The Truth about Idaho’s Homeschool Law
There are many misconceptions about homeschooling in Idaho. Here are 10 myths you might have heard, and the facts proving each one wrong!
1. “Home schoolers aren’t regulated in Idaho.”
Truth: Homeschoolers are legally obligated to provide a good-faith education to their children in the same subjects public schools teach.
2. “Idaho homeschool law has no teeth.”
Truth: Homeschool parents who don’t obey the law can be taken to court like any other parents for child neglect or criminal charges.
3. “Idaho homeschool law is ridiculously slack compared to other states.”
Truth: Idaho homeschool law emphasizes substance, not wasteful red tape. Many states don’t require homeschool families to file pointless paperwork, including New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Alaska, Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan.
4. “Homeschool kids in Idaho would do better if there were more regulations.”
Truth: Kids in states with a heavy red tape burden do no better than kids in states with a low red tape burden, per research.
5. “Kids will fall through the cracks if annual testing is not mandated.”
Truth: Fewer than half the states require annual testing. Several states that previously had such requirements have abolished them. There is normal variation among the academic scores of homeschool kids just like there is among public school kids, but every scientific study ever conducted shows that homeschooled kids do as well or better academically than public school kids. Public schools themselves have not found a way to prevent their own kids from “falling through the cracks.” That’s why, sadly, 10% of Idaho adults are illiterate. Those who argue that increasing the level of regulation on homeschool families would help have no data to back them up. There is no empirical support for raising regulation.
6. “Idaho needs to beef up its homeschool laws to come into the modern era.”
Truth: With virtually no exceptions, every state that has modified its homeschool laws during the past 35 years has reduced the level of red tape.
7. “We won’t know homeschool families are obeying the law unless we make them demonstrate it.”
Truth: Under our form of government, which starts with the principle of liberty, once a law is enacted we presume every person is innocent of breaking the law until proven guilty. We do not compel innocent people to prove their innocence. The weight of the law comes down on those where there is evidence of a violation, not on those where there is no evidence of guilt.
8. “According to US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, parents do not have a fundamental constitutional right to control the education of their children.”
Truth: This is correct. However, under Idaho state law, they do.
9. “Homeschooled kids are isolated as children and will grow into isolated adults.”
Truth: According to a study, adults who were homeschooled are twice as likely to attend a public meeting, twice as likely to vote, nearly twice as likely to write an editor or official or sign a petition, nearly twice as likely to participate in ongoing community service, and three times more likely to work for a cause or candidate. According to researcher Dr. Susan McDowell, homeschooled kids are socialized just as well as public school kids.
10. “Homeschooled kids are at a dead end of their education after homeschooling.”
Truth: According to a study, 74% of homeschool graduates go on to college versus 46% of the general population.