With more than 38,000 students being homeschooled in Arizona, this parent-led, privately funded education at home model has proven to be an effective option for many families across the state.
Perhaps you’re considering homeschooling your child. We’ve put together answers to ten frequently asked questions to help you as research and learn more.
#1 – What is homeschooling?
Arizona state law defines a homeschool
Arizona Revised Statutes §15-802 G 2
“Homeschool means a nonpublic school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian, or other person who has custody of the child or nonpublic instruction provided in the child’s home.”
Homeschoolers are parents or guardians who assume full responsibility for educating their children at home and must provide instruction in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, science, and social studies pursuant to ARS §15-802.
There are six general classifications of student in Arizona: Public School, Charter School, Virtual Charter School, Private School, Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA contract student), and Homeschool.
Especially for at-home education options, there can often be confusion about whether a student is a homeschooler. While the schoolwork may take place at home, neither virtual charter school students nor ESA contract students are classified as homeschoolers according to Arizona Revised Statutes. Homeschooling is a legally defined option that is distinct from all other education options in Arizona.
Arizona Revised Statutes §15-802 (a) states: “Every child between the ages of six and sixteen years shall attend a school and shall be provided instruction in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science. The person who has custody of the child shall choose a public, private or charter school or a homeschool as defined in this section to provide instruction or shall sign a contract to participate in an Arizona empowerment scholarship account pursuant to section 15-2402.”
In the infographic to the left, we give a brief overview of each of the Arizona Education Options and the student classifications available in our state.
Learn more at AFHE.ORG/AZ-LAW
#2 – What are the advantages of homeschooling?
Homeschooling has many benefits including the following:
- Parents are able to tailor a course of study to their child’s individual abilities, learning style, needs, interests, and future goals.
- The flexibility to customize the pace at which the child moves through material is beneficial for concept mastery.
- The one-on-one tutorial style of learning is highly effective.
- Parents are able to choose the worldview through which their children are educated.
- Learning together provides an even greater opportunity for building strong family relationships.
- Parents have the opportunity to address character issues consistently.
- Students often have more time to pursue areas of interest.
- Class sizes are MUCH smaller.
- High school students can get a jumpstart on college education or career preparation.
Homeschooling is more than an education option. It is a lifestyle of learning and discovery!
#3 – What’s required to homeschool in Arizona?
COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE AGE
Ages 6 to 16. Parents may elect to delay formal education until their child is 8 years old by noting so on the affidavit (must still file the affidavit at age 6).
No minimum days required. Attendance tracking not required.
At least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, science, and social studies. Parents select and purchase the curriculum and resources of your choice. Homeschooling allows you to move through material at a pace that works best for your child, and to customize the topics taught within each subject area.
Submit a notarized Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool with proof of birth to the County School Superintendent’s office within 30 days of starting to homeschool (or within 30 days of your child’s 6th birthday if you started homeschooling earlier). The affidavit is filed once, not annually.
RECORD KEEPING / REPORTING
None required. Parents are responsible for creating their child’s high school transcript and should keep records for 9th-12th grades to calculate GPA and complete the transcript.
None required. There are a number of private testing services that homeschool families can utilize, if desired. Read more in our testing FAQ.
Five Steps to Filing the Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool
- Download and fill out the affidavit
- Get it notarized
- Submit proof of birth with the affidavit
- Mail or hand deliver the affidavit and proof of birth to the County School Superintendent
- Get started!
Enjoy the learning adventure with your kids.
#4 – How do we get started?
Homeschooling is as unique as each family that embarks upon this journey. Your homeschool is going to look different than other families’. It may take some trial and error to get into a routine that works well for you and your children.
Here are some things that you can do to help you have success as you get started.
- Read books about homeschooling.
- Familiarize yourself with Arizona homeschool law.
- Find a homeschool support group in your area.
- Talk to experienced homeschooling parents.
- File an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool.
- Select and purchase your curriculum and resources.
- Set goals for the year.
- Get organized. Organize your home, your supplies, and your schedule.
- Be willing to adapt as needed. Expect there to be a learning curve for you and your kids.
- Attend the AFHE Homeschool Convention in July.
If you’re transitioning from public school to homeschool, you’ll find some very practical encouragement about what to expect in this helpful article by Laura Gadbery.
Ten Things You Might Experience Transitioning from School to Homeschool
#5 – What does it cost?
The cost of homeschooling is as varied as the individual families who teach their children at home. It depends on a number of factors including:
- The curriculum and resources you choose
- How many and what types of extracurricular activities your child participates in
- Field trips and enrichment activities you choose to do
- If you decide to have your child take a standardized test
Homeschooling does not have to be expensive, and it is a worthwhile investment in your child.
We are often asked if there are tax credits or funding for homeschooling. We have answered that question in this article: Do Homeschoolers Get a Tax Credit?
#6 – Where do I find curriculum?
There is an abundance of curriculum and resources available to homeschooling today. Attending AFHE’s annual Homeschool Convention is a great way to view and shop for a wide variety of curriculum and resources in person all in one place.
You can research on the internet, talk to other homeschooling parents and support group leaders, and read reviews and books on this topic. A couple of recommendations:
Cathy Duffy Reviews, cathyduffyreviews.com
The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles by Carol Barnier (available through Amazon)
In addition, Arizona is blessed to have a local resource center in Phoenix that has a bookstore with new and used curriculum. Their knowledgeable staff can answer questions and provide direction on choosing curriculum.
Covenant Home School Resource Center, chsrc.org
IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
Identifying your child’s learning style can help you choose curriculum that works best for him or her. There are a number of books on the market that can give you insight in this area. Two examples are:
Demystifying Learning Styles: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Tyler Hogan, Bright Ideas Press
The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias (available on Amazon)
#7 – What about graduation?
The homeschooling parent is responsible for creating and maintaining their child’s high school transcript and issuing a diploma. Students who are homeschooled through high school are able to successfully go on to college, the workplace, and the military.
HELPFUL ARTICLES AND RESOURCES
Homeschool Transcripts, More Important Than Ever by Colene Lewis
Diploma Equivalency in Arizona by Tom Lewis
The High School Handbook: Junior and Senior High at Home by Mary Schofield (Amazon)
HSLDA: Homeschooling through High School
NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute)
AFHE Graduation Ceremony
Each spring (usually the end of May), AFHE hosts a beautiful cap-and-gown graduation ceremony for Arizona homeschool students graduating from high school at home.
It is a special celebration of an important milestone and includes a commencement speaker, musical performances, senior class address, diploma presentation, photos of each graduate, and more. The registration window is mid-November through the end of February. LEARN MORE
#8 – What about sports?
Arizona Revised Statutes §15-802.01 states that a homeschooled child who resides within the attendance area of a public school shall be allowed to try out for interscholastic activities (such as sports) on behalf of the public school in the same manner as a pupil who is enrolled in that school. Parents who choose this avenue should familiarize themselves with the policies of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA).
There are a variety of opportunities available to homeschooled students within the homeschool community and in the private sector as well, including competitive athletics programs run by homeschoolers for homeschoolers, club ball organizations, programs offered through city parks and recreation departments, and more. One example of a competitive sports opportunity for Arizona homeschoolers is EVAC Sports.
#9 – What if my child is struggling or gifted?
Homeschooling can work really well for children who are gifted learners or who have special learning needs or unique learning challenges of all types. Parents can offer their children individualized education, flexibility, encouragement, and support. AFHE is building a SPECIAL LEARNERS RESOURCES page on our website and we also hold special learners events for parents periodically.
#10 – What about socialization?
Socialization is defined as “to make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.” Many homeschooling families have discovered that healthy socialization takes place when children are exposed to people of all ages in various settings, rather than being limited to a group of peers all about the same age. Children can learn to socialize in everyday activities such as a trip to the grocery store or library, visits with grandparents, play dates with friends, support group activities, park days, and so on. More importantly, children often receive their most valuable socialization in the nurturing environment of home and family.
Arizona has a vibrant, active homeschool community with many opportunities for socialization. One of the biggest challenges families encounter is dealing with the abundance of activities available. Parents should look for activities that enhance the homeschool experience without leading to the frenzied distraction of too many outside endeavors. Learning to say “no” to the good and the better helps a family leave room for the best.
We’re here to help!
If you have questions about homeschooling in Arizona, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are homeschooling parents ourselves and we are here to help.
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