Parents in Hawaii choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons: religious beliefs, dissatisfaction with the quality of public education, having a child with special learning needs, etc. And homeschooling seems to produce good results: According to the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschooled students score 15-30 percentile points higher than public-school students on standardized tests.
According to Honolulu Magazine’s 2009 article “Meet the Homeschoolers,” there are around 7,000 homeschooled students in Hawaii that the Department of Education knows about. An estimated 2,000 more are being homeschooled “off the record.”
If you want to homeschool your child, you’ll be happy to know that Hawaii’s Department of Education (DOE) makes it pretty easy to do so. By law, students in Hawaii must attend school starting at the age of 6 (kindergarten is optional), and they must continue attending until they turn 16. There are, however, exceptions that can be made to this rule. The DOE’s Ch. 12: Compulsory Attendance Exceptions lists these exceptions– sections 8-12-1 through 8-12-4 and 8-12-13 through 8-12-22 refer to homeschooling in particular.
How To Start Homeschooling In Hawaii
You may start homeschooling your child at any time of the year. To get started, submit one of the following to your local public school’s principal:
- Form 4140 (“Exceptions to Compulsory Education”) – When completing this form, skip section A, as it does not pertain to homeschooling.
- A letter stating your intent to homeschool your child. The letter must contain:
- Child’s name
- Telephone number
- Child’s birthdate
- Child’s grade level
- Parent’s signature
Once a year, you’ll need to submit a progress report to your local public school’s principal using one of the following methods:
- Standardized test (either the public school’s test, or a comparable one administered at your expense)
- Certified teacher’s evaluation
- Written report of progress in each subject, including work samples
Please Be Aware …
There are a couple of things to be aware of before you start homeschooling your child in Hawaii:
- Unlike some states in the U.S., Hawaii’s DOE does not allow homeschooled students to attend classes or participate in extracurricular activities at public schools. They can, however, participate in standardized testing and college-entrance testing (such as SAT and ACT).
- If you homeschool your child throughout high school, they will not earn a high school diploma. To get a diploma, they will have to attend one of the DOE’s Community Schools for Adults or a similar program. Some colleges and universities will not accept students without a high school diploma. The University of Hawaii at Manoa requires one of the following:
- A high school diploma
- At least 24 transferable credits at a UH community college