Setting up a home school in Kentucky for the first time might seem overwhelming, but it really is not as complicated as it might seem. Here is some information to help you get started.

Understand the Current Laws

The first step in setting up a home school is to understand the applicable state laws. This will help you can ensure that your school meets the basic requirements. The Kentucky Department of Education offers a Kentucky Homeschool Information Packet which can help, and this article gives an overview. Laws can change at any time though, so it is important to stay up to date and verify the information for yourself each year.

Send a Letter of Intent

Once you are ready to officially get started homeschooling, you will need to send a letter to the director of pupil personnel in your district notifying him that your child will be homeschooled. The letter will need to state the following: child's name, age and grade level; where the home school will take place; the name and address of each parent/teacher; and the fact that you intend to homeschool for the year, signed and dated. There is a sample letter in the packet mentioned above.

This will need to be done annually within ten days of the start of the school year. The purpose of the letter is to notify, not to ask permission. Once you deliver the letter, you are now officially homeschooling.

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Follow the Basic Education Requirements

You must ensure that your school year includes the same amount of instruction time as the public school in your district. The state requires schools to provide a minimum of 185 days or the equivalent of 177 six-hour days of instruction, but some districts require more. This does not mean that your school has to be in session on the exact same days as the public schools. You must keep accurate attendance records.

School must be taught in English and should cover at least the following core subjects: reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, mathematics, and civics. You are required to keep records of your child's progress and to create a report card at the same intervals as the public schools. The Kentucky Department of Education recommends that you also keep a portfolio of his best work in each subject.

Although you will not be required to submit your records to anyone, the district's director of pupil personnel has the legal right to inspect your records if there is any concern about your child's attendance. If he asks to inspect your records, you have the right to meet with him in a neutral place at a scheduled time rather than allowing him into your home unannounced.

How to Get Started Homeschooling in Kentucky
Credit: Dawn Michaels

A few of my daughter's home school textbooks

Select a Homeschool Curriculum

Once you understand what you are required to do, you will need to select a curriculum for your child. There are countless options, and you will need to figure out what will work best for your child. Several companies offer complete curriculum, but they tend to be expensive and some families find that they do not offer enough flexibility. Other families appreciate the ease of finding their curriculum in one place. Those on a budget can search eBay or Amazon for used textbooks and workbooks similar to what the public schools use and then look online or visit the library for supplementary materials. You are never locked in to a curriculum and can make adjustments at any time.

Get Answers and Support

If you have questions, the Kentucky Department of Education is a good resource. Some families also join a local homeschool group, where they can find support.