My homeschool journey took us from Maryland to Hawaii. I can say, Hawaii was less restrictive than Maryland and only requires the parent sends in a letter of intent to the school they would attend and send the record of their standardized testing every other year to that school. Hawaii offers opportunities for a family that many states don’t simply because of its beautiful beaches, places to explore and outdoor lifestyle. It is easy to make the location part of your child’s education. There is a limited amount of organized homeschool groups that coordinate, likely because there are so many things to do to keep a family occupied through summer and winter months, but the community is open to someone taking the reins and joining in. There are quite a few Facebook groups that were created that share meetups and field trips various people are planning.
The state has the overarching rules:
· Start with the Hawaii State Department of Education Questions and Answers about Homeschooling: http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ParentsAndStudents/EnrollingInSchool/Choosingaschool/Pages/Homeschooling-FAQs.aspx
· Send form or letter stating intent to homeschool to Principle at the school your child would be attending – keep a mail receipt for your records (OCISS Form 4140: www.hawaiipublicschools.org/DOE%20Forms/Enrollment/Exceptions4140.pdf ) You will need to send a letter when your child is moving from elementary to middle school and then from middle school to high school.
o If issuing a letter make sure to have child’s Name, address, phone number, date of birth, grade, signature of both parents, and date signature (having it notarized is helpful)
· You should receive the letter back with a ‘acknowledged’ stamp on the bottom signed by the Principle.
· Hawaii states that the parents are qualified to teach their child.
· Send Test scores for grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. Your student can go to the local public school for testing – but, they don’t have to, you can submit test results from any standardized testing provider.
Hawaii has some great resources that can assist a parent who likes the idea of homeschooling but wants aspects of public school. There charter schools that are online two days a week and in class three days a week. There are also co-ops and Tutorials available. However, there are no Umbrella schools available.
Charter Schools with blended learning online class two days and three days in school: These schools are like public schools and do not require a letter of intent or form if your student attends.
Hawaii is very transient. There are a lot of military families that come and go in this area that homeschool their children while being stationed in Hawaii due to the beauty and experience here. However, that means that there are many programs and field trip co-ops that start up by eager parents that are not maintained by any group or organization. In this environment, if you want your child to meet and socialize with other kids, signing them up for camps, sports recreational leagues and other activities for their interest works best for building friendships.