Is homeschooling legal?
Yes! Not only is homeschooling legal, it's awesome!
Register with the ESD
Every state has their own homeschool laws. The state of Oregon requires that you register as an independent homeschooler with the Education Service District (ESD) in your area within 10 days of withdrawing your child from school. OR if your child is not in school, then you would register them before the start of the school year. If your child is younger than 6, you do not have to register them with the ESD until the year that they will be 6 years old by September 1st. The ESD will send you a confirmation of your registration, which you should retain in a homeschool file for your child(ren). You do NOT need to register ever again, unless your child re-enrolls in a school, and then you withdraw them to homeschool again.
The Southern Oregon Education Service Districtoversees homeschoolers in Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties.
*Please note: On the bottom of the SOESD's homeschool registration form, it has a check box that states, "I understand that...there is no high school credit nor diploma awarded for homeschool instruction unless approved by my resident school district." This simply means that the school district will not award your homeschool student a diploma (of course not--they didn't attend their school). As an independent homeschooler, you can and should keep transcripts for your high school student and you can and should issue them a diploma.
Independently homeschooling students are required by law to test using state approved test examiners in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. You can test every year if you so choose. Older students that participate in sports for a local school will need to test every year and give those results to the Athletic Dept. of the school they are playing for. Test results are sent to you, the parent, by the test examiner. They are not sent to the ESD, nor do you turn them into the ESD or anyone else--unless requested. Simply keep these results in your child's homeschool file. These tests are not overly difficult and most students score very well on them. Should the ESD request your child's scores, they would only be concerned with a student that scores a cumulative score of less than 15%. IF a student scores lower than that, they can continue homeschooling and simply retest the next year. As long as their score is higher than the year before (even if it is still under 15%), they are fine in the eyes of the state. IF they were to score even lower, they are given yet another year to homeschool and re-test. As you can see, the tests and scores are nothing to stress about.
Testing is offered locally in Southern Oregon by Jackson County Home Educators (JCHE) each spring for around $50 (Arrows often coordinates testing for our participating families as well). These large group tests happen at a local church and are pencil/paper tests. You can also contact their test examiners to schedule small group testing for your child (especially if he/she is very easily distracted). Small group testing does cost a little bit more than large group.
What about charter schools?
Charter Schools (like Logos, Baker, etc...) are technically public schools. They receive public funding and are under the oversight of their governing school district. This means that charter school students, though they mostly school at home, are technically public school students. Therefore, the above information about registering with the ESD and testing does not apply.
OCEANetwork is a non-profit made up of a wonderful group of people in Northern Oregon that have been working hard (voluntarily!) to protect homeschool freedoms in Oregon since 1986. They are a wonderful resource for homeschoolers across the state. Their website has more in depth information about homeschool laws and lots of other great information. They also host the largest homeschool conference in the state each June. The conference is a truly amazing event to be a part of and Arrows encourages all homeschoolers to take time to travel to conference each year! Homeschooling is something we spend countless hours doing--it makes sense to take two days a year to be encouraged and equipped in this calling.