If you are considering starting a homeschool in North Carolina, you are not alone. With the government closures, attendance limits, and uncertainty about whether masks or vaccines will be mandatory, many people are choosing to homeschool. In fact, ‘The North State Journal‘ reports that the filings for new homeschools had nearly tripled in 2020 saying “The state received 10,281 Notice of Intent (NOI) filings between July 1 and Aug. 24; whereas, 3,529 were received in 2019. The number of requests to reopen a homeschool more than doubled as well. The Department of Non-Public Instruction (DNPE), which is within the Department of Administration (DOA), has received 767 reopen requests for 2020 versus 321 for 2019.”
So, what does it take to start a homeschool?
You need to send in a ‘Notice of Intent’ with the Department of Non-Public Education. You can do this on their website by clicking the link above. To complete this form you will need:
- A high school diploma or it’s equivalent (like a GED)
- a school name which does not include the words ‘the’ or ‘a’, and does not contain your curriculum name.
- and children between the ages of 7-18. Children younger than 7 and older than 18 do not fall under the compulsory attendance laws in the state of North Carolina and therefore can be taught without being enrolled in a homeschool.
You do not need to start your homeschool until you are ready to teach your children, but you cannot remove your children from the school system until 5 days AFTER you have filed your ‘Notice of Intent’. It is very easy to fill out the forms online, but I suggest having everything ready first.
For me, filing was a very simple process, the only hard part was deciding on a name. We decided to go with something short and sweet ‘Jackson Christian Academy’. And don’t worry about if the name is taken, I listened to an employee of DNPS give a lecture and she said that there are quite a few schools with shared names! They sort them out by county and teacher/parent name.
Do I have to provide instruction myself?
One wonderful thing about homeschooling is that it can be made to fit nearly any family. The parents do not have to provide instruction themselves, but filing to become a homeschool gives you the liberty to hire your own online or in-person teacher or tutor and accredit the classes yourself. There are so many curriculums to choose from as well (which I will get to in a future article) like online classes, full student-taught courses, rigid schedules or schedule free, literature and textbook approaches, and many more varieties.
How much is homeschooling like other schools?
Homeschooling can be very similar or entirely different to public and private school settings. This is all up the parent/administrator. The clearest difference to me is that, with a homeschool, only two families can be taught in one school. So I could teach my children and somebody else’s children, but I could not teach more than that and still be considered a ‘homeschool’.
Homeschoolers do often provide ‘co-op’ education where you can gather several families and trade teaching topics you are good at, or study together, or dive into a particular topic, but this is usually a short term thing and is not the same as enrolling your child in another school.
What is required of me if I do start a homeschool?
The requirements for a homeschool in NC are very simple:
- Keep an attendance record, and provide teaching to your children during at least 9 months of the year.
- Administer a yearly standardized test to your students (and keep the results on file). I use the CAT test that can be done by mail or online. I use this website to order my tests from, but they are available through different sources as well.
- Keep a record of any vaccines your child may have, or a no-vaccine form.
In NC the content of your education is not regulated, but I do suggest you try to keep the education at least on the level of what the public schools are offering or what colleges may require at enrollment.
Also, be sure to keep the DNPE updated when your school closes officially. You do not have to open and close your school every year, nor do you have to send any notice of beginning or ending your school year.
Thank you for reading this article, and I hope it answers any questions you may have had about starting your homeschool. I have tried to include any links that may be helpful in the words that they are associated with. I do not receive any commission or kickback from any of these links and this page is not sponsored.