We have been homeschooling here in DC since the beginning. It’s a great city to homeschool. There are so many free resources in the form of the museums and so much culture at our fingertips here.
The homeschool community is currently growing a great deal. You won’t find quite as many homeschoolers in the District itself as in some other cities. However, we’ve found plenty of friends, even if we sometimes have to go to the suburbs to see them.
The homeschool law in DC has been in place for several years now. Up until this year, the law was in effect notification only. You must send in a form notifying the Office of the State Superintendent that you’re homeschooling and send proof of your high school degree or request an exemption. You are required to keep a “portfolio of materials” and teach math, language arts, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education every year. This year, for the first time, the homeschool office is exercising their ability under the law to review DC homeschool students’ portfolios. The families under review were supposedly chosen at random. Not a lot of information is out there about this process yet because it’s so new. Hopefully, the reviews will be simple and positive, but it remains to be seen.
According to OSSE, DC homeschoolers have no access to school extracurriculars. However, informally, I have heard several anecdotes about students continuing to participate in some afterschool programs from withdrawn schools, especially at some charter schools.
You can find more information, including the notification form and the law at OSSE’s homeschooling page.
Luckily, many of DC’s best resources for kids aren’t the schools but are in the recreation centers, free pools, and good libraries. Homeschool parents in DC are eligible for educator cards at the library which allow for more books checked out and a longer borrowing period. It may be of particular interest to homeschoolers to know that DC libraries do not charge overdue fines on juvenile materials.
Finally, DC homeschool students are also eligible for the DC Transit Subsidy which allows for free bus rides during certain times and reduce fares on bus and subway. See the link above about how to get a DC One Card for your student.
Over the years, homeschooling has been covered in the local media. Here’s one story from the Washington Post (you’ll find us featured in the photos!) and here’s another story from City Paper about the increasing number of African American families choosing to homeschool.