In response to your request for a survey of state laws regarding the requirements
for home schooling in the states in the Boston Region, we provide below a summary
of the applicable laws for each New England state. If you have any questions about
how these laws would apply to the facts of any specific claim for child's benefits,
please let us know.
Attendance at school is required for persons who have “completed six (6) years of
life on or before September 1 of any school year and has not completed sixteen (16)
years of life.” By statute, attendance is excused for a child who is attending “a
course of at-home instruction approved by the school committee of the town where the
child resides.” A proposed home schooling program must be presented to the local school
committee for approval.
At-home instruction will be approved when the period of attendance is “substantially
equal” to that required by law in public schools (generally five and one half hours
a day for at least 180 days). An attendance register must be kept. Required subjects
are reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, history of the United States, history
of Rhode Island, principles of American Government, health and physical education.
Also, beginning with fourth grade, the history and government of Rhode Island must
be taught. In high school, the U.S. Constitution and Rhode Island Constitution must
be taught. An assessment of progress may be required, and the parent and the local
school committee must agree on a way of evaluating the child's progress in all required
See R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 16-19-1, 16-19-2, 16-22-4; Rhode Island Department of Education
website at http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE16/16-19/INDEX.HTM .