Massachusetts law about home schooling

Laws, cases, and web sources on teaching your children at home.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 71, § 1, § 2, and § 3 Subjects
The subjects that must be taught apply to schools and home schooling according to Care & Protection of Charles, also listed under cases below.

MGL c. 76, § 1 Requirements and exceptions
Provides an exception from mandatory school attendance for "a child who is being otherwise instructed in a manner approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee."

Selected cases

Brunelle v Lynn Public Schools, 428 Mass. 512 (1998)
Home visits are not presumptively essential to protect the State interest in the approval of a home education plan under MGL c.76, § 1, and may not be required without parental consent as a condition of approval of such a plan.

Care & Protection of Charles, 399 Mass. 324 (1987)
Clearly states that parents may educate their own children with approval from the school. Provides guidance in what schools may consider when deciding to grant approval. Cites MGL c.71, §§ 1, 2, and 3  for standards on subjects which must be taught in schools as also applying to home education plans.

Goodall v. Worcester School Committee, 405 F.Supp.3d 253 (2019)
Under Massachusetts law, a parent may choose between lawful alternative forms of education by enrolling her child in a public day school, another day school approved by the school committee, or by seeing that a child is "otherwise instructed in a manner approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee." MGL c.76, § 1.

Web sources

Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, AHEM.
Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM) is a nonprofit, independent, grassroots, volunteer-run, educational organization that gathers and disseminates information about homeschooling in Massachusetts through education, advocacy, and events. We believe that informed and active homeschoolers are their own best advocates in maintaining the right to independently homeschool.

Home schooling, Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education.
A summary of requirements for home schooling.  Each school committee in Massachusetts has a policy on approval of home schooling plans; details are available from the school district.

Massachusetts Home Learning Association, MHLA.
Since 1987, MHLA has worked with homeschooling families, districts, and the State to assist in deliberations about important homeschool policy issues.

Massachusetts homeschooling laws, Time4learning.
Provides basic information on homeschooling law in Massachusetts at no cost. Site also offers paid services. 

A parent’s guide to choosing the right online program, Int’l Assoc. of K-12 Online Learning.
Suggested by the Mass. Department of Education, this guide will assist parents in understanding what online learning is and in selecting the right online school, program or course.

Print sources

Municipal law and practice, 5th ed. (Mass Practice v.18B), Thomson/West, 2006 with supplement. Section 22.8 Approval of private schools, home schooling.

School law in Massachusetts, 4th ed., MCLE, 2022 with supplements.  Section 1.8, Home schooling.

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Last updated: June 24, 2024

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