Homeschooling in Indiana: My Experience and Best Advice

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My name is Amanda Owens and I LOVE homeschooling in Indiana. I graduated as a homeschooler here, and also hope to graduate all 4 of my kids as homeschoolers here.

There’s currently a great deal of freedom for homeschooling, along with an active and diverse homeschooling community. It’s a great recipe for homeschooling that fits your family. My husband is an Indiana homeschool graduate too, and we have two barely homeschool-aged children this year and two toddlers making our school day extra exciting. We enjoy the flexibility and the fun of homeschooling in Indiana, because we are a kinda nontraditional homeschool family. My husband and I split the homeschooling responsibilities as I work outside the home during the day as a public and homeschool speech language pathologist. So, Indiana’s flexibility is perfect for us and our unique scheduling!

There’s currently a great deal of freedom for homeschooling in Indiana, along with an active and diverse homeschooling community.  Here's what you need to know to begin your journey!

Indiana Homeschool Requirements

The Home School Legal Defense Association is my “go to” for knowing what laws governing homeschooling are, and even though I know the rules in my state… I still visit that website from time to time to triple check what I know.

In Indiana’s homeschool requirements, homeschools are required to provide equivalent instruction in English, but its not up to the State Department of Education to dictate what that “equivalent instruction” is.

Homeschool Recordkeeping in Indiana

You need to keep record of days of instruction, but that can be as simple as a list of dates or circled calendar.

Since the number of days required are supposed to be consistent with your local school district, we just print off one of their school calendars and cross off days as we do them. I know other families that do year-round, or other calendars and that is just fine too, so long as it’s the same number of days.

You don’t need to send those attendance records, but you do need to have them on hand as the state superintendent or the superintendent of your local school district can ask to see your specific attendance records of the number of children and their grade.

Intent to Homeschool Paperwork

There is a form on the department of education’s website that you can fill out to share your intent to homeschool, but it’s not required. The state homeschool association Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE), does a great deal every year to keep this freedom available for all homeschoolers though they are a Christian organization.  

Homeschooling High School in Indiana

My kids are pretty young for me to be thinking of homeschooling for high school, but I can share my husband and I’s experiences with record keeping during the high school process. Take it with a grain of salt…it was 20 years ago!

When we go to look for our kids, we’ll be going straight to IAHE for all the information on how to handle high school. They are the local experts and stay current on all things homeschool law in Indiana.

My husband and I both completed book-based self-studies with no connection to any coop or dual credit courses. I completed a core 40 transcript and kept samples of my work for my record keeping. I took the SATs, went to college, and completed a master’s program with no issue in my original admittances and subsequent transfers.

My husband completed a GED via testing in lieu of a “Core 40” transcript and had no difficulties with his preferred trade school route. I know of families who have completed dual credit courses by enrolling directly in community college and folks with a much more informal style and both sent their children on to post high school learning without too much trouble. 

Homeschool Community in Indiana

Remember that nifty organization I was sharing about? The IAHE? They do a great job of advocating for homeschool rights, educating folks as to the “how to” basics with their courses and resources, and bringing folks in for an annual homeschool conference. This past summer they held a joint event hosted and sponsored by the folks at the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis.

The IAHE has ways to connect with folks in your region through coop and sports team listings and your regional representative. The Regional Reps I have met seem to be advocates and I’ve been blessed by their mentorship so far. They even just launched an ebook on field trip planning in the state on top of all the other cool things they do. Stellar!

Graduation

Local coops and regional reps are good ones to ask about graduation information. I’ve heard of some homeschoolers that do extracurricular activities with their public school district walking with their local high school class, but that seems to be based on the individual district, like many things!

Special Needs

Are you homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling a special learner or child with special needs? I could talk about it for days because I work at a public school in special education AND I work as a speech language pathologist educating homeschool families on how to support their children at home.

I am all about parent rights and advocating for your child wherever you choose to find services to meet those special learning needs. Crazy irony, but it’s been an invaluable combo for helping my homeschool community with information they may not otherwise be able to access so easily. I’ve actually worked at 6 Indiana districts in my career so far and it’s given me some great background on how Individualized Education Plans(IEP) vs Individualized Serviced Plans(ISP) work across Indiana. 

The biggest and quickest takeaway for your back pocket is that so much depends on an individual district. The law gives them TONS of room for interpretation, so if someone tells you that a school district is “required” to give your child free speech therapy “by law” and that it’s “illegal” for them to not… that’s not really accurate.

Half of the districts I’ve worked in provided some type of in person therapy or teletherapy support to homeschool students that needed speech therapy session. The other half offer an IEP, but upon the decision to homeschool (or stay homeschooled) the ISP offered includes services that are significantly reduced, perhaps a phone call once every nine weeks and/or a paper packet of work. That is called “consultation” level services, and that covers them as far as the law (IDEA) is concerned in the state of Indiana.

Whether they provide minimal or comprehensive services, you are listed in the district’s documentation for state school-based Medicaid, Department of Education headcounts, and various funding processes. It really is an individual situation because each family’s access and needs look a little different. Some families feel very comfortable using public school services, some don’t know where to start or where to look if they want a different option. 

Speech Therapy Resources

If you are looking for information on speech therapy resources specifically, take a peek at my Homeschool Parent’s Guide to Speech Therapy- Indiana Starter Kit that you can find in my Free Resource Library of speech therapy. Inside this free and fantastic guide, you will find questions to ask to find your best fit for speech therapy services in Indiana, how to make informed decisions, and who to ask to get the ball rolling for school, government, private, and DIY speech therapy options. Still got questions? My contact info is in the guide and I looove questions. If you are in another state (hi!) you can check out the Homeschool Parent’s Guide to Speech Therapy-Starter Kit 50 States Edition! It’s free and fantastic for all 50 states!

Whether you live in Indiana (howdy, neighbor!) or are thinking about moving here… this is a crazy cool state for homeschooling and there is a LOT to love!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: are you homeschooling in Indiana? What are some of your favorite resources and things to do? What advice would you give to new homeschooling parents?

And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):

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Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.

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4 Comments

  1. I was homeschooled K-12 in Indiana and currently homeschool my 2 daughters here too. I LOVE the ease of homeschooling in IN! I am a member of HSLDA and they recently shared that homeschool teachers can be verified on Thriftbooks and earn a discount, so that’s currently my favorite resource. Our local library is also very homeschool friendly!
    The best advice I’ve received, and like to give, is: don’t constantly compare your child(ren) and homeschool journey to others; do what works for YOU and YOUR family!

  2. Fellow Indiana homeschooler here!

    I’m a little nervous this year because our family now has a small business to run plus I have some health issues from a previous cancer diagnosis. Hopefully it still goes well, but it is a lot to think about.

  3. Indiana has been great for homeschooling. My son even gets to play sports at the local high school without interference in our homeschool. Thanks Indiana!

  4. I love how lenient Indiana is in homeschooling. My son has an iep and still receives services which is great!

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