You may be considering homeschooling before you ever enroll your firstborn in Kindergarten, or you may be looking for an alternative to a middle school that just isn’t working out. Either way, your biggest question is probably “What do I do first?!” The first thing you do to make your homeschooling legal is to file a Notice of Intent with the Division of Non-public Education. But wait! You may not need to do it today, or maybe you should have done it yesterday. Read on to learn more in part 2 of this 4-part series on keeping your homeschool legal in NC.
Key #1 to legal homeschooling in North Carolina is filing your Notice of Intent!
In this article, you will learn the ins and outs of filing your Notice of Intent with the State of North Carolina to become a legally recognized homeschool!
Before we begin with the when and how to file, let’s talk about what the Notice of Intent (often referred to as the NOI) is.
The Notice of Intent tells the State of North Carolina that you intend to meet the requirement for compulsory education of your children by instructing them at home. Does this mean that you can’t participate in a homeschooling co-op or have your child take an online class? Not at all. Some of the best homeschooling happens when a good dose of life-experience is mixed in. As we saw in the first post of our series, “parents or legal guardians […] determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction, provide academic instruction, and determine additional sources of academic instruction.” (from General Statute 115C-563(a))
You are simply saying that the school in which your child will be enrolled is a homeschool rather than a public or other private school, and that you agree to follow the laws that govern homeschools in our state.
Before we get into my layman’s explanation of how to file, please note my Terms and Conditions, and that you can read the DNPE’s own page on homeschooling for the most complete and accurate information.
1. When to file your Notice of Intent in NC
|You will file your NOI|
|30 days before the oldest child you are homeschooling turns 7 *|
|Immediately before withdrawing a child between the ages of 7 and 16 from public or private school|
|Upon establishing residency in NC if you are homeschooling a child between the ages of 7 and 16|
* Note that DNPE does not accept registrations in May and June, so you need to adjust the target date of registration accordingly. Contact me for help if you’re confused.
If your child is already enrolled in a public or private school in North Carolina but is under age 7, and you wish to begin homeschooling, you do not need to provide proof of opening a homeschool to withdraw them. The school may have something for you to sign, but they should not request anything from DNPE.
If you are withdrawing a child between 7 and 16, you will need to file your Notice of Intent and wait for the email that tells you your NOI has been accepted. You can then print that email and take it to the school as soon as possible to withdraw your student.
2. What you need for filing
First, you will need proof that the parent or guardian designated Chief Administrator of the homeschool has at least a high school diploma. This proof can be a high school transcript, high school diploma, college diploma, or some other evidence of higher education that would have required high school completion. (There is more information on DNPE’s FAQ.) This can take some digging, but once you have it, everything else is very easy. Scan or photograph that document as it is easiest to submit electronically.
Next, you will choose a name for your homeschool. Yes, you get to name your school! It can be pretty exciting, but some find it a little bit stressful because you can not change it once it is filed.
My best advice is to remember that this name will appear on your child’s high school diploma or transcript. A name chosen to be audacious won’t look good in that context. Also, if your child’s last name is Doe and you choose “Doe Academy”, their transcript may stand out to a college admission’s counselor or employer as coming from a homeschool. These days, some colleges are seeking out homeschoolers, but I’d recommend letting your student’s transcript and merits stand on their own without the school’s name being a factor. Other than that, enjoy the process and choose something meaningful to your family! (But avoid certain forbidden words as outlined by DNPE.)
Finally, you need to decide whether your homeschool will be designated as religious or non-religious. People have strong opinions about this, but as far as I know, this is purely for statistical purposes in North Carolina. In some states, like Virginia, your choice of such designation affects how the state follows up with your homeschool. That is not the case in North Carolina. Choose your designation as you see fit.
When you have proof of a high school education, a name, and have considered your religious designation, you are ready to file!
Go to the Division of Non-Public Education’s website and get started!
3. How to maintain your NOI
There are a few more things you should know about your Notice of Intent.
If your homeschool was established for one of your children and you then begin homeschooling another of compulsory age, you DO NOT file another NOI. It is only done once per household. You have opened a homeschool and now your children, along with the children from one other family, can be enrolled, unenrolled, or graduated. When there are no students homeschooling because of graduation or enrolling in another school, you must close your homeschool.
With your newly established login at DNPE, you can update your registration online as you add students, and keep grade levels current.
THIS IS NOT LEGALLY REQUIRED but it does help in general for the state to have current information in order to allocate resources such as driver’s ed.
You MUST keep your address current!
It is a good idea to print the attachment that comes with your email confirmation, laminate it and keep it handy. You can use it for teacher’s discounts at some stores! It will become part of your homeschool record keeping that we’ll talk more about in post #4.
So is it done? Have you filed your Notice of Intent? When you have passed this note-worthy milestone, please send me a Facebook message so I can celebrate with you!
Now let’s move on to the details of those pesky standardized tests.