In October, the requirements for homeschooling children will change for all of Ohio. 

Under current law, for parents to homeschool their child they have to submit several forms to the superintendent including their curriculum, a textbook list and proof the home teacher has a diploma. The parents also have to give their child standardized tests and report those scores to the district to prove they are on track. In October - the new law gets rid of all of that so parents only have to send a single letter to the superintendent with their child's name, birthday, address and intent to homeschool.

“What this does is it frees parents up to focus on educating and not teaching towards an assessment at the end of the year,” Amy Buchmeyer a staff attorney at Home School Legal Defense Association said. “It doesn't limit them, it allows them to focus on where their kid is at with their education.”

Supporters feel tailored learning from parents could be a better path for some children.

“What you're giving this child is the one on one education that a parent can provide because they know their student best,” Buchmeyer said. 

In the Poland School District, they’ve been seeing a gradual increase every year with students switching to homeschooling. In 2014 they had around 5 students being homeschooled, in 2023 they have nearly 60. Superintendent Craig Hockenberry said he supports homeschooling because it’s best for some families - but he is concerned some students might fall through the cracks under this new law. 

“There are some kids that may not be progressing properly, may not be learning to read and write very well, need social interactions, mental health support, medical support and we no longer can evaluate that or deliver any service to them at all,” he said. 

The superintendent is also concerned parents won’t follow the Ohio standard curriculum.

“Having an approved curriculum allowed us to at least say ‘okay this is approved, this works,’” he said. 

But others feel giving parents the freedom from the state requirements is better. 

“{The parents} said ‘I want to teach math’ and they’re given the opportunity to figure out what math is the best for my student,” Buchmeyer said. 

State representative Sarah Fowler Arthur (District 99) is a primary sponsor of the bill that made this a law and feels it will streamline and simplify the homeschooling process.

"Nationally homeschooled students excel academically when compared to their peers, as demonstrated by many studies, including a 2021 paper from Harvard. The flexibility to tailor their academic instruction to the personal needs and interests of the student is the golden standard that every public school strives for but are often too pressed for time and resources to achieve," Fowler Arthur said in a statement.

The law goes into effect October 3.