Homeschooling in Arizona is amazing. It has been an extremely fun, flexible, and rewarding experience for our family!
Everyone who knows our family knows that we LOVE the lifestyle homeschooling affords us, although a lot of the time we refer to our lifestyle as “learning at home together,” “learning together as family,” or simply “learning.”
Homeschooling in Arizona: Everything You NEED To Know
What are the most important things to know about homeschooling in Arizona? There are 2 things every family considering homeschooling in Arizona absolutely needs to know: what the laws are surrounding homeschooling in AZ and if families will choose to use an Empowerment Scholarship Account or not.
Aside from that, there are a ton of FUN things about homeschooling in Arizona, and I’m excited to share a few of our favorites. Museums, festivals, and opportunities to spend time in nature are readily available here! But first up, let’s talk about the essentials.
Homeschooling in AZ: Laws About Homeschooling in Arizona
First up: what MUST you do in Arizona to have your student officially recognized as a homeschooler? The answer is simple! File an affidavit of intent to homeschool with your local school district. PLEASE NOTE: If you plan to apply for an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA), do NOT file an affidavit!
How do you find your local school district? If you know the name of a school near your home, just do a quick web search. For example, there is a high school very close to my home. If I search the name of the high school and my city name, the school district shows up in my search results along with with the school information.
To file the affidavit, you must have an original or certified copy of EACH student’s birth certificate. I opted to order certified copies of each child’s birth certificate, but you don’t have to do that. You can submit the affidavit in person or via mail. I didn’t want to spend time driving across town to the district office and filing affidavits, so I opted to mail mine snail mail style. I didn’t want to send their original birth certificates in the mail, just in case they got lost – plain and simple reason for getting a copy!
What You Must Teach When Homeschooling in Arizona
There are very few requirements for homeschooling in Arizona. Besides having an affidavit filed (or enrolling in ESA), you are required to teach five subjects: reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science.
Any big box curriculum will get you there, or piece together resources to cover those bases. I don’t know a single homeschooling family who doesn’t go far above and beyond those requirements, and usually with a bit of flair, but it is important to keep in mind the state does have a subject requirement.
There’s no one coming around for proof that you’re teaching these subjects, but we maintain records of the kids being educated in these subjects should the need ever arise.
Field Trips When Homeschooling in Arizona
There are many places to take kids when homeschooling in Arizona, but we’re including a list of a handful that we have found especially enriching. We’ll follow this up with an entire post of even more field trip ideas for Arizona homeschoolers soon!
In alphabetical order:
We have only attended this festival in Tucson, but they hold it in a few areas! These people LOVE history and they do a great job bringing history to life. Definitely worth attending year after year!
A great, hands on science experience in Phoenix that is great for a variety of ages. We don’t live near here, but if we did, we would have a membership for sure! Be sure to check their website or even call them in advance because they tend to offer homeschool deals or other discounts!
Absolute must-visit museum for anyone in Arizona. We’re members here and we have no regrets! Sprawling museum bustling with wildlife, things to see, and so much to learn. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, there are hands on exhibits, there are educational talks and impressive shows too! The Packrat Playhouse is the perfect place to cool off after exploring.
AZ State Parks (and their Junior Ranger programs)
There are loads of state parks in Arizona, but Catalina State Park is one of our favorite places. The snowmelt in spring months is great for playing in and the mountains are impressive every day.
Bonus: there’s an In-N-Out Burger less than a mile away from the exit so work up an appetite hiking and then zip right over and get a burger.
Another favorite state park: Oracle State Park has a beautiful, quirky old ranch home and some lovely hiking as well.
All of the SP gift shops we’ve been in have cute one-of-a-kind items and we’re ready to get our hands on one of their Arizona State Park passports!
Homeschooling in Arizona should definitely include a visit or two (or three or four…) to Grand Canyon National Park. It’s worth the drive if you live far away! It’s one of the natural wonders of the world and let. me. tell. you… it is a WONDER! I have been multiple times and every time I go… I am blown away by the size and the beauty. Definitely consider checking out the Junior Ranger program AND if you really want to mix things up, try the North Rim!
There are a lot of zoos in the country, but I’m quite partial to this zoo in Phoenix! They have a great variety of animals (Komodo dragon!) and water features for the kids to play in when it’s hot outside. That’s more than enough to make this mama happy!
This botanical garden in Tucson has a small but sweet children’s museum inside of it! The grounds are beautiful, the bistro is amazing (prickly pear margarita anyone?), and the children’s museum has a very natural, outdoor focus. It was a great place to get inspiration for things to include in our own backyard.
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