Homeschooled students in Idaho have some of the broadest access to public school courses, sports, and extracurricular activities in the country.

History

Idaho is in the western United States. Homeschooling, while practiced before this time, was officially protected in 2015 under the parental rights law. Earlier references to homeschool legalization cite 1963 and 2009.

Regulation

Parents interested in homeschooling their children, ages 7 to 16, should contact their local school office and complete any forms. Failure to withdraw the child from school could result in truancy. However, these are recommendations, and there are no requirements for reporting homeschool participation. The state does not specify any parental education, attendance, or curricular and subject requirements. Idaho does not require homeschooled students to take any state or other assessments. However, they may participate in the state test, but parents must pay the testing fee.

Idaho has some of the broadest access to public school offerings for all nonpublic students, including homeschoolers. It offers all students unlimited and publicly funded access to extracurricular and course offerings in the public school system. The statute guarantees this access with limited district discretion. Idaho students, who qualify, also have access to special needs services.

State Data

Idaho does not report homeschool participation for the state because it has no reporting requirement. Some information about Idaho’s homeschool participation is available through U.S. Census data. U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 8.8% of Idaho families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 10% by the fall of 2020. Considering the 2022 and 2023 school years, the U.S. Census found an average of 6.3% of K-12 students in the state were homeschooled.

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Cross-Sector Comparison

We cannot calculate a cross-sector comparison because we lack information on homeschool participation.

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, families in Idaho have multiple school choice options. These include enrollment in traditional public, private, magnet, charter, and virtual online schools. Idaho has no funded private school choice options, so public funds are not available to homeschool families.

Commentary

There are few barriers to homeschooling in Idaho and broad access for all nonpublic students to public school offerings like sports, other extracurricular activities, and courses. The state further removes barriers by funding these options so families can access the necessary educational opportunities. However, the lack of public funding to support nonpublic schooling means that only families with the financial means can access these options.