Homeschooling in Arizona

How do I homeschool in Arizona?

We've moved to Arizona just about a year ago (and so far I'm loving it!). If you're like me, you thought Arizona was just a desert state, but I pleasantly found out I was wrong. The southern part of the state is deserty, but as you go up north, there are Ponderosa Pines and it snows! I live in the southern portion and although the heat is rough in the summer and then there's also the monsoon season (which my kids and I oddly love), I love all the cactii and beautiful desert landscapes. The Arizona State Park System was rated #1 in the country in 2017 and they really encourage people to get out and explore nature here, so you can find lots of outdoor activities for your homeschoolers!

Below are some of the resources I have come across for homeschooling here so far. This is currently just a starter list and I hope to add to it as we continue our homeschooling journey in Arizona, in shaa Allah.

How Do I Get Started Homeschooling in Arizona?

As far as homeschooling, Arizona is pretty lax. Arizona homeschooled students are not required to participate in state testing. You are required to fill out an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool and you can find information on homeschooling at the county level. You will need to send a birth certificate (or other qualifying proof of age) in with the affidavit (they will return the birth documentation to you), but it's basically a simple form and you only fill it out once unless you stop homeschooling and then restart at some other time. Also, this affidavit needs to be notarized.  Here are a few links to homeschooling information/affidavit forms for most of the counties in Arizona (there are 15 counties in Arizona):

Apache County
Cochise County
Coconino County
Gila County
Graham County
Greenlee County (link for  superindentent's office; doesn't appear to have a homeschooling info page)
Maricopa County (basically the Phoenix metro area/suburbs, at least 24 cities)
Mohave County
Navaho County
Pima County
Pinal County
Santa Cruz County
Yavapai County
Yuma County

Homeschool Programs Available in Arizona

Sequioa Choice - tuition free charter school where kids can do a home based study program or get instruction at academic centers. For the home based program, they send textbooks. You have to do weekly attendance and have a certain amount of hours that you are required to log each week. We tried this when we first got here but I got tired of logging the hours and the two that were enrolled were behind in some subjects but were still expected to do grade level work in those subjects so that was kind of difficult.  They do offer credit recovery  lasses for high schoolers.  You also have to send in weekly work samples (you can do this virtually)

K12 has a Arizona virtual academy, free tuition, and they send you materials.

Arizona Connections Academy - free tuition, pretty much the same as K12

Primavera Online High School - tuition free

Field Trips/Activities

Arizona Homeschool Field Trips form the Homeschool Mom - she's got an extensive listing of all kinds of places throughout Arizona (including the zoo, museums, and state parks) so definitely head over there! (I'll leave my listing on this page to those we have visited or plan on visiting.)

Arizona State Parks and County Parks

As I said earlier, Arizona State Parks were rated #1 in 2017, but I recently discovered that Maricopa County has some great parks as well that you might forget that they are county parks and not state parks. The fees are usually pretty reasonable, and most are usually per vehicle.

Around the first of the year/MLK Jr day, many of the state parks offer free admission. In addition, our local library had a full year pass of free admission to state parks for kids and I think a few family members. Every Kid in a Park offers a free pass to 4th graders.
Legoland Discovery Center
Legoland has a homeschool week (it's not free but prices are reduced). It was a little underwhelming to me, but my kids loved it and that's what's important. There are 2 kids' ride there, a 4D movie theater that plays little short lego movies with effects such as wind and bubbles.  There are many opportunities for kids to play with different lego sets in 10 lego play zones. You can also purchase lunch there as well in the little cafe area.  It is located in the Arizona Mills Shopping Mall in Tempe.

Arizona Science Center
After visiting the California Science Center, I have to say this one was kind of disappointing, but I was happy we caught it on the Fry's Free Weekend and so didn't have to pay for admission and if you get your parking validated, that's free too on that day as well. There were some interesting exhibits (my kids loved lying on the bed of nails) and there are a lot of hands on exhibits but I feel like there was a lot of reading for some of the exhibits and the younger kids wouldn't understand the point of many of the things they were playing with even if you read the explanations to them.

Casa Grande National Ruins, Casa Grande, AZ
An extended network of remains of an ancient community and irrigation canals. An Ancient Sonoran Desert People's farming community and "Great House" are preserved at Casa Grande Ruins. 

Vertuccio Farms (Mesa, AZ)
We went on their homeschooling day this year (2018) and admission was $4 per person if you brought in a non-perishable food donations. The kids had a lot of fun, even my 13 year old.

There is a mini miniature golf course.....

a neat little barrel train ride that takes you around the farm.....

an animal viewing area (goats, cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits)where you can feed and pet several types of animals
(you can be a big pig too, oy!)

an air jump, a zip line (which was closed til fall) and a few big slides.

We were hoping to be able to go through the wonderful corn maze that we saw pictures of online but they said that that is only available in the fall, so we are hoping to go back and check that out, inshaa Allah. At this time of the year (spring) you can usually pick your own peaches (around $1.50/lb) but at that particular time they said they wouldn't be ready again until the following week. I think in the fall they have a pumpkin patch.

So, it was a lot of fun and their first time to a farm. If you want to go to their annual homeschool day, it's usually around May 21/22nd ish each year (seems to be usually on a Monday).