Homeschooling in Massachusetts: What it’s Like and What You Need to Know

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Massachusetts, one of the original 13 colonies in the United States, offers a wealth of historical sites to see with a rich connection to the past and the founding of this country. Let’s take a look at what it’s like homeschooling in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts, one of the original 13 colonies in the United States, offers a wealth of historical sites to see with a rich connection to the past and the founding of this country. Let’s take a look at what it’s like homeschooling in Massachusetts.

Homeschooling in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is considered a highly regulated state by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). This is in comparison to other states, which you can see on this map.

Still, homeschooling in Massachusetts is possible as long as you meet the following requirements:

  1. Submit an annual notice of intent to the school district, including the proposed curriculum and number of hours of instruction.
  2. Yearly test or assessment.

You are required to teach certain subjects, too, including:

  • spelling
  • reading
  • writing
  • English language and grammar
  • geography
  • arithmetic
  • drawing
  • music
  • United States history and Constitution
  • duties of citizenship
  • health (including CPR)
  • physical education
  • good behavior

Good recordkeeping is also highly recommended for Massachusetts homeschool families. This can be important to show yearly progress for the annual assessments and for high school transcripts.

Important paperwork to keep includes:

  • Attendance records
  • Information on the textbooks and workbooks used
  • Samples of your child’s schoolwork
  • Correspondence with school officials
  • Portfolios and test results
  • Any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law

Compulsory school age is 6-16 years old.

Fun and Educational Things to Do in Massachusetts

As mentioned, Massachusetts offers many historical sites to visit and learn about the founding of our country. There are also beautiful scenic places to visit for nature study, such as the Berkshires, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod.

Outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, boating, and kayaking are very popular. All of these make excellent choices for physical education, too.

Don’t forget all the literary landmarks to visit. You can see the homes of Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Edith Wharton, and more!

Places to Visit in Massachusetts

There is no shortage of fun field trips throughout the state of Massachusetts. Here are a few that are great places for homeschoolers to visit:

Cape Cod Lighthouse – This lighthouse on a cliff was the subject of one of Henry David Thoreau’s essays. It was moved in the 1990s to preserve it as the cliff had eroded. It has an interesting history and the process of moving the lighthouse away from the cliff is the subject of a short documentary. It was Cape Cod’s first lighthouse, too. Kids can get a free printable activity pack and become “Junior Lightkeepers” by completing it and learning more about the lighthouse.

Plymouth Rock – Visit the legendary rock where the Pilgrims first landed and learn its historical significance. Is it really where they first set foot in Massachusetts? The stories behind it are very interesting and can help bring history to life for your children.

Plimouth Plantation – Enjoy historic re-enactments and learn about how the Plimouth Colony was founded and what daily life was like in the 1620s. It’s a living history museum where actors stay in character and answer questions as they do chores of the day.

Mayflower II – Take a tour of the Mayflower II ship, a replica of the original Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to Massachusetts. You’ll get a new perspective on the adversities they faced while sailing to a new and unknown country.

Lexington – The shot heard ‘round the world was fired on Lexington Green to begin the Revolutionary War. You can visit Minute Man National Historical Park while you’re there.

Paul Revere’s House – Trace the path of Paul Revere’s midnight ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming. Follow the Freedom Trail to learn about early American history where it really took place!

Boston Harbor – Visit the site of the Boston Tea Party and participate in a re-enactment!

Louisa May Alcott’s home – The Orchards is the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. It is preserved as it was then, including her writing desk!

Salem – The spurious history of Massachusetts is on display in Salem, home of the witch trials. It’s a sad chapter in history, but Salem has become a tourist attraction and has much to be learned.

Walden Pond – The famous location of Henry David Thoreau’s classic Walden.

Homeschooling in Massachusetts Resources

You can find the homeschooling requirements for Massachusetts on the state website with further details and explanations. It is always best to read the regulations for yourself and seek legal counsel if you have specific questions or issues to be sure that you are in compliance.

And I would love to hear from you in the comments: are you homeschooling in Massachusetts? What advice would you offer parents that are new to homeschooling in this state? Drop it below!

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!):


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

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One Comment

  1. I have just one tip to add: homeschooling in MA is highly dependent on your school district. Several friends don’t need to submit anything. Some, even just the next district over, have very minimal reporting. My district requires more. I submit a whole curriculum plan with my intent at the beginning, and a large portfolio at the end of the year. Currently it only needs the five major subjects of concern: Math, Science, ELA, Social Studies and PE. You may joke about the PE but it is the only subject we’ve ever been questioned on. Our district takes it very seriously and extracurricular sports are NOT enough.

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