State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in Hawaii and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Summaries and Explanations of Hawaii Homeschooling Laws
Hawai'i Regulations
Hawai'i has a state-run public school system. The rules governing homeschooling in Hawai'i are found in Chapter 12, "Compulsory Attendance Exceptions" of the Hawai'i Administrative Rules for the Department of Education. In particular, see sections 8-12-1 through 8-12-4 and 8-12-13 through 8-12-22. Read the rules and refer to them when dealing with school officials. Most of the problems that arise between parents and school officials are due to simple misunderstanding of the administrative rules. Do not rely on school personnel to tell you what to do. Contact a support group if you need help. This is a brief description of some of the rules.
Home Schooling
Short summary of the homeschooling laws issued by the Hawaii Department of Education.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to some common questions regarding home educating in Hawai'i.
FAQ for Military Families
Common questions answered for military families deploying to Hawaii. If a question you have isn't answered here, please reference the contact section by military branch — we have resources to assist you.
Hawaii Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Hawaii. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Hawaii.
Hawaii Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
§8-12-16 Notification of termination of home schooling.
The parent shall notify the principal if home schooling is terminated. A child shall be reenrolled in the local public school or licensed private school unless a new alternative educational program is presented within five school days after the termination of home schooling.
§8-12-13 Notification of intent to home school.
(a) The parent shall provide the local public school principal with a notice of intent to home educate the child before initiating home schooling. The purpose of notification is to allow the department, upon request of the parent, to assist in the educational efforts. The notice of intent may be submitted on a department developed form (Form OIS-4140) or in a letter containing the following items: (1) Name, address, and telephone number of the child; (2) Birthdate and grade level of the child; and (3) Signature of the parent. (b) The notice of intent shall be acknowledged by the principal and the district superintendent. The notice of intent is for recordkeeping purposes and to protect families from unfounded accusations of educational neglect or truancy. (c) If a child's annual progress report has been submitted as stated in §8-12-18(b), notification of intent to home school need not be resubmitted annually, except in cases where the child is transferring from one local public school to another, for example, transition from sixth grade to an intermediate school. Then the parents shall notify the principal of the child's new local public school. (d) The parent(s) submitting a notice to home school a child shall be responsible for the child's total educational program including athletics and other co-curricular activities.
§8-12-12 College entrance examination alternative education.
A child in an alternative educational program may participate in any college entrance examination which is made available to all other students.
§8-12-17 Educational neglect.
If there is reasonable cause for the principal to believe that there is educational neglect, the department in compliance with §298-9, Hawaii Revised Statutes, shall intervene and take appropriate action in accordance with established departmental procedures. Reasonable cause for educational neglect shall not be based on the refusal of parents to comply with any requests which exceed the requirements of this chapter.
§8-12-20 Credits.
No course credits (Carnegie units) are granted for time spent being home-schooled.
§8-12-4 Conditions for exceptions.
School age children may be excepted from compulsory school attendance in the following cases: (1) Where a child is physically or mentally unable to attend school, except for deafness and blindness, of which fact the certificate of a duly licensed physician shall be sufficient evidence; (2) Where any child who has reached the fifteenth anniversary of birth is suitably and lawfully employed; (3) Where a family court judge has approved withdrawal from school; (4) Where the superintendent of education or designee has approved an appropriate alternative educational program, other than home schooling; and (5) Where the parent of a school age child has provided notification of intent to home school the child.
§8-12-1 to §8-12-22. Compulsory Attendance Exceptions
§8-12-1 Purpose
§8-12-2 Definitions
§8-12-3 Applicability
§8-12-4 Conditions for exceptions
§8-12-5 Procedures for exceptions due to handicapping conditions
§8-12-6 Procedures for exceptions due to employment
§8-12-7 Procedures for exceptions due to family court order
§8-12-8 Procedures for exceptions for alternative educational programs, other than home schooling
§8-12-9 Testing and progress reports of children excepted for alternative educational programs, other than home schooling
§8-12-10 Instructional personnel of alternative educational programs, other than home schooling
§8-12-11 High school diploma, alternative education programs, other than home schooling
§8-12-12 College entrance examination, alternative education
§8-12-13 Notification of intent to home school
§8-12-14 Required statutory services
§8-12-15 Record of curriculum
§8-12-16 Notification of termination of home schooling
§8-12-17 Educational neglect
§8-12-18 Testing and progress reports of home-schooled children
§8-12-19 Instructional personnel of home-schooled children
§8-12-20 Credits
§8-12-21 High school diploma for home-schooled children
§8-12-22 College entrance examination and home-schooled children
Home School Laws from HSLDA
Find the laws pertaining to home education for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
§8-12-19 Instructional personnel of home-schooled children.
A parent teaching the parent's child at home shall be deemed a qualified instructor.
§8-12-21 High school diploma for home-schooled children.
A home-schooled child who wants to earn a high school diploma from the local public high school shall attend high school for a minimum of three full years to meet the twenty credit requirement for graduation. Satisfactory performance on the Hawaii State Test of Essential Competencies (HSTEC) is also required. (b) A home-schooled child who wants to earn a high school diploma from the community school for adults shall meet the following requirements: (1) Be at least seventeen years of age, except in the case of emancipated minors; (2) Has been home-schooled for at least one semester under Hawaii's home-schooling procedures; and (3) Take and achieves a satisfactory score on the General Educational Development (GED) test. The diploma shall be awarded by the community school for adults.
§8-12-18 Testing and progress reports of home-schooled children.
(a) Test scores shall be required for grades identified in the Statewide Testing Program, grades three, six, eight, and ten. A child is eligible to participate in the Statewide Testing Program at the local public school. The parent is responsible for securing necessary details from the principal of the local public school. The parent may elect to arrange for private testing at the parent's own expense. The tests used shall be comparable to the appropriate criterion or norm-referenced tests used by the department in the grades concerned. The parent may request and the principal may approve other means of evaluation to meet the Statewide Testing Program requirements. (b) The parent shall submit to the principal an annual report of a child's progress. One of the following methods shall be used to demonstrate satisfactory progress: (1) A score on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test which demonstrates grade level achievement appropriate to a child's age; (2) Progress on a nationally-normed standardized achievement test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year, even if the overall achievement falls short of grade level standards; (3) A written evaluation by a person certified to teach in the State of Hawaii that a child demonstrates appropriate grade level achievement or significant annual advancement commensurate with a child's abilities; and (4) A written evaluation by the parent which shall include: (A) A description of the child's progress in each subject area included in the child's curriculum; (B) Representative samples of the child's work; and (C) Representative tests and assignments including grades for courses if grades are given. (c) When tests are administered under the Statewide Testing Program for grades three, six, eight, and ten, the parent may choose to have the child participate in the school's testing program and have the results serve as a means of assessing annual progress for that year. (d) The principal shall review the adequacy of a child's progress. If progress is not adequate, the principal shall meet with the parent to discuss the problems and help establish a plan for improvement. In this case, the principal may request and the parents shall share their record of the child's planned curriculum. When standardized test scores are used, adequate progress shall be considered to be scores/stanines in the upper two thirds of the scores/stanines. Unless progress is inadequate for two consecutive semesters, based on a child's scores on a norm-referenced test for that grade level or the written evaluation by a person certified to teach in the State of Hawaii, recommendations to enroll the child in a public or private school or to take legal action for educational neglect shall be prohibited. No recommendations shall be made for a child before the third grade.
§8-12-15 Record of curriculum.
The parent submitting a notice of intent to home school shall keep a record of the planned curriculum for the child. The curriculum shall be structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs and abilities of the child. The record of the planned curriculum should include the following: (1) The commencement date and ending date of the program; (2) A record of the number of hours per week the child spends in instruction; (3) The subject areas to be covered in the planned curriculum: (A) An elementary school curriculum may include the areas of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, health and physical education to be offered at the appropriate development stage of the child; (B) A secondary school curriculum may include the subject areas of social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education and guidance. (4) The method used to determine mastery of materials and subjects in the curriculum; and (5) A list of textbooks or other instructional materials which will be used. The list shall be in standard bibliographical format. For books, the author, title, publisher and date of publication shall be indicated. For magazines, the author, article title, magazine, date, volume number and pages shall be indicated.
§8-12-14 Required statutory services.
All educational and related services statutorily mandated shall be made available at the home public school site to home-schooled children who have been evaluated and certified as needing educational and related services and who request the services.
§8-12-22 College entrance examination and home-schooled children.
A child who is being home schooled may participate in any college entrance examination which is made available to all other students. The principal of the local public high school shall, upon request, supply written acknowledgement that a child has been home schooled in compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."
Government Publications
Chapter 12 Home Schooling Guidelines
This Department of Education publication is intended to provide a summary of the laws and regulations governing home education in the state of Hawaii.
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