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 age 6 by December 31 of the school year
Massachusetts does not have a specific statute addressing home schooling. However,
bystatute public school attendance is not required of a child who is being "otherwise
instructed in a manner approved in advance by the superintendent or the school committee."
Required subjects are "orthography, reading, writing, the English language and grammar,
geography, arithmetic, drawing, music, the history and constitution of the United
States, the duties of citizenship, health education, physical education and good behavior."
Public schools must be operated for a minimum of 180 days. However, there is no set
guideline for the number of days of instruction required for home school students.
As a result of the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) in
Care and Protection of Charles, 399 Mass. 324 (1987), which held that the right of parents to educate their children
at home must be reconciled with the state's interest in the education of its citizens,
the standards and rules governing home schools can vary from school district to school
district within the state. The SJC ruled that approval to home school must be obtained
from the local school committee in advance, prior to removal of the child from the
public school. Beyond that requirement, a particular school committee may examine
the competency of the parent to teach the child, but may not require certification
or an advanced degree; the school committee must have access to the textbooks and
lesson plans to be used; it may consider the length of the home school year and the
hours of instruction in each subject; and it may require periodic standardized testing
to ensure educational progress.
See Mass. Gen. Laws. Ann. ch. 71, §1, ch. 76, §1; 603 CMR §§ 8.02, 27.03, 27.04;Care
and Protection of Charles, 399 Mass. 324 (1987)