ENRICHri strives to distribute accurate information about homeschooling in general and specifically in Rhode Island. We do not link to, nor refer anyone to the RIDE homeschool FAQs page. While some of the FAQs are appropriate, informative and useful there are many points that are at best misleading and in part outright false. RIDE maintains two almost identical FAQs (points page on their website as well as a PDF), our stance is focused on their current PDF).
ENRICHri has approached RIDE multiple times, over the course of our ten years, to ask that they update the misinformation to reflect Rhode Island laws accurately. They do not refuse; they simply do not respond.
These are the changes that ENRICHri has recently recommended to RIDE in order to be a resource that we can feel comfortable pointing potential or new homeschoolers to.
Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The State Department of Education does not directly supervise home instruction. In Rhode Island, approval of home instruction occurs at the local school district level. If you are thinking of homeschooling your child, please call your local school superintendent’s office for information.
The information contained in this document is meant to give a simple, general overview of the process of home instruction in Rhode Island. This document is not intended to provide legal advice.
Specific questions on home instruction should be directed to your local school department.
If I want to homeschool my child, do I need to have a teaching certificate or any other certificate or special qualifications?
No, you only have to show that you are able to provide “thorough and efficient” instruction.
Do I need to notify the local district of my intention to homeschool?
Yes. You will need to file your Letter of Intent to homeschool with your district superintendent. Although you do need approval from your district to homeschool, you may start homeschooling as soon as you send your Letter of Intent.
What subjects am I required to teach?
State law requires that you teach reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, history of the United States, history of Rhode Island, civics, health and physical education.
What curriculum outline do I follow?
You may copy the public school curriculum or you may design your own curriculum. There are many websites and reference books that provide guidance for homeschoolers. The Rhode Island library system may have some of those resources. R.I. Basic Education Program Regulations may also be helpful to you, as they include a framework for a comprehensive curriculum that is used in the public schools. The BEP may be found at 200-RICR-20-10-1 and the section on curriculum is §1.2.1
Where do I get textbooks?
Local school districts must loan certain textbooks, including e-books, in English/language arts, history/social studies, science, math, and modern foreign languages, as well as texts for some other subject areas. The text books available for loan under the “textbook loan program” are on a list published annually by the Commissioner of Education. You are responsible for the purchase of other instructional materials needed for your child’s home instruction program.
How many hours a day do I need to homeschool?
The period of attendance must be substantially equal to that required in public schools. School districts in Rhode Island are currently required to provide a minimum of one thousand eighty (1,080) school hours during each school year.
What information do I need to keep track of?
You must keep attendance records .
What about testing?
You may choose standardized testing as your method of evaluation but you are not required to do so. This testing may be done at your local school (contact your school district for arrangements) or privately at home via testing service companies like http://www.setontesting.com/.
To whom do I submit the attendance records and evaluations of my child’s progress?
Annual reports should be submitted to your district.
Can my child take part in academic and extra-curricular activities at school?
The Commissioner of Education has encouraged all school districts to allow participation in academic, extra-curricular and inter-scholastic activities on a space available basis, no cost to the district or school basis. However, each school committee has authority to decide whether or not to allow a homeschooled child to participate in public school programs and public school extra-curricular activities. Additional requirements must be met by children who wish to participate in Rhode Island Interscholastic League athletic programs.
Does my child receive a diploma at the end of the 12th grade?
Yes. While your school district will not issue a diploma or transcript, you as the parent will issue these documents. While not required your child may take the G.E.D. test to receive a high school equivalency diploma. There are various resources available to assist homeschoolers in the creation of transcripts.
Can a home-schooled student go to college after completion of a program of home instruction?
Yes. All colleges actively recruit public, private, and homeschooled students. You should research the admission requirements at the colleges you are interested in.
If my child has special needs or an IEP, will the district assist me in meeting those needs?
If your child is eligible and you choose to continue special education services, you should discuss this with the Special Education Office of your local school district to determine how these needs will be met.
Does home instruction have to start in September, or can it start at any point in the year?
It is not required that home instruction start in September, but the duration of the home program must be substantially equivalent to the amount of time that students are required to attend in the public schools.
Which office in my local district should I call for more information?
For general information, call the Superintendent’s Office at your local school department. For information on home instruction for a child with special education needs, call the Special Education Office at your local school department.
What if my local School Committee denies approval of my home instruction plan?
The school committee’s decision may be appealed to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Ken Wagner, 255 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903.
Are there groups that I can contact for additional information and/or support?
For more information, please call the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Legal Office at 401-222-8979 or your local school department.
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