarding how to homeschool legally in your state, visit your state's department of education website or a legal organization such as HSLDA. There, you can find out if there is anything in addition or in lieu of a letter of intent that is required. As of January 2010, the following states require a notice of intent:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa - Note that parents have to file a "Competent Private Instruction" form in lieu of a letter of intent.
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland - Note that there is an actual "Notice of Consent" form in lieu of a letter of intent.
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi - Known as a "Certificate of Enrollment".
  • Montana
  • Nebraska - Various forms are required that contain information similar to a letter of intent.
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania - Parents have to file a notarized affidavit declaring their intention to homeschool.
  • South Dakota - In lieu of letter of intent, parents submit a "Notarized Application."
  • Tennessee
  • Utah - A signed affidavit serves as a letter of intent.
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia - There are a few options to legally homeschool in West Virginia, some of which require a notice, or letter of intent of some sort.
Intent to Homeschool