How to Continue Your IEP, Even if You Start Homeschooling

By: National School Choice Week Team

Last Upated: June 8, 2021

So, special education + homeschool? If you’re new to homeschooling this year and your child had special needs services in their prior public school, you are likely wondering how to continue accessing and paying for the services and therapies that they need in your new learning environment.

The good news is that there are more options than you may know to administer and cover the costs of special needs students services while homeschooling. That’s why this post compiles state rules about special education funding for homeschool students, along with links to other special education homeschool resources.

Good news: There are many ways that homeschool students can access and have costs covered for special needs services and therapies. #schoolchoice #homeschooling Click To Tweet

Jump to a section:

How Special Education Funding Works

State Guidance on Special Ed Funding for Homeschool Students

Special Education Homeschool Resources

 
homeschool-students-celebrate-school-choice-week
 

How Funding Works for Special Needs Students

A brief history of how funding for special needs students works will help explain your options. If you just want to know if funding is available in your state, for your child, go ahead and skip right to the state specifics.

Funding for special needs services is provided by IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Some of it is distributed by the federal government, and some of it is distributed by state governments. For the purposes of your son or daughter, the state funding will be the biggest factor in whether you can access the services you need as a homeschool or private school student. As in many other areas of education policy, each state goes about this differently.

In general, here are a few factors to consider:

First, states vary in terms of how much IDEA funding they set aside for these services, so the more your state does, the better off you are.

Second, in most states, these services are provided for private school students only. But, some states consider homeschooled students to be in “private schools,” which makes them eligible.

Third, in a handful of states, lawmakers have specifically expanded the eligibility of these services to homeschoolers alongside private schoolers.

Historically, some homeschoolers have been hesitant to take their districts up on these free services because of desires to be fully independent from the public school district. But times have changed, and COVID-19 has caused a huge number of parents to consider, or take the leap to, starting homeschooling this year. Of course, as the number of homeschooler scales up, so does the diversity of reasons people have chosen it. So, these services are more relevant than ever.

special-needs-student-at-the-school-of-hope-in-nc

 

State Services for Special Needs Homeschoolers

We’ve done our homework to find out the eligibility and availability in each state so you can determine whether you’d like to request services through your public school district. In at least 31 states and the District of Columbia, homeschooled students may automatically qualify for special education services. Scroll to your state in the list below to read up on your options.

In at least 31 states and the District of Columbia, homeschooled students may automatically qualify for special education services. Find out your state's rules! Click To Tweet

You can also click on your state in the map below to find your state’s rules about IDEA funding for homeschooled students and private school students.

 

 

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Washington, D.C.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama:

We’ve reached out to Alabama’s education authorities for details on special needs services for homeschooled students, but have not yet received a response. You can read directly about Alabama’s rules for special education at Alabama Code Title 16.

 

Alaska:

Alaska homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students taught via correspondence courses in the state are considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at State of Alaska Correspondence Program Regulations.

Arizona:

Arizona homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services.

Alternatively, parents of homeschooled children can apply for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to access 90% of the funding their district would have received for their child. Parents who receive ESAs cannot access special education services from their local districts, but can have educational expenses for their child reimbursed from the ESA. Families of students wishing to access special education services through their district should contact their local district. Parents of students wishing to use the ESA option can find more information and apply at the Arizona Department of Education.

Read more about the rules at Arizona Special Education Standards.

Arkansas:

Arkansas homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at Arkansas Homeschool Law.

California:

California homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at California Special Education Resources.

Colorado:

Colorado homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at Colorado Office of Special Education.

Connecticut:

We’ve reached out to Connecticut’s education authorities for details on special needs services for homeschooled students, but have not yet received a response. You can read directly about the rules for special education at the Connecticut Department of Education.

Delaware:

In Delaware, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at Delaware Administrative Code Title 14.

Florida:

Florida homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents of special needs children can also apply for the Gardiner Scholarship Program, which provides funds that parents can dedicate towards special education services. Families can reach out to their local district to see what special education services are offered and begin the process of constructing an IEP. Parents interested in the Gardiner Scholarship Program can contact the two scholarship funding organizations: Step Up for Students and A.A.A. Scholarships.

Read more about the rules at the Florida Department of Education’s FAQ.

Georgia:

Georgia homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Georgia Department of Education.

Hawaii:

Hawaii homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the State of Hawaii Board of Education.

Idaho:

Idaho students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students can dual enroll in their public school; however, under state regulations, homeschooled students may not dually enroll solely for the purposes of receiving special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information and to see what special education services are offered.

Read more about the rules at the Idaho Special Education Department’s Manual.

Illinois:

Illinois students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Illinois State Board of Education.

Indiana:

Indiana students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. In addition, parents that homeschool can deduct up to $1,000 of approved educational expenses on their tax returns each year. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at Indiana’s Special Education Rules.

Iowa:

In some cases, Iowa students in home or private school are considered eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students taught through a program of “competent private instruction” may dual enroll in their local public school for purposes of receiving special education services. Homeschooled students taught through a program of “independent private instruction” may NOT dual enroll in their local school to receive special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district to assess their homeschooling options and see what special education services are offered.

Read more about the rules at Iowa’s Private Education Handbook.

Kansas:

Kansas students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at Kansas’ Parent Guide to Special Education.

Kentucky:

Kentucky students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Kentucky Department of Education’s Non-public or Private School Information.

Louisiana:

Louisiana homeschool students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the BESE-Approved Home Study Program Guidelines.

Maine:

Maine students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services, provided that the student is enrolled in a program “recognized by the Department as providing equivalent instruction” to private schools. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Maine Unified Special Education Regulations.

Maryland:

Maryland homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students do not automatically qualify for special education services provided under the IDEA, although local districts can choose to make services available. Parents can reach out to their local district to see if special education services are offered for them.

Read more about the rules at the Maryland State Department of Education.

Massachusetts:

Massachusetts students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can contact their local district, both to have their homeschooling plans approved (a state requirement in Massachusetts) and to request special education services.

Read more about the rules at the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Michigan:

Michigan students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Before receiving such services, parents must first register their homeschool with the Michigan Department of Education. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Michigan Department of Education.

Minnesota:

Minnesota homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Minnesota Department of Education.

Mississippi:

Mississippi homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents of special needs students can also apply for the Educational Savings Account program, which provides parents with funding dollars with which they can purchase special education services. Families can reach out to their local district to see what special education services are offered and begin the process of constructing an IEP. If you are interested in the ESA program, you can find more information and apply at https://www.mdek12.org/OSE/ESA.

Read more about the rules at the Mississippi Department of Education.

Missouri:

Missouri homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Missouri Revisor of Statutes.

Montana:

Montana homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s Special Education Guidelines.

Nebraska:

Nebraska homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Nebraska Department of Education’s Homeschool FAQ.

Nevada:

Nevada homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Nevada Legislature.

New Hampshire:

In New Hampshire, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services.

However, districts may not enact policies regarding curricular courses or co-curricular activities that restrict homeschooled students more than public school students. In addition, parents of special needs children may qualify for income-based scholarships that can fund special education services, tutoring, or homeschooling expenses. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information. Parents interested in applying for scholarships to fund their child’s special education services can reach out to The Children’s Scholarship Fund and Giving and Going Alliance, the state’s two approved scholarship organizations.

Read more about the rules at the General Court of New Hampshire.

New Jersey:

In New Jersey, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the New Jersey Department of Education.

New Mexico:

In new Mexico, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the State of New Mexico’s Public Education Department.

New York:

New York homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents should contact their local district to request services by June 1, or within 30 days of moving districts or the identification of a child’s disability.

Read more about the rules at the New York State Education Department.

North Carolina:

North Carolina homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their district for free. Homeschooled students can qualify for state-provided grants of up to $8,000, or an Educational Savings Account for students with disabilities of up to $9,000, which can reimburse special education services provided outside the home. Parents should contact the state agency to request additional details and to apply.

Read more about the rules at the NC State Education Assistance Authority.

North Dakota:

North Dakota homeschool students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

Ohio:

Ohio homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free.The Jon Peterson Scholarship program provides parents with scholarships of up to $27,000 annually, in lieu of providing special needs students a free and appropriate public education. Homeschooled children qualify for the scholarship, provided they have an IEP. Scholarship funds can cover education and services outlined in the IEP. Only 5% of special needs children can receive Jon Peterson scholarships; if demand outstrips supply, a lottery will determine recipients. Parents should 1) contact their district to obtain an IEP for their child and 2) research qualified providers under the Jon Peterson program, who can apply for the scholarship on behalf of the child.

Read more about the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Programs.

Oklahoma:

In Oklahoma, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Students in home school are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district, for free. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the Oklahoma Special Education Handbook.

Oregon:

Oregon homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. State guidance regarding COVID indicates that “home schooling for students who experience disability should be treated the same during Distance Learning for All as when schools are functioning normally.” Parents can reach out to their local district to see what special education services are offered and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about Oregon’s rules at the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students may be considered eligible for special education services provided by the local district. Parents can reach out to their local district to see whether special education services are offered.

Read more about the rules at the Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education.

Rhode Island:

In Rhode Island, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the Rhode Island Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities.

South Carolina:

South Carolina homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the South Carolina Department of Education.

South Dakota:

In South Dakota, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at the South Dakota Legislature.

Tennessee:

Tennessee homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents of special needs students can also apply for the Individualized Education Account program, which gives parents funds to pay for special education services. Parents should contact their local district to request services by June 1, or within 30 days of moving districts or identifying a child’s disability. If you’re interested in the Individualized Education Account program, you can obtain more information and an application at https://www.tn.gov/education/iea.html.

Read more about the rules at the Tennessee Department of Education.

Texas:

Texas homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Texas Education Agency.

Utah:

In Utah, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are considered NOT privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. However, homeschooled students can dually enroll in a public school, in which case the student can qualify for special education services consistent with an IEP. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information and to see what special education services may be available.

Read more about the rules at the Utah State Board of Education’s Special Education Rules.

Vermont:

Vermont homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents should contact their local district to request services by June 1, or within 30 days of moving districts or the identification of a child’s disability.

Read more about the rules at the Vermont Agency of Education.

Virginia:

Virginia homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services.Parents should contact their local district to request services by June 1, or within 30 days of moving districts or the identification of a child’s disability.

Read more about the rules at Virginia’s Legislative Information System.

Washington:

Washington homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students can receive “ancillary services” from their home district. Among other things, these include “counseling, psychological services, testing, remedial instruction, speech and hearing therapy, health care services, tutorial services such as home or hospital instruction for the physically disabled, and sports activities.” Parents can ask their local district about”ancillary services” the districts provide under state law. An IEP is not required.

Read more about the rules at Washington’s State Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction.

West Virginia:

In West Virginia, homeschooled students are NOT eligible for special education services to be provided by their school district for free. Homeschooled students are NOT considered privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents can reach out to their local district for more information.

Read more about the rules at West Virginia’s Regulations for the Education of Students with Exceptionalities.

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. Local districts do not have to provide special education services to homeschooled students; however, they may do so. Parents can reach out to their local district to see if special education services are offered in their area.

Read more about the rules at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Wyoming:

Wyoming homeschool or private school students may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Wyoming Department of Education.

Washington, D.C.

In D.C., students in home or private school may be eligible for special education services provided by their school district for free. The state considers homeschooled students as privately schooled students for purposes of determining access to special education services. Parents, you can reach out to your local district to see what special education services it offers and begin the process of constructing an IEP.

Read more about the rules at the Special Education Programs & Resources Guide for Families.

More Resources

Are you an educator? Learn more about federal and state guidance for educating students with disabilities during COVID-19.

Additionally, we recommend checking out the great resources available from HSLDA and SPED Homeschooling as well as active Facebook groups on the subject, like Special Needs Homeschooling.

You can learn more about homeschooling:

Homeschool what you need to know

Or, learn more about private school options:

private-school-guide-featured-image

Is there a helpful resource you are using to navigate special needs services as a homeschooler? Email us your tips on special education and homeschool: [email protected]

Sign-Up for Updates

"Shining a spotlight on effective educational options for every child"