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Frequently Asked Questions

Homeschooling in Hawaii – Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about homeschooling in the Aloha State.  Check the list below to see if your question already has an answer.  If not, feel free to email CHOH.

Is it legal in Hawaii to homeschool my child?

Parents in Hawaii have the right to homeschool their child according to the Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 8  Department of Education Chapter 12 Compulsory Attendance Exceptions.  CHOH encourages parents to be familiar with the Chapter 12 Rule sections that deal with homeschooling.

What is required to begin homeschooling my child? (§8-12-13)

A letter of intent signed by the parent should be sent to the public school your child would attend.  Parents may choose to instead complete and submit the Department of Education Form 4140.

What needs to be included in the letter of intent? (§8-12-13)

Name, address and telephone number of child; birth date and grade level of child; and signature of the parent and date of signature.

Where do I submit my notice of intent to homeschool? (§8-12-13)

The letter of intent or Form 4140 should be sent to the principal of the local public school your child would attend.  CHOH suggests parents make a copy of the letter and mail the original certified return receipt requested to insure the school has received the letter of intent.

When can I begin to homeschool my child?

Homeschooling may begin as soon as the signed letter of intent or Form 4140 is sent to the public school.  You are not required to follow the public school calendar.

Do I need to submit any other records?

No.  Because parents are not required to officially enroll and un-enroll students in order to homeschool their child, a birth certificate, proof of residency, or health/immunization records are not required.

How do I know if the school has acknowledged my intent to homeschool? (§8-12-13)

The school and complex area office acknowledge the notice of intent submitted by the parents by writing “acknowledged” on the bottom of the parent’s letter of notification with the signature of the principal and complex area superintendent, and returning the letter to the parent or sending the parents a copy of Form 4140 after it is signed by the principal and complex area superintendent.  Copies of the letter of intent or Form 4140 or  are kept on file at the school and district office.

Who is considered qualified to teach homeschooled children? (§8-12-19)

A parent teaching his/her child at home shall be deemed a qualified instructor regardless of educational background or training.

What are my responsibilities to the Department of Education after I have sent my intent to homeschool? (§8-12-13, §8-12-18)

The parents submitting a notice to homeschool their child shall be responsible for the child’s total educational program including athletics and other extracurricular activities. An annual progress report, showing satisfactory progress in all content areas, shall be submitted at the end of each school year.

Is my child required to participate in annual Hawaii State Assessments? (§8-12-18)

 Test scores shall be required for grades 3, 5, 8 and 10.  A homeschooled child is eligible to participate in the Statewide Testing Program at the local public school.  A parent my elect to arrange for private testing of an equivalent standardized test at the parent’s own expense. The parent may request and the principal may approve other means of evaluation to meet the Statewide Testing Program requirements.

What are appropriate methods to demonstrate my child’s satisfactory progress? (§8-12-18)

Satisfactory progress can be demonstrated by:

  • A score on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test, which demonstrates grade level achievement appropriate to a child’s age;
  • Progress on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year, even if the overall achievement falls short of grade level standards;
  • A written evaluation by a person certified to teach in the State of Hawaii that a child demonstrates appropriate grade level achievement or significant annual advancement commensurate with a child’s abilities;
  • A written evaluation by the parent which shall include a description of the child’s progress in each subject area included in the child’s curriculum, representative samples of the child’s work, and representative tests and assignments including grades for courses if grades are given.

Do I need to re-submit intent to homeschool annually? (§8-12-13)

No.  If the parent has submitted the annual progress report, the letter of intent does not need to be resubmitted.  The only time a new letter of intent to homeschool or a new Form 4140 needs to be resubmitted is when the child transfers from one public school to another, e.g. transitions from elementary to intermediate/middle school or intermediate/middle school to high school, or if the child moves to another neighborhood.

Do I need to submit a curriculum to the Department? (§8-12-15)

Parents are not required to submit their curriculum to the DOE or the public school.  The parent should keep a record of the planned curriculum for the child. The curriculum shall be structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs and abilities of the child.  Refer to the §8-12-15 for more details regarding commencement and ending dates, hours of instruction, subjects areas to be covered, method to determine mastery, and instructional materials.

A principal at the school of record may request to view the curriculum if  the school has reasonable cause to believe that there may be educational neglect or the annual report is not sufficient to show satisfactory progress. (§8-12-17; §8-12-18)

How do I know what to teach my child while homeschooling? (§8-12-15)

The Chapter 12 rule lists general areas of study for both elementary and secondary school in §8-12-15.

Resources describing standards for different subject areas for each grade level are available.  Contact CHOH for more information.

How can I end homeschooling? (§8-12-16)

The parent shall notify the principal if homeschooling is terminated.  The child shall be re-enrolled in the local public school or a licensed private school unless a new alternative educational program is presented within five school days after the termination of homeschooling.

Will my child receive a high school diploma upon completion of completion of homeschooling? (§8-12-20; §8-12-21)

The DOE does not grant course credits for time spent being homeschooled.  A homeschooled student who wants to earn a high school diploma from the local public high school shall attend high school for a minimum of three full years to meet the graduation credit requirements.

However, parents can issue a diploma for their child for high school course work completed at home.

Is there any other way to receive a public high school diploma? (§8-12-21)

A homeschooled student who wants to earn a high school diploma from the community school for adults shall meet the following requirements and must: a) be at least sixteen years of age, except in the case of an emancipated minor; b) have been homeschooled for at least one semester under Hawaii’s homeschooling procedures; and c) attain a satisfactory score on the General Educational Development (GED) test.

What about college? (§8-12-22)

A child who is being homeschooled may participate in any college entrance examination, which is made available to all other students. The principal of the local public high school shall, upon request, supply written acknowledgment that a child has been homeschooled in compliance with the requirements of Chapter 12, Hawaii Administrative Rules.

Will colleges accept a high school diploma issued by the parent?

Because homeschooling is widely recognized as a viable alternative educational option, a high school diploma issued by the parent is accepted at many universities.  In fact, many colleges and universities (even Ivy League schools) actively recruit homeschooled students.


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