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Massachusetts law about home schooling

A compilation of laws, cases, and web sources on teaching your children at home.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

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 case law

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 G. L. c. 76, s. 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. 

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."
Mass.Gen.L. ch., 76, § 1

Web sources

Advocates for Home Education in MassachusettsAHEM 
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.

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 Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators, MassHOPE    
MassHOPE assists parents in understanding and fulfilling the homeschooling laws of Massachusetts. We support and encourage homeschooling families through various activities and events including our annual convention, used curriculum sale, graduation, and also through a network of support groups, and communications such as our MassHOPE Messenger, The Voice of Hope, and legislative alerts as needed.

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

Teaching & learning during COVID-19, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
An abundance of resources for ALL online students.

Print sources

Municipal law and practice (Mass. practice v.18B) § 22.8 (5th ed.) Approval of private schools, home schooling

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: October 1, 2020
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