Ohio has a few homeschool options, including traditional homeschooling or schooling from home as a nonchartered and non-tax-supported school.

History

Ohio, located in the midwestern United States, legalized homeschooling in 1989. While there are a few options for homeschooling in the state, this summary focuses on traditional homeschooling. In Ohio, homeschooling should be directed “primarily” by the parent or legal guardian.

Regulation

Ohio parents who homeschool their children, ages 6 to 18, must notify their local school superintendent with the student’s name and contact information and an assurance that certain subjects will be taught except where in conflict with religious beliefs. Annual notification should include the scores from an academic assessment or a narrative from a certified teacher and a portfolio of the child’s work to demonstrate proficiency. In some cases, an alternative assessment may be accepted.

Parents who direct their children’s education at home must have at least a high school diploma or GED, with a few possible exceptions, including supervision by someone with a college degree. Students should receive 900 hours of instruction. ORC §3321.04 and OAC §3301-34-03.  

Ohio’s subject requirements look very similar to Pennsylvania’s and require a broad array of subject instruction, including fire prevention. Specifically, Ohio homeschooled students must receive language, writing, reading, geography, state and national history, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts and music, first aid, safety, and fire prevention. Homeschooled students may participate in the statewide assessments free of charge.

Homeschooled students may join extracurricular activities at their local public schools. However, this access is restricted to extracurriculars and sports only, is unfunded, and does not extend to other nonpublic students. Students may take courses at the district’s discretion. It is unclear if homeschooled students with special needs are eligible for services through their local public school.

State Data

Ohio has publicly reported decades’ worth of homeschool participation data. For example, around 23,000 students reported homeschooling in 2010, which increased to over 50,000 at the height of the pandemic. District-level information is also available.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in Ohio from 2006 to 2022, with rates slightly decreasing from 2006 to 2012, steadily increasing from 2013 to 2020, and spiking in 2021.

Similarly, U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 6.1% of D.C. families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 9.4% by the fall of 2020. Note that these percentages reflect family participation. Student participation would be higher since many families have more than one child. Based on estimates from the 2022 and 2023 school years, the U.S. Census found that an average of 3.5% of K-12 students in Ohio were homeschooled.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

During the 2019-20 academic year, 1.7% of Ohio’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Homeschool participation in the state was much lower than the 10% of private school students. Charter school participation was also lower than private school participation in Ohio, at 5.6%. In 2021-22, 2.7% of Ohio’s K-12 students were homeschooled, 10% of students attended private schools. Charter school participation was 6%.

A pie chart showing home, charter, private, and traditional public school percentages in Ohio in 2021-22

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, parents in Ohio have broad educational choices available. These options include open enrollment in traditional public schools, magnet and charter schools, and multiple private school choices, including some aimed at homeschooled families. The K-12 Home Education Tax Credit, launched in 2021, provides all homeschooled families with a $250 tax credit.

Commentary

The mandatory subject requirements in Ohio are robust. This is another case where homeschooled students and parents may be held to a higher standard than public school peers. However, Ohio offers homeschool families free testing, access to public school experiences, and a tax credit.

Last updated December 2023.