State Laws: Connecticut

by Pam Lucashu

Connecticut law does not define homeschooling. It is unique in the nation in preserving the Founding Fathers’ history of home education as the default method of instruction.

Conn. General Statute Section 10-184 deals with Compulsory Education and Compulsory Attendance. It mandates that parents have the primary responsibility to care for and instruct their children unless they arrange for someone else (i.e., school personnel) to provide such instruction.

Sec. 10-184. Duties of Parents—School attendance age requirements states that,All parents and those who have the care of children shall bring them up in some lawful and honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state, and federal governments. Subject to the provisions of this section and Section 10-15c, each parent or other person having control of a child five years of age and over and under eighteen years of age shall cause such child to attend a public school regularly during the hours and terms the public school in the district in which such child resides is in session, unless such child is a high school graduate or the parent or person having control of such child is able to show that the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools. The parent or person having control of a child seventeen years of age may consent, as provided in this section, to such child’s withdrawal from school. Such parent or person shall personally appear at the school district office and sign a withdrawal form. The school district shall provide such parent or person with information on the educational options available in the school system and in the community. The parent or person having control of a child five years of age shall have the option of not sending the child to school until the child is six years of age and the parent or person having control of a child six years of age shall have the option of not sending the child to school until the child is seven years of age. The parent or person shall exercise such option by personally appearing at the school district office and signing an option form. The school district shall provide the parent or person with information on the educational opportunities available in the school system.

The first sentence of the statute, highlighted in red, is known as the Compulsory Education portion of the statute, stating that it is the parents’ duty to instruct their own children. Only if parents do not fulfill this obligation must they arrange to have their children instructed by someone else.

The remainder of the statute is known as the Compulsory Attendance portion, which has to do with attendance at a public or private school outside the home. It technically does not pertain to children being educated in the home. Section 10-198a of the Conn. General Statutes makes clear that truancy charges can only be brought against children attending an educational institution outside the home.

Connecticut law does not impose any level of experience or education on parents who instruct their own children.

  • Notice of Intent: Connecticut law does not require any notification of an intent to homeschool, nor does it require that records be kept. However, as a result of efforts to change the law in the 1990s, the state Department of Education formulated guidelines outlining the filing of a Notice of Intent to Homeschool, and an end-of-year portfolio review. These procedures are NOT mandatory. It is the decision of each parent about whether or not to comply. One advantage of complying with the filing of a Notice of Intent is that it eliminates questions involving whether or not a child is receiving “equivalent instruction”;
  • Portfolio Review: A portfolio review is not mandatory. If you choose to attend a review, you need only provide an example of the areas studied. No other paperwork is required. The only purpose of the portfolio review is to demonstrate that you have been instructing your child. No evaluation of the student’s academic progress or standardized test results is required. Parents may decline a portfolio review even if they file a Notice of Intent;
  • Letter of Withdrawal: If you are removing your child from a public school, it is important to formally withdraw him/her from the school system in writing. The letter can either be hand delivered to the superintendent’s office (not the Board of Education), where you can request that office personnel sign and date the letter and give you a photocopy, or send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. This provides both you and the school with documentation that the child is no longer enrolled so there is no question of truancy. See Notice of Intent, above, regarding your decision about whether or not to file a Notice of Intent. If you have a 17-year old child who would like to withdraw from school, Connecticut law provides that the parent or person having control of such child may personally appear at the school district office and sign a withdrawal form.

If your child is under age 7 and you are reasonably certain you plan to homeschool, no interaction with the school district is necessary.

If your child is 5 or 6 and you are not certain whether or not you want to homeschool but you do not want to enroll him/her in public school yet, you may opt out of enrollment by personally appearing at the school district office and signing an option form. By opting out, you are not indicating whether or not you will be providing instruction. Therefore, at the end of the school year, you are not obligated to show that you provided instruction. If you choose this option, make sure you are provided with an Opt Out form, not a Notice of Intent form.

Because home instruction is the primary role of the parent as per Connecticut statute, there is no oversight by a school district.

Connecticut statute Section 10-184 requires parents to cause their children to be instructed in “reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state, and federal governments.” There are no requirements regarding method or materials or of time spent on each subject.

There is no requirement regarding the number of hours or the number of days on instruction. Many parents choose to follow the public school calendar, which provides for 180 days of instruction, but there are also parents who homeschool year-round.

The law does not specify graduation requirements. Each parent determines each child’s graduation requirements and may issue a diploma and transcript. Obtaining a GED is not necessary. Keeping records of attendance, grades, and curriculum used can be helpful when applying to college.

No standardized testing of any type is required. And with the implementation of Common Core, standardized testing may be comparing your child to public school students instructed using that method. If you have not used similar curriculum, the tests will not provide an accurate picture of your child’s achievement. Further, some colleges are no longer requiring the SAT or ACT, or are weighing them differently than in the past. It is important to study the requirements of any college you are considering.

Vaccinations are not required for homeschooled students. Vaccinations are required for public and private school students, although
Connecticut recognizes medical and religious exemptions.


Virtual Charter Schools:Connecticut does not currently offer its own VCS, but refers students to the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative. Bills were filed to provide for Virtual Public Schools in 2017 and 2018 but were not passed.

Special Education:Public schools are not required to provide homeschool students with special education services, although some schools may choose to help a child who is identified as having special needs.

Part-Time Public School Enrollment:Public schools are not required to permit part-time enrollment.

Public School Sports Participation:The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference specifically prohibits the participation of homeschool students in public school sports.

In the past 30 years, Connecticut homeschoolers have fought two major legislative battles to preserve their freedom. Most recently, in 2018 - based solely on the withdrawal of a sibling ostensibly to homeschool – the Office of Child Advocate opportunistically turned the investigation of the abuse-related death of a public school student into a witch hunt of homeschooling in the state. The Child Advocate has stated that she will file multiple bills in 2019 calling for legislation in line with high regulation states nearby. State homeschool organizations will oppose any attempt to regulate homeschooling.


Pam Lucashu is the Legislative Assistant for The Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers of Connecticut (TEACH CT), and she is a “retired” homeschool mom of three adult children. Pam has volunteered with TEACH CT since 2013, using her legal background to help preserve homeschool liberties. In 2015, she worked with other homeschool and parent groups to form the Connecticut Parental Rights Coalition in response to the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Report recommendations mandating continuing special education for special needs students who homeschool. As a representative of the Coalition, she was part of a working group of the Connecticut Alliance for Privacy in Education, and, in 2016, she testified on what would become the Connecticut Student Data Privacy Act. Pam continues to communicate with homeschoolers and state leaders to advocate for homeschool freedom in Connecticut.