Q: What is the best way to contact the NC Department of Administration's Division of Non-Public Education?
As a precautionary measure in response to COVID-19, the Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) staff will only be available via phone and email during this time. To contact our office, please call 984-236-0110. Please leave a message and your call will be returned within 24-hours. You may also send an email to DNPE.General.Inquiries@doa.nc.gov, and someone will respond within 24-hours.
Q: When can I file a notice of intent or send a request to re-open my home school?
New notice of intents (NOIs) to operate a home school or requests to re-open a home school are accepted July 1st - April 30th annually.
Q: Will record review meetings be conducted during the 2021-2022 school term?
In-person record review meetings will be suspended during the pandemic. DNPE will notify home schools via email requesting the option to conduct a virtual record review meeting or to submit records via email or mail.
Q: Must student academic and attendance records be obtained from the previously attended school?
Student records are not needed from the conventional school which the student previously attended. The only student record needed to begin the new home school is the student's immunization record.
Please note: If the student completes courses at a high school and/or community college, the chief administrator should request a transcript to merge the data with the home school transcript for graduation credit/course requirements.
Q: Who designs, provides & retains the student transcript for home schooled students?
The chief administrator of the home school must design and maintain all transcripts for all students in the home school, specifically those who graduate from the home school.
Whenever a former home schooled student is presented for enrollment at a conventional school (public or non-public) or college, that educational institution will probably request a student transcript/record of grade levels successfully completed, subjects taught, semester grades, nationally standardized test scores, etc., while enrolled in the home school.
All such information is provided solely by the chief administrator of the home school -- not by state or local government officials. North Carolina law states that a home school is a non-public school. When a student successfully completes his/her non-public school's academic requirements for high school graduation, the non-public school itself (not a government agency) maintains academic records of the student's high school academic work and issues student transcripts and graduation verifications in future years as requested. State government provides no student graduation verifications for non-public school graduates (whether from a private K-12 or a home school) nor does it maintain or keep student academic records or transcripts -- only records concerning the legal existence of such schools.
For this reason, chief administrators of home schools, which have graduated high school seniors, are strongly encouraged to permanently retain student transcripts reflecting all the student's grade 9-12 academic work. The transcript must include:
- The home school name, address and telephone number
- Social Security number of student
- Titles of subjects completed by the student by school year (for each of those four years)
- The numerical (or letter) grade and unit credit earned for each subject
- Annual nationally standardized test scores
- The month and year of high school graduation
- Signature of the chief administrator and date of signature
Please note: If a transcript is used for identification purposes at the NC DMV, the transcript must have everything listed here for the transcript to be accepted for identification purposes.
If the student is academically gifted and has successfully mastered some traditional high school level courses prior to grade 9, those courses should be so noted on the transcript as having been taken in grade 8, 7, etc.
Remember that the student may need a copy of his/her high school transcript many years after graduation - perhaps even after the home school administrator has deceased. Copies of transcripts should be maintained indefinitely.
Q: How can a sample attendance recordkeeping form be acquired?
The form is available for downloading.
Q: Does the North Carolina General Statutes require that non-public school student attendance records be made available for inspection by DNPE?
Yes. G.S. 115C-564 requires home schools to elect to operate under either Part 1 or Part 2 of Article 39 and then to meet the requirements of that elected Part (with a few stated exceptions).
In addition, G.S. 115C-549 and G.S. 115C-557 both require the making and maintaining of nationally standardized test result records for each enrolled student. G.S. 115C-553, G.S. 115C-561 and G.S. 115C-563(b) empowers DNPE to ". . . inspect certain records under this Part . . ." (implying more than one, but not all three types).
G.S. 130A-155(b) empowers state and local health inspectors to review the student immunization records.
The inspection of home school student attendance records is vital in determining if the home school is "operating on a regular schedule . . . during at least nine calendar months" as required by G.S. 115C-548 and G.S. 115C-556.
Q: Must home schools use the student attendance recordkeeping form provided by DNPE?
No. The law does not mandate that a particular form be used for student attendance recordkeeping.
Q: Who provides verification of student enrollment, attendance and graduation from a home school?
The chief administrator of the home school. No state or local government agency maintains or provides such information.
If the home school administrator is no longer able to provide this verification, the home school graduate should consider either obtaining a GED or enrolling in the North Carolina Adult High School Diploma Program administered through a local NC Community College.
Q: Are home schools empowered by state law to issue diplomas to post high school age students?
The North Carolina home school laws apply only to schools enrolling students of compulsory attendance age. Post high school age persons (anyone 18 and over) may, however, obtain their high school diplomas either through the North Carolina Community College adult high school diploma program or through its GED program.
Q: Are there any high school graduation ceremonies or other related events conducted honoring home school seniors?
Not by the State of North Carolina; however, privately sponsored events are held. North Carolinians for Home Education maintains information about such events. North Carolinians for Home Education can also be reached at (919) 790-1100.
Q: Does the State of North Carolina emboss its official state seal on home school diplomas?
No. The state seal is used only by government agencies of the State of North Carolina.
Public schools and state government agencies are funded by the State of North Carolina. Private K-12 schools and home schools are not. Private sector schools (both conventional and home) design and use their own school seals on official school transcripts and high school diplomas.
Q: Who provides diplomas for home schooled students?
The State of North Carolina does not issue a diploma for home schooled students. Each non-public school student receives his/hers from the chief administrator of the school in which the student is enrolled which, in a home school setting, would be from the parent/guardian.
Individual colleges, the various branches of the United States military and the business community each determine for themselves to what extent a home school diploma will be officially recognized by these entities.
Q: Will a home school diploma be recognized by colleges, the military and the business community?
There are no state or federal laws requiring them to recognize any type of diploma from public schools, private schools or home schools. Each college, each branch of the military and each business follows its own policies on this issue.
However, if the home school is meeting all state requirements for its operation they are usually recognized.
Q: How long should the chief administrator maintain the student(s) records after graduation?
The records should be kept for a lifetime.
Q: Who should have a copy of the student(s) records?
The Chief Administrator and the student(s) should keep a copy of their records.
Q: What records do I need to keep for each student(s) upon graduation?
(1) A copy of your home school registration/verification record.
(2) A copy of the diploma.
(3) A copy of the transcripts (for transcript details - review the home school guidebook, page 17).
(4) A copy of the nationally standardized test scores.
The term "Driving Eligibility Certificate" (also known as "DEC") refers to the official State of North Carolina school form required only of North Carolina drivers who are under age 18. One is required of each person under age 18 who does not yet possess a high school diploma but wishes to obtain/retain a North Carolina driver's permit/license. North Carolina does not permit persons under age 18 to drive unless they are:
- Currently enrolled in and regularly attending a North Carolina school; or enrolled in and physically attending an out-of-state boarding or an out-of-state day school, and
- Are making academic progress in that school toward graduation. and have not been suspended from that school for more than ten days for possessing an illegal substance on the school campus; possessing a firearm or weapon on the school campus; or, assaulting a school staff member.
The DEC form is used to indicate whether or not a North Carolina high school student is meeting the two above requirements.
Persons under age 18 not yet possessing a high school diploma must be issued a DEC by the principal of the NC school in which he/she is currently enrolled and regularly attending.
The North Carolina DMV offices statewide will accept NO substitutes for it. DNPE supplies DEC forms only to conventional K-12 non-public as well as home schools operating within NC's geographical borders which meet all legal requirements for such schools. The DEC form is required in addition to the official State of North Carolina Driver Education course completion certificate which indicates that the student has successfully completed a State of North Carolina approved student driver education course of study.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I order a DEC?
If you are the chief administrator of a North Carolina non-public school (home or conventional) which is registered with DNPE and meets all current North Carolina requirements for such a school, go to the main menu and request the DEC.
After this information has been electronically recorded, the DECs will then be mailed via US mail within 2 business days.
There is no DEC financial cost involved.
Only one DEC is needed for each student. Additional ones are not required as the student moves up through the various license levels. A second DEC would be needed only after the student's license was revoked.
Q: Who signs the DEC form on the line in the bottom left corner labeled "Signature of School Official?
Conventional non-public schools must first have the parent/guardian read, complete and sign Section 1 in the upper half of the form, which includes the parent/guardian's signature and date. Section 2 of the DEC form (including the Signature of School Official line) is then to be completed by the school's chief administrator (or his/her designee).
For students enrolled in home schools, the parent/guardian completes section 1 of the form. Section 2 of the form must be completed (including the Signature of School Official line) by the chief administrator of the home school. (This may be the same person.) On the Name of School/Agency line, home school administrators will enter the name of the home school as it appears in the DNPE home school database.
Once the non-public school official (home or conventional) has completed Section 2 of the DEC form and placed his/her signature there as well as entered the issue date (when the form was given to the student), the form will be accepted by the North Carolina DMV only within the next 30 days from that date.
Q: Is the Driver Eligibility Certificate needed before taking the driver education course?
No. The student must first successfully complete a State of North Carolina approved Driver Education course and receive the North Carolina Driver Education completion certificate.
After that is completed, the student obtains his/her official State of North Carolina Driving Eligibility Certificate (DEC) from the principal of the North Carolina school in which the student is currently enrolled.
When the under age 18 student is ready to go to the local North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles office to obtain his/her driver's permit/license, the student must present to DMV the student's birth certificate, the official State of North Carolina Driver Education course completion certificate, the official State of North Carolina Driving Eligibility Certificate and his/her social security number.
Q: How do students enrolled in a correspondence, Internet-based or other distance learning program obtain a NC DEC?
High school students under age 18 currently living at home in North Carolina but (in lieu of conventional school attendance) taking courses toward a high school diploma through a distance learning program, can obtain a DEC only through the chief administrator of the North Carolina home school in which the student is currently enrolled.
In order for the home school chief administrator to obtain a DEC to issue to the student, the North Carolina home school must be currently registered with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education and be currently meeting all North Carolina laws governing the operation of the home school.
In completing the Notice of Intent for a home school, the parent must give his/her own name as owner, chief administrator and provider of academic instruction as well as his/her US Postal Service and e-mail addresses and telephone number for the home school - not for the distance learning program.
On the form, do not list any information about the distance learning program in which the student is also enrolled.
Q: Can DNPE fax a Driving Eligibility Certificate to a home school?
No. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles accepts only original official State of North Carolina Driving Eligibility Certificate (DEC) forms which have been properly imprinted, completed and signed.
No facsimiles are accepted.
Q: From whom do students who live in North Carolina but attend out-of-state boarding schools, out-of-state conventional day schools, or out-of-state military base conventional schools obtain a NC DEC?
A student who has permanent residency in North Carolina but attends such out-of-state schools shall receive his/her DEC from the North Carolina public high school which he/she would otherwise be attending.
That North Carolina public high school may ask for the following documentation:
- Proof of residency within the school's district;
- A letter on the out-of-state school's letterhead stating that the student is "currently enrolled in this school" and that he/she is "making academic progress toward high school graduation";
- A transcript/report card indicating the latest semester grades earned in the out-of-state school;
- A transcript/report card at the end of each semester thereafter until the student has graduated from high school (or reaches his/her 18th birthday) - making sure the student understands that he/she will lose all North Carolina driving privileges if this is not presented at the end of each semester or is in violation of the DEC laws.
Q: Can I pick up a DEC at the DNPE office?
Only school chief administrators may stop by the DNPE office to pick them up.
It is strongly suggested that school administrators always call at least a day ahead to make certain that a DEC can be made available for pickup on the preferred day.
Under no circumstances are students permitted to pick them up.
The non-public school (both home and conventional types) must already have on file with DNPE a currently valid Notice of Intent prior to the pickup date.
Q: Are public schools allowed to revoke non-public school student driver's licenses?
No. Conventional non-public or home schools located within the State of North Carolina wishing to have a student driver's license revoked must contact the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.
Q: May public schools share a DEC with other schools?
No. North Carolina public schools are not permitted to share Driving Eligibility Certificates with conventional non-public schools operating within North Carolina's geographical borders, home schools, community colleges or even other public schools.
Q: To whom can North Carolina public schools issue a DEC?
Only to students who are currently enrolled in that public school.
Public schools may not issue a DEC to a student who currently attends or is enrolled in a conventional non-public school within North Carolina, a home school, community college or an out-of-state correspondence or other distance learning program.
Q: What happens when a student leaves a conventional non-public school to attend a home school, public school or a local Community College?
If the student is not making adequate progress toward high school graduation at the point of withdrawal, the conventional non-public school should have the student's driving privileges revoked (even when transferring in to a home school setting).
If the student is making adequate progress, the non-public school should not revoke that student's driving privileges -- provided it is certain that the student has indeed already been enrolled in another legal school.
Q: When should a non-public school send information to DNPE about student driver's licenses to be revoked?
A school should wait (before sending the information) for a brief reasonable time period to receive any hardship requests after notifying parents of the student's forthcoming license revocation.
It is imperative, however, that non-public schools send their revocation recommendations to DNPE immediately following the 30 day grace period post withdrawal.
Q: Are there any license restoration costs involved in re-instating a revoked license?
Yes. Contact the local North Carolina DMV office to find out the exact current State of North Carolina license re-instatement fee. Also, there is always a possibility that the student may incur an increase in his/her next automobile insurance premium.
The DEC form itself is always available free from the chief administrator of the North Carolina non-public school in which the student is currently enrolled.
Q: How does summer school affect students who lose their license?
At the end of the school year (once final grades are posted), non-public schools should send DNPE their license revocation recommendations.
At the conclusion of summer school, those students eligible may then receive a DEC from their North Carolina non-public school principal in order to have their license re-instated.
Schools should not wait until summer school is over to turn in the names of students not making progress toward high school graduation.
Q: How does student grade level assignment work?
While a child is enrolled in your home school, you may place the student on any grade level you desire and promote him/her as you wish at any time of the school year.
However, if at some point in the future the student enrolls in a conventional school, the principal of that school will then determine what grade level the student will be assigned in that school and whether the student's home school transfer credits will be accepted.
Conventional school authorities are usually reluctant to advance a student:
- More than one grade level above his/her age peers; or,
- To the next grade level if the student was removed during the latter part of the previous school year with failing grades in one or more subjects and then presented for re-enrollment at the beginning of the next school term. A North Carolina conventional school (public or non-public) principal has no legal obligation to accept home school credit for students presented for enrollment in his/her school -- especially when the student is entering grades 10-12.
Q: What happens if a gifted student successfully completes some or all high school level courses before reaching the age of a typical 9th grade student?
If the student will receive his/her high school diploma from the home school in which he/she is enrolled, the home school administrator may issue a high school diploma any time after the student turns age 16 (when North Carolina's compulsory attendance age ends) and has met the home school's graduation requirements.
However, if the student will later transfer in to a conventional public or non-public high school to earn a diploma there, the parent should especially require additional courses which would be transferable to that conventional public or non-public high school.
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Q: I'm moving into North Carolina; must I register my school if moving while the school year is still in progress?
Yes, if there is at least one student involved who is at least age 7 but not yet age 16 (not yet age 18 if the student wishes to obtain/retain a North Carolina driver's permit/license). No, if the only students enrolled are currently younger than age 7 (and will not turn age 7 during the current school year) or already age 18 or older.
Q: I'm moving out of North Carolina; what do I need to do for DNPE?
Since North Carolina laws do not apply outside of its geographical borders, you will need to close your home school just before leaving the state. Log into your homeschool account here. Select "Close Your Home School" and choose one of the options to get started closing your home school online. You may also close your home school by calling DNPE at 984-236-0110 and informing a representative to close the home school.
A reminder that conventional (public/non-public) schools in other states may not recognize home school credit.
Q: I'm moving within North Carolina; must I register my school again with DNPE?
Not if your school is already registered with DNPE. Instead, simply inform DNPE (by telephone, US mail, or by logging into your homeschool account at Home School Updates and Changes Form) of the change of county, mailing address, and telephone number.
Q: What is the process for enrolling a home schooled student back in public school?
Home school laws do not address this subject. Thus, North Carolina public school laws apply. Those laws give each local public school principal wide latitude in deciding what he/she will (or will not) accept as transfer credit into the local public school and what will be needed to enroll the student there.
Call the principal of the school into which the student will be transferring to learn what documents and information will be needed to enroll there and what credits will be transferable into that school. In most cases, test scores from the previous school year are utilized in assigning the student's grade level in the school.
Q: Who determines grade placement for home schooled 5 & 6 year old students?
G.S. 115C-288(a) empowers public school principals to grade and classify pupils in their respective schools.
G.S. 115C-364(c) states that the official student entry point into North Carolina's public schools shall be at the kindergarten level. The law, however, does not mandate how long the student must remain in that kindergarten class.
The principal may determine through assessment (or upon recommendation of the public school classroom teacher after the first several days/weeks of school) that the child would be better served and challenged in a first or second grade classroom instead of a kindergarten class.
Q: How do local conventional schools usually determine unit credits and end-of-year subject grades for formerly home schooled students now seeking enrollment in grades 10, 11 or 12 in a conventional school setting?
There are no state laws addressing this specific question. Each conventional school principal has the final authority concerning grade placement and unit credit acceptance for students transferring into his/her school.
In situations of this nature and as a general "rule of thumb," the principal will often review the nationally standardized test results from the most recently concluded school year.
Provided the nationally standardized test was not administered or scored by the parent/guardian/household occupant or a relative; and provided also the student scored at or above the national norms on the language arts, math, science and social studies sections of the test, the principal will frequently accept one unit credit for each of those four subject areas and then assign a year-end grade of "P" (indicating passed) for each of those subjects.
Acceptance of unit credit for additional subject areas are sometimes negotiable only if the parent/guardian provides ample documentation detailing what, when and how the student was taught in those subject areas -- including textbook listings, detailed lesson plans, originals of student work, tests/quizzes administered, etc.
Q: What are the legal roles of the local public school system and local social workers in inspecting home school records, curriculum, textbooks, etc?
The method of enforcement of the North Carolina compulsory attendance law is described in G.S. 115C-379. The penalty for conviction of a compulsory attendance law violation is given in G.S. 115C-380.
The role of local social workers in enforcing compulsory attendance is defined in G.S. 115C-381. All compulsory attendance enforcement authority is vested in local authorities.
The role of local compulsory attendance enforcement authorities is to investigate student absences from the local public schools and reports of children of compulsory attendance age not being enrolled in a legally valid North Carolina school.
If the investigation finds that the student is now properly enrolled in and regularly attending a legally valid non-public (either a home or a conventional) school, the role of local compulsory attendance enforcement authorities usually ends at that point, unless there are other non-home school related issues also involved.
Please note, however, that these local authorities may still prosecute for compulsory attendance violations prior to the date of the student's official withdrawal from the local public school and official placement date in to a legally valid non-public (either a home or conventional) school setting.
The duly authorized representative of the State of North Carolina who may inspect certain non-public (both home and conventional) school records (See G.S. 115C-563(b), 553, & 561) is the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.
Determinations as to whether the non-public (home or conventional) school is meeting the state requirements for the operation of such schools are, therefore, made by the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE).
However, be aware: That social workers also possess the legal authority to investigate cases of suspected child abuse and neglect; that all citizens are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect situations to their local social service office; and, that the North Carolina General Statutes forbid anyone from interfering with a child abuse or neglect investigation.
Q: Are public schools required to provide services to home schooled special needs children?
Not by North Carolina law. However, as a recipient of federal funding, public schools are required by federal law to provide them in certain (but not all) cases. Contact your local public school board of education to see what federally funded "special needs" services are being made available locally to non-public school students. Refer to the US Department of Education for more details on these requirements.
Q: Must public school principals require that transfer students from non-public schools take the public school End of Grade or End of Course tests to determine the proper grade placement for the student in his/her school?
No. Several years ago (in response to non-public school concerns), the North Carolina General Assembly addressed the issue of double testing of students transferring from non-public schools (including home schools) into public schools by adding the second paragraph to G.S. 115C-288(a).
If the test was administered near the end of the most recently completed school year in a legal non-public school; if the parent/guardian or a relative did not administer or score the nationally standardized achievement test; and, if there are no other credibility factors involved, the public school principal will usually accept these non-public school test results without requiring additional testing of the student.
Q: When enrolling my home schooled student in a conventional high school, will he/she be eligible for valedictorian/salutatorian qualification consideration?
Each school (public and non-public) establishes its own policies about this matter. Most schools require that the student be enrolled in that conventional school continuously for at least the last three or more consecutive semesters prior to high school graduation.
Q: How do I withdraw a student from public school?
Upon receiving from DNPE a Notice of Intent to Operate a Home School acknowledgment, show it to the appropriate official in the local school in which the student is currently enrolled.
Q: How do I withdraw a student under age 7 from public school?
Read very carefully the second sentence within the first paragraph of G.S. 115C-378. Especially note the ending words of that sentence " . . . unless the child has withdrawn from school." In North Carolina, a student is not required to attend school until he/she has turned age seven.
If your child will not turn age seven during the current school year (which runs from July 1 through the following June 30), you will not file a Notice of Intent with DNPE for this school term. At any time, you may simply go by the child's current conventional school; complete/sign the necessary paperwork there to withdraw your child; take him/her home; and, begin home schooling the child without dealing with this or any other government office for the remainder of this school year.
However, please note that you must officially withdraw the child from the school in which the child is currently enrolled. Don't simply stop sending the child to school. Otherwise, the parent/guardian risks possible prosecution for a compulsory attendance violation. Within 30 days preceding the child's seventh birthday, the home school will need to be registered with DNPE -- by no later than the child's seventh birthday.
Q: How do I re-open my previously open home school?
Log into your account in the home school portal with your user name and password. Then complete Notice of Intent to Re-Open a Home School Form.
If you have never logged into the home school portal, you will need to retrieve: 1) your username and 2) and password. Follow the instructions to retrieve both of those identifiers. The information will be sent to the email address that is on file. If the email address that is on file is no longer accessible, please contact the office at 984-236-0110 to update your email address to continue the process.
Q: Any consequences for failing to register?
Yes. If any of the children currently living with you are at least age 7 but not yet age 16, they must be enrolled in a legal North Carolina school (either a local public conventional non-public or a home school registered with DNPE).
Failure to register the home school with DNPE would constitute a parental violation of the State of North Carolina compulsory attendance law since the child(ren) would not be enrolled in a legal North Carolina school. Local public school systems are charged with the legal responsibility of compulsory attendance law enforcement. G.S. 115C- 379, 380 and 15A-1340.23 speak to the enforcement and penalty, if the parent/guardian is prosecuted by local officials and successfully convicted.
In addition, students under age 18 may not obtain/retain/re-acquire a valid North Carolina driver's permit/license if he/she is not enrolled in a legal North Carolina school.
Q: Must I register a home school if my child is enrolled in a distance-learning program or virtual school?
Yes, if the distance-learning program or virtual school is based in another state. If any of the children currently living with you are at least age 7 but not yet age 16, they must be enrolled in a legal North Carolina school (either a local public, conventional non-public or a home school registered with DNPE). For compulsory attendance purposes, the home school would then be the North Carolina school in which the child is enrolled, and the distance-learning program or virtual school would be considered the curriculum the parent is using to home school his/her child. In completing the Notice of Intent to Operate a Home School form, the parent must give his/her own name as owner, chief administrator and provider of academic instruction as well as his/her US Postal Service and e-mail addresses and telephone number for the home school - not for the distance learning program. On the form, do not list any information about the distance learning program in which the student is also enrolled.
Q: Is approval or acceptance of the Notice of Intent automatic?
There is no approval, disapproval, certification or licensing process involved. You are notifying the State of North Carolina of your intent to establish a home school, not asking for state approval to do so. As long as all questions on the Notice of Intent form are answered and credible high school diploma evidence is submitted with it for all adults listed as Chief Administrator and Provider of Academic Instruction, acceptance of your completed Notice of Intent form is automatic.
Formal receipt acknowledgment of your Notice of Intent will be sent to you via email once DNPE officials process your Notice of Intent and diploma evidence.
Q: Are there any guidelines for selecting a home school name?
When selecting your school name, choose an academic name appropriate for inclusion on the student's future high school diploma which would be provided by your school. Keep in mind that DNPE will NOT be able to accommodate requests later for a change of school name in the division's files. School name length should not exceed 30 characters (including spaces and punctuation). To avoid duplication and confusion, do not use the following words in the name: "Charter, college, elementary, grade, grammar, high, incoporated (or Inc.), junior, kindergarten, lower, middle, primary, public, residence, schooling, secondary, seminary, senior, the, university, or upper." Any school submitting its Notice of Intent without providing a school name will automatically be assigned a school name beginning with the last name of the chief administrator followed by the word "school."
Q: Are there any options for non-diploma holding parents/guardians who wishes to home school their child?
For parents/guardians living in households where there are no resident adults who possess a high school diploma (or its equivalent), there are two options available to legally have their children (of compulsory attendance age) home educated.
First, the parent/guardian may contact the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) test coordinator at a local community college and make arrangements to acquire a GED (or to enroll in the Adult High School Diploma Program there). The GED usually costs less than $10 but takes about 6 - 10 weeks to obtain.
Second, the parent/guardian might consider approaching the chief administrator of an existing legal home school and ask if he/she would consider enrolling the child in that home school to be taught weekdays on a regular basis by that parent in this already established home school.
Q: Are school code numbers issued to home schools?
Yes, but only for the purposes of using DNPE's interactive online services. Otherwise, all filing and referencing of North Carolina home schools by the State of North Carolina is only by school name and county.
Q: Is re-opening a home school required annually?
No. If you are continuing to operate a currently registered home school from year to year, do not send a Notice of Intent again -- even if you are adding another child.
In its files, DNPE automatically retains your school from year to year as a currently active one -- provided you have not terminated the school and you have notified the division immediately about any changes in the school's address.
Q: Must I register my home school in North Carolina even though my primary residency is in another state?
Yes, provided the student is of North Carolina compulsory attendance age (at least age 7 but not yet age 16) and provided the student will be staying within the State of North Carolina's geographical borders for more than 30 consecutive days during the traditional nine month school year.
Claiming a primary residency out-of-state does not exempt the parent of such a student from North Carolina's compulsory attendance law.
Q: Is home school registration required for 5/6 year old children?
No. However, if you have registered your child in public school already and you wish to start home schooling, you must go by the child's current conventional school; complete/sign the necessary paperwork there to officially withdraw your child; take him/her home; and, begin home schooling the child without dealing with this or any other government office for the remainder of this school year.
Q: When is home school registration required?
You are required to register a home school when your child is age 7.
Q: Is home school registration required for 16/17 year olds?
Only if the student wishes to obtain/retain his/her North Carolina driver's permit/license while under age 18. The student will then need to continue receiving academic instruction on a regular schedule and be required to take a nationally standardized achievement test each year until reaching age 18.
Q: Is home school registration required for age 18 or older students?
No. North Carolina's home school laws are applicable only for schools enrolling students who have not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. Do not send a Notice of Intent if the only students involved are age 18 or older.
Q: Is home school registration required for each student?
No. Do not send a separate notice of intent form for each student. Your one Notice of Intent covers all children of compulsory attendance age who live with you. Only one Notice of Intent per household please.
Q: Should I continue to send my child to school until the home school registration process has been completed?
Yes. Otherwise, the principal of the conventional school in which the child is currently enrolled (would be attending) may order prosecution for a compulsory attendance violation.
Consult that principal for the final answer to this question.
Q: Why are you asking for my e-mail address?
State law does not require that you provide your e-mail address.
DNPE has transitioned to a process that allows for automation of many of its routine services. It will allow DNPE to use e-mails and secured interactive web pages to communicate with and provide services to home school chief administrators.
Q: How do I withdraw my child from a year-round school?
During the months of May and June, if your child attends a year-round school and you now wish instead to establish a home school to educate that child during the upcoming July 1 through June 30 home school year, please submit your Notice of Intent form to DNPE in early July.
Q: How do I close my home school?
To close your home school, you may:
1) call the DNPE office at (984) 236-0110 and request your home school to be closed; or
2) log on to the Home School Updates and Changes form with your Home School ID, click on "Home School Closure Notification Form," and follow the steps listed to close your home school.
Q: When a home school has no students enrolled, how long may its Notice of Intent remain legally active?
For no more than three consecutive calendar months.
The North Carolina General Statutes require that every home school operate on a regular schedule for at least nine calendar months each year. The home school can operate on a regular schedule only when there is at least one student enrolled.
Q: What reasons can a home school be terminated by DNPE?
- Providing an invalid street address;
- If any correspondence sent to a home school via the U.S. Postal Service is returned to DNPE as undeliverable or address not known;
- Home schools that have moved out-of-state;
- Home schools that do not administer a national standardized test annually;
- Home schools that report no student enrollment; or
- Home schools that do not operate on a regular schedule for more than three consecutive calendar months during any July 1 through the following June 30 period of time.
*Please note: When the home school no longer meets the legal home school requirements, there is the risk of compulsory attendance prosecution by local public school officials. It is the responsibility of the chief administrator to provide accurate and up-to-date information for the home school.
Q: May a home school register for and operate only during the summer months?
No. The home school laws exist solely to provide another means for parents to satisfy the North Carolina compulsory attendance statutes. Compulsory attendance laws are applicable only during the traditional school year -- not during the summer months when most local conventional schools are out of session.
Consequently, a home school which would operate only during the summer months would not register with DNPE. Parents considering such a proposed summer instructional program must first consult with the conventional school which the student attended at the previous school year's conclusion and especially with the one which the student will be attending at the opening of the next school term.
The school the student will be attending in the fall determines whether or not credit for such a summer program will be accepted. Usually, credit for a parent/guardian (or anyone else) teaching his/her children during the summer months only will not be recognized by local conventional schools.
Full year home schools registered with DNPE may, however, choose any nine months of the calendar year in which to operate.
Q: How can I reach a contact person for a support group near me?
DNPE does not gather or provide that information. Such information can be acquired by contacting North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE), Doreen Browning Consulting and M & M Educational Group, LLC.
Q: Are there any statewide/regional conferences, conventions, book fairs, workshops, meetings, etc. conducted exclusively for home school parents?
Yes, there is a statewide home school convention complete with numerous workshops and a large book fair sponsored each spring by North Carolinians for Home Education.
NCHE also conducts regional workshops each fall for home school support group leaders and disseminates information about various county or area-wide home school book fairs, etc. held throughout North Carolina. Contact NCHE at (919) 790-1100 for details about these types of activities.
Homeschool Alliance of North Carolina sponsors a Love to Learn Conference which is open to all homeschoolers and provides a variety of speakers and sessions on a wide array of homeschooling topics. Speakers volunteer their expertise and conduct their sessions in an inviting environment for the sharing of home school information. This organization also offers an on-line forum to facilitate networking and the sharing of information among North Carolina home schoolers; and organizes gatherings for the whole family at various places around North Carolina.
Q: Any exceptions to the testing requirement?
No. North Carolina's law addressing the annual nationally standardized testing of non-public school students (both home and conventional) makes no exceptions for any reason. Q: Are student test score records shared with DNPE considered public records under North Carolina law? No. Click on G.S. 115C-174.13, 564, 549 and 557 to read more.
Q: How do I know a test meets North Carolina legal criteria?
The North Carolina home school testing law requires that the test satisfy three criteria. The test must be nationally standardized (reports scores as national percentiles, stanines and/or grade equivalents and compares student test results to a national norm); be an achievement test (one measuring subject knowledge); and, cover at least the subject areas of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. Q: Are older normed nationally standardized achievement tests acceptable? Yes, provided scoring is still available for them.
Q: Is standardized testing required for 5/6 year olds?
All students enrolled in an open home school listed with DNPE must be tested annually. If the chief administrator has enrolled the student into the home school, the student must be tested.
Q: Is standardized testing required for 16/17 year olds?
Yes, as long as the student is currently enrolled in the home school (does not yet possess a high school diploma) or if the student wishes to obtain/retain his/her North Carolina driver's permit/license while under age 18.
Q: Required for special needs children?
Yes. The home school law (unlike public school law) does not allow for exemptions from the annual testing requirement.
However, the law does permit, for example, the administering of a 2nd grade level test to a 13 year old who is functioning academically at the 2nd grade level. Note that the science and social studies sections of the test are recommended but are not required by statute.
In addition, North Carolina home school law does not mandate that the student achieve a certain minimum score on the nationally standardized test in order for the parent/guardian to be legally permitted to continue to home school that student during the following (or any future) school year.
Non-reader test editions are permitted and are available.
Q: How does one obtain a school code number for students registering for a college entrance/placement test?
They must be obtained directly from the test publisher. Contact either the ACT or the College Board organization to obtain them, depending on which test is chosen. Usually they assign a specific code number just for home schooled students. It is normally given within their test registration instructions.
Q: How soon must seven year olds be tested after enrolling in a home school?
Within one calendar year from the date that the student enrolled in the home school, and then again once within each 12 month period thereafter. The testing requirement is based on the calendar year, not the student's age or grade level.
Q: Testing required again since done earlier in a conventional school?
Yes. The legal requirement for your home school is that its students be tested annually while enrolled in your home school. In this case, the testing was done before the student was enrolled in your home school.
Q: Must my other child also be tested (when I test my currently home schooled child) after I take that other child out of a conventional school during the current school year and begin home schooling him/her?
That other child would have to then be tested before one year from the date he/she first officially enrolled in your home school. That other child would then need to be re-tested annually each year thereafter.
Q: What is meant by basic battery, complete battery and survey?
These are terms you will encounter when ordering your annual nationally standardized achievement tests.
The "basic battery" tests only the basic subjects of language arts (which usually includes English grammar, reading, spelling) and math. The "complete battery" includes all the "basic battery" named subjects plus science and social studies.
The "survey" is simply a shorter version of the "complete battery." The "survey" was developed in recent years primarily to test students with short attention spans or learning disabilities. North Carolina home school statutes require that each student be tested annually in at least the subjects of English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics.
For a typical grade 4-12 student, DNPE recommends the "complete battery" for a more comprehensive assessment of the student's subject knowledge, rather than the "survey." However, both are legally acceptable.
Q: What is meant by grade equivalent scores, percentiles and stanines?
These three terms are used in reporting and analyzing results from nationally standardized achievement tests taken by students. These tests compare students with their national age peers.
A student does not "pass" or "fail" them. The grade equivalent score indicates a student's performance relative to the average performance of students at a given grade level.
For example, a student who obtains a grade equivalent score (GE) of 7.3 indicates that he/she has achieved at the third month of the seventh grade level in that subject. Percentiles (not percentages) are used to compare the student with his/her age/grade level peers on a scale of 0 to 100.
For most students, percentiles usually range from 40-60 (the average range). The stanine is a normalized standard score scale consisting of nine units with a mean of five and a standard deviation of two.
Nine is very high; five is average; and, one is very low.
Q: When to have them administered and ordered? State law requires that they be administered annually. No exceptions are allowed for any reason.
Once the home school has filed its Notice of Intent with DNPE, the student(s) must be administered the test within the first twelve months of DNPE's initial acknowledgment of your Notice of Intent (date shown on your email as the date school was opened) and then once during each of the following consecutive twelve month periods.
For more valid comparison purposes, it is recommended that the student(s) be tested each successive year during that same month.
Q: Who pays the financial cost of the annual testing of my child?
The parent/guardian who serves as the chief administrator of the home school pays for it. There are no government (state or federal) or private funding sources available to pay any part of its cost.