We recently interviewed our Schoolhouse Ambassador Mentor, Stepheny, to learn more about homeschooling in North Carolina. She homeschools her children in beautiful North Carolina where she inspiring other homeschoolers in addition to providing encouragement for our Ambassadors, Affiliates of The Old Schoolhouse®, and the SchoolhouseTeachers.com Member community.
Homeschooling in North Carolina – Questions and Answers:
Q. Why did you decide to homeschool? Share a little bit about yourself and your family.
A. We actually started off as a public school family. My daughter attended our local public school for kindergarten as well as the first few weeks of first grade. When things didn’t work out the way that they should have, we withdrew her and enrolled her in a charter school for the rest of first grade. To make a long story short, the charter school was subpar as well, so we officially became a homeschooling family. Our sons have never been anywhere but at home.
My husband works hard everyday so that I’m able to stay at home and homeschool, which is a huge blessing! Our kids have seen me complete my Associate’s degree while homeschooling, as well as opening my own business. I love being able to show them the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, and it’s my prayer that each of them might decide to run their own business someday if that’s where the Lord leads them.
Q. How do you start homeschooling in North Carolina? Do you need to notify anyone (school district, government agency)? Where can you find more of the legal requirements?
A. In North Carolina, we’re required to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the state Department of Nonpublic Education if your child is age 7 or older. This notice only tells the state that you’re going to be homeschooling; you’re not asking anyone for permission. When you file your NOI online, you’ll have to submit proof of at least a GED or high school diploma, and choose whether you want to file as a religious or non-religious school. Within a day or two, you’ll have your state ID number emailed to you. Print that email out, and go to the school and withdraw your child.
Requirements for homeschoolers include keeping an attendance record, vaccine record, or exemption letter, and administering a standardized test once a year to each child over the age of 7. The best part? You don’t have to send this information to any agency or school; you only keep it on file at home. More information on homeschooling requirements can be found at NC DOA.
Q. Do you need a set curriculum or can you pick and choose based upon your homeschool philosophy?
A. No, definitely not! In North Carolina, we’re able to pick the homeschool curriculum and method that fits each child’s needs the best.
Homeschooling in North Carolina:
Q. What support networks are available? Where do you suggest looking to meet up with other homeschoolers in your state?
A. There’s an abundance of support networks and groups for homeschoolers in North Carolina, and each of them has their own unique “flavor.” North Carolinians for Home Education keeps a list on their website of current groups, which is organized by both region and county. There’s groups throughout the state that are solely for support and social opportunities, as well as groups for both enrichment and academic classes. While many groups have their own website, I’ve seen at least double that amount located on Facebook alone. Simply search the name of your county and the word homeschool, and you’ll have at least 10-20 groups pop up. Your biggest issue might be limiting the number of groups that you join!
What if you don’t find a group that suits your child’s needs? Are you left to wander alone at that point? Definitely not! New groups are started on an almost weekly basis. You’re also free to start your own group if you’d like. All it takes is getting the word out.
Q. Why do people choose to homeschool in your state? Are there religious reasons? Reasons due to the quality of schools?
A. The reasons people choose to homeschool in North Carolina are as varied as the people in the state. Some homeschool for religious reasons, bullying problems, special needs not being met, lack of academic rigor in the public school system, and indoctrination. Over the past two years though, we’ve seen a massive increase in new homeschool families due to issues such as masking and mandates. When many of the public schools turned to virtual learning at the beginning of the pandemic, parents started seeing that they were, in fact, able to do a better job teaching their children than what the public school system could do. Many were finally able to see firsthand that homeschooling was a viable possibility, and they’ve chosen to stick with it.
Q. How can you incorporate your home state into your homeschool studies? Is their curriculum specific to your state? What is easy to teach in your state (nature studies, art, math)?
A. State history is one of the easiest topics to include in your homeschool studies! If you want to utilize something that’s already planned out for you, I would recommend the North Carolina State History Course from Lamp Post Homeschool. I used this with all three of my kids at the same time, and everyone enjoyed it.
History is my favorite subject to teach, and North Carolina is loaded with opportunities for field trips and hands-on study. We have both Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields, Moravian towns, Underground Railroad sites, lighthouses, transportation history, as well as the site where the sit-in movement began. Just like homeschool support groups, you’ll find that it’s more a matter of limiting yourself so that you don’t try to do all of the things at the same time!
Q. What else should people know about homeschooling in your state?
A. I’d say that the biggest thing to keep in mind in regards to homeschooling in North Carolina is the freedom that we have. We don’t have to worry about anyone monitoring us, there’s no portfolio to be reviewed . . . we’re truly free to homeschool our children as we see fit. There’s a whole network of homeschoolers all over the state, and any of us would be happy to help you learn the ins and outs of things here, or even show you around!
If you have a heart for homeschooling, there are many ways you can become actively involved through The Old Schoolhouse®. From becoming a Schoolhouse Ambassador, who is a homeschool support group leader, mentor, parent or grandparent who partners with The Old Schoolhouse® to help reach homeschool families with support, resources, and encouragement to joining the Homeschool Review Crew, there are many ways you can help homeschooling families in your community and around the world.