Filing Your Notice of Intent to Homeschool in North Carolina

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.

Filing Your Notice of Intent 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.

Let’s explore

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.

Next: Key #2 – Administer Annual Standardized Testing

Previous: 3 Keys to Following North Carolina Homeschool Law


49 thoughts on “Filing Your Notice of Intent to Homeschool in North Carolina”

    1. Hi Carly! Kindergarten is not compulsory in NC. The age that you must notify the state one way or the other is 7. So until they are 7, you are free to educate at home as you see fit without any additional rules or conditions.

  1. Hi there. I have a 2nd and 5th grader would I need to submit 2 letter of intent?

    Also, I was told the letter goes to the state of NC not local superintendent. Is that not true?

    1. Hello! Welcome to homeschooling! In NC, you don’t send a letter. The registration is to the state, and it’s done online. Take a look at the links in this article, and use the contact us page if you’d like to set up an appointment to chat about it 🙂

        1. Hi Chrissie!

          I find it’s easiest to correlate the NOI to the birthday. Gather the info you will need to file, and do it online a couple of weeks before the 7th birthday. It only takes a few moments to fill out the info, and you’ll hear back within a couple of days, at most from the state. Note, however, that their online form does not accept NOIs outside of normal business hours.

  2. Sunshine Gunter

    I can’t get to the NOI I keep getting a video that says what I need. Then it try’s to put me on YouTube, I just need to NOI please help!

    1. Hi! Yes, this is new. You have to watch the video all the way through to get the button that allows you to file 🙁 If you try to bypass it, it will just bump you out. I would try clearing browser cache and reload.
      You can file by mail. It takes longer, though.

  3. Danielle Robinson

    I’m planning to homeschool my son this year and he will be starting Kindergarten. I already sent in his stuff to register for public school but I think homeschool is best this year. Do I need to do anything to homeschool him since I already registered him for public school? And he will be turning 7 in April. Do I wait until April to register him for homeschooling? I already homeschool my brothers. So do I just register him with them?

    1. Hello Danielle! You do need to notify the school where he is registered to let them know he won’t be attending. They may ask for an NOI but he does not need to be registered in homeschool at this point (nor should he be.) If the homeschool you are using for your brothers is opened with you as chief administrator, then yes, you would just add your son to that one in March.

      1. Danielle Robinson

        Where can I find the exact curriculum for the things he definitely needs to learn for kindergarten? I want him on track so next year he can transition to public school.

  4. My son just turned 6 years old in June. I have contacted his school to inquire about un-enrolling him. They are requesting a copy of the home school registration and NOI. I did not think this was necessary until the age of 7. They stated that they are requesting this to provide a paper trail of education and to ensure that he would not have to repeat the 1st grade. Is this accurate?

    1. Hi there!
      No, that is not accurate. You *can* file a notice of intent as, technically, your son turns 7 in this school year, but I wouldn’t advise it. Legally, you can absolutely withdraw him any time between now and May without a homeschool NOI. That said, unfortunately, a principal can make placement next year difficult. But it wouldn’t serve the school to place a child a grade behind if they’re ready to move up because it would only cause frustration, and it wouldn’t serve your student to be placed ahead if he went back truly not ready for 2nd grade. So, cross that bridge when you come to it. But for now, do what is best for your child. The school can not legally keep him enrolled at 6 years old if you wish to withdraw him.

  5. Hi Laina!
    I’m new to home schooling and am currently in the research phase. I want to set up a home school at the turn of the year, second semester, for my two children only. They are both 5th graders and are currently attending a public school. The part that I haven’t been able to find a clear answer for is the Chief Administrator position. I do have an Associates Degree, so can I be the Chief Administrator for the home school I set up even though I am the parent or does it need to be someone else? Thank you!

    1. Hello Nadja!

      Yes! Ideally, the Chief Administrator actually is a parent or guardian of the students enrolled ? So you are good to go!

      Good luck! And let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help!

  6. Hi Laina!

    I’m thinking about homeschooling my 4 year old daughter but I’m so confused about the starting age. Do I even need to homeschool her? I will be doing it for a year or so because we are traveling with my husband for his job. Can she start kindergarten at age 7 when we get back? Or will she be put in first grade?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello! I am so sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner. I’m not sure how I missed it.

      In any case, no, you don’t do any registration or anything until she is 7. But if you’re planning on placing her in public/private school when you cet back, placement is at the discretion of the principal. And regardless of what they tell you, you still DO NOT need to file before the 7th birthday. The notice of intent should not have any bearing on placement in school. If you’re planning on homeschooling after your return, then just teach what you’d like, and register and place at YOUR discretion at age 7.

      Hope that helps!

  7. What are the standardized testing requirements for kindergarten homeschool ??

    If we decide to go to public school for 1st grade but have homeschooled for kindergarten how does the school know they have completed kindergarten if there is no NOI filed?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Emily!
      Well, officially, they don’t know. Grade placement into public school is always up to the principal of that school, so what they may ask for varies even within a district. Some may ask for a standardized test, but there are no testing requirements from the state, and no really good tests for a child of that age anyway. The only way to find out if your child will go into 1st grade or be asked to repeat kindergarten is to discuss and negotiate with the principal.

  8. Hi,

    We are considering homeschool but are already registered for this upcoming school year. Is it too late to begin homeschooling this school year? When do I need to file my letter if intent by? Our school year is a week and a half away! First time homeschool Mom, any advice would be great!

    1. Hi there! You can file an NOI any time except in May and June. So go ahead and do it on Monday! You should get your response by Tuesday, withdraw your kids from school on Wednesday, and there you go!?

    1. Hi there! Yes, you can request the records. I don’t really know that having them will do anything for you, but it can’t hurt.

  9. So my child is 5 already in public school we would like to pull him and homeschool him do we need to set up a home school through the department of education or can we just pull him out?

    1. Hi Cassie!
      No filing for a 5-year-old. You can just withdraw. The school, however, might not be aware of the law, so if they push back and say you need proof of a homeschool, direct them to the FAQ on the DNPE site.

  10. Hi, My son turns 7 tomorrow and I have not filed the letter of intent just yet (working on it now) I was under the impression that it was fine to do so but now I am worried I’ve waited to late? He has been homeschooled up until now.

  11. Hi. My question is…I opened a home school with the state at the start of 2021 school, I currently have my own two children 7 & 6 attending. I would like to add my niece to the classroom, she is 6 turning 7 in April 2022. I have gone to my classroom portal with the state and added a student to my attendance. I am confused about this as the system just let me add a number and gender, not a name or or any demographics concerning the child. Does each individual student get registered or is the school itself technically the only thing I must register. Does my brother, her father, register her a home school student and how does he elect that his daughter is attending a home school that already is registered? TIA!

    1. Hello Aimee!
      You are correct that the school is really what is registered with the state. You officially begin homeschooling your niece when you begin keeping records for her. What makes her part of your school, and not one that her parents registered is where the records are kept. No other paperwork needed unless you and your brother want to draw up some sort of contract of expectations and any funds changing hands. Your niece technically has a couple of months before she needs to be “official” though. I would go back into your portal and remove her (uncheck her age/gender) and then re-add in April. Then, in April, she’s officially in your homeschool because you begin keeping attendance and doing annual standardized testing for her. Your brother doesn’t have to do anything but remove her from the school she is in if she is currently in one. And if he does that before she turns 7, he doesn’t need any documentation from you. If it’s after she’s turned 7, then he’ll need to give the school your homeschool name and number.

  12. Leah Rodriguez

    I absolutely love everything you said in this post! Preschool is right around the corner for my kids and I’m determined to homeschool, but it’s almost terrifying thinking of having the responsibility of teaching my children everything they need to learn. I struggle with coming up with creative ways to teach my kids, but I’ve been finding that I don’t have to bend over backwards to teach them. Everything you said is so encouraging to me and it reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect in doing this. Thank you!

  13. Hi, I just got to know that, I have my kids already going to public school and want to homeschool them this year. Is there any legal format of letter to give to school principal to remove them from school. Also in next year if they’re to return to public school, how should it be done, where to register them. The current school is not their base school and when they return to public school back I would like them to go to the same school.

    1. Hello! If your students are 7 or older, you must file a Notice of Intent with the state, not the school, and then take the proof of that filing to the school to withdraw your students. If they are not yet 7, just call the school and notify them you are withdrawing. As for returning to public school, every school and district is different as to how they handle placement and registration. There is no state standard, so you’ll need to contact that school. I will say that if you are in Wake County, you’d have to go through the process of getting them into their current school again because there’s no guarantee you’d get a spot there again.

  14. Hello and thank you for all of the wonderful information and resources you have provided. I was just beginning to file my notice of intent, however, after watching the new informational video that states you must file the notice of intent 5 days prior to beginning your homeschool; I am confused if this is 5 days before you are prepared to begin and provide information or 5 days before you are intending to begin the first day of class. Any information would be appreciated, thank you!

    1. Hi! It is my understanding that the intent of this “5 days before” caveat was to discourage families from opening homeschools “just in case” they would want to use it later. During the pandemic, many homeschools were opened while the students stayed in public schools waiting to see what happened, and that’s not the intent of the law. So, basically, if you know for sure you are homeschooling, and you otherwise meet the criteria (i.e. you have a student between 7 and 17 years of age), then you can go ahead and file whenever you’re ready.

  15. How can I get a copy of my intent to home school my kids the college my daughter will be attending is asking for it

    1. Hi there! You can visit the DNPE website linked in this post and login to your portal. If your homeschool is already closed, DNPE can give you the records to verify it was open and valid while your student was in high school, but you might have to call or email them.

  16. I had no idea I needed to file a NOI. I unenrolled my kid from a charter school using a form provided by the private homeschooling we have now been using for a year. I am worried that this last year doesn’t count. What should I do? Thanks in advance for the guidance!

    1. Hello! The best thing to do is register and get legal from this point on. It’s not that the last year doesn’t “count” – nothing can take away the learning your students did – you just don’t have a legal record of it. File your NOI and start keeping NC records (attendance and standardized tests are all that are required, really) from here on out.
      What homeschool program are you using?

    1. Hi Ronald! Unless you found a broken link on this site (please let me know if so!), I would suggest contacting the Department of Non-Public Education directly. Their phone number is 984-236-0110.
      fyi: Their website only takes submissions during business hours and not on weekends or holidays. I don’t know why, but that’s how they set it up. So if you’re trying in the evening or on a weekend, you may want to try between 9am and 5pm on a weekday. Good luck!

  17. Hello I have a son who turns 7 Sept 1. He was not able to start school because of the Aug 31 cut off. As far as home schooling when do I have to enroll him? Can I wait until after he turns 7 or before since the schoolyear has started before he turns 7? Also my HS diploma has my maiden name. will that be a problem?

    1. Hello there! So he turns 7 next September? You don’t have to file an NOI then until next July or August. If he just turned 7, then go ahead and file now. And no, a high school diploma with a maiden name shouldn’t be a problem.

  18. I will be home schooling my 17 year old grandson this year. I will be the chief administrator and the sole instructor. Can I file the NOI or does my daughter need to file under her name?

    1. Hi Marcia! This does not constitute legal advice, but it is my understanding that you can only file a notice of intent for your own children or those for whom you are legal guardian. So your daughter would need to file, but you can still be the primary teacher. You can check with DNPE to be sure.

  19. My child is 6, he will be 7 on 9/30/23 and school starts 8/28/23. The video you are forced to watch states I must wait 5 days before I begin homeschooling to submit NOI. Does this mean I submit NOI 5 days before school starts? Or can I submit NOI now?

    1. Hi there! So, if your child was in school previously, you should submit now so they can be withdrawn. I mean, technically, they don’t neeeeed an NOI if they haven’t actually turned 7, but a month isn’t a big deal for a difference in registration. If they’re not currently enrolled in a public, charter, or private school, then you can choose whatever date up to the birthday.

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