While Wyoming's homeschooled students are not required to take an annual assessment, the state does offer the state test free of charge to homeschool families. As of the winter of 2023, a school choice bill is under consideration that, if passed, would provide funding to homeschool families, among others.

History

Wyoming, located in the western United States, legalized homeschooling in 1985. Homeschooling in Wyoming is defined as “a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child’s parent or legal guardian or by a person designated by the parent or legal guardian.” According to the state, instruction to more than one “family unit” is no longer classified as homeschooling. W.S. §21-4-101(a)(v). However, enrolling in an umbrella “church” school is allowed. According to the state’s FAQ document, homeschooling is legally considered a nonaccredited private school.

Regulation

Wyoming requires parents who elect to homeschool their children, ages 7 to 16, to either send a letter of intent or complete a registration form. Homeschool families must submit a curriculum to the local district annually, thus providing evidence that they meet the “basic academic education requirement.” W.S. 21-4-101(a)(v). Instruction in at least the core subjects of reading, writing, literature, math, science, and civics is required, with some variation depending on age.

There are no specific requirements for attendance, but minimum instruction time is required. Parents who direct their children’s education do not need to have a degree, diploma, or certificate to teach. The state does not have a testing requirement, but homeschooled students are “invited” to take the state assessment, free of charge.

Nonpublic students, including homeschooled students, may have some access to offerings at their local public schools. See W.S. 21-4-506(a). Fees and other restrictions or requirements may be involved.

According to the state policy, homeschooled students with special needs are not eligible for special services. Districts may, at their discretion, agree to provide some level of services. For more details, see here.

State Data

Wyoming has two decades of reliable information about homeschool participation trends. Until the pandemic, homeschool growth was slow. For example, 2000 students reported homeschooling in 2000, but increased to almost 4,000 at the height of the pandemic and slightly declined to 3,700 in 2022. The number of homeschoolers in Wyoming remained high post-pandemic.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in Wyoming from 2000 to 2023, with rates fluctuating slightly from 2000 to 2016, missing data for years 2016 and 2017, increasing in 2018 and 2019, spiking in 2020, and then dropping slightly in 2021.

Similarly, U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 6.5% of Wyoming families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 12.9% by the fall of 2020. Both percentages are slightly higher than the national average during this time. Note that these percentages reflect family participation. Student participation would be higher, given that many families have more than one child. More recently, the U.S. Census found that, for the 2022 and 2023 school years, an average of 5.4% of all K-12 Wyoming students were homeschooled.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

During the 2019-20 academic year, 2.9% of Wyoming’s K-12 students were homeschooled. The percentage of students attending private schools was slightly lower than that of homeschooled students, at 2%. Charter school participation in the state was even lower than private school participation, at only 0.63%. In 2021-22, 4% of Wyoming’s K-12 students were homeschooled, 1.7% attended private schools, and only 0.65% went to charter schools.

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

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, parents in Wyoming have several educational choices available. These options include open enrollment in traditional public schools through inter- and intra-district choice, charter schools, and private schools. There are no private school choice programs in Wyoming.

Commentary

Wyoming could provide more access to educational opportunities for all nonpublic students in the state by expanding access to courses and extracurriculars already offered in the public schools. Publicly reporting the data the state collects from families could further understanding about homeschool participation trends. For example, information on student age and gender would better inform policy.

Last updated December 2023.