As a homeschool parent, something I have been rather aloof about is the homeschool laws in Missouri. It is a pretty well known fact that you do not have to log your child’s school hours until they are seven. But, beyond that, I’m a little lost. For myself, and others like me, this column is dedicated to us! My desire is that this column provides a one-stop place to learn about Missouri laws in a simple and concise way.
Missouri’s Department of Education does not monitor or regulate homeschooling in Missouri. The state also does not have authority to issue regulations or guidelines concerning home schooling. There is no requirement of having to register your child with the state. However, Section 167.042 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, states that a parent or guardian may notify the superintendent of schools or the recorder of county deeds, in the county where the child legally resides, of their intent to homeschool. This is to be done before September 1 annually. No more than $1 service cost will be charged per child being registered.
- According to Section 167.031 of the Revised Statues of Missouri, any child between the ages of 7 and 17 must regularly attend public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools. Any parent, regardless of his/her own education, has the freedom to home educate.
- As a homeschooled student, your child must have 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which are: reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.
- A completed credit toward high school graduation is defined as 100 hours or more of instruction in a course.
A parent who is home schooling a child must maintain the following records:
- A plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student;
- A portfolio containing samples of the student’s academic work;
- A record of evaluation of the student’s academic progress; or
- Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to a, b and c.
- The school year is defined as beginning July 1 and ending the next June 30.
Children with disabilities attending a home school program may receive special education services provided by the local school district, in accordance with Section 162.996 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and the State Plan for Special Education. (Homeschooling- MO Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Online)
Shemonline.org has a printable spreadsheet to track hours as well as a sample withdrawal letter if you are removing your child from the public school system. Other organizations I highly recommend joining are the Families for Home Education (FHE) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Here’s why:
- Through the FHE, you become a part of protecting Missouri’s home educator’s right to home school their children as they want. They have been actively working to secure this fundamental right for 25 years.
- The HSLDA “is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.” They can represent members in matters that include conflict with state and local officials and advocate on Capitol Hill, in state legislatures, in the media and for the homeschool movement in general by providing research on the progress of homeschooling.
We are now expecting our fourth child due this February. I have loved the flexibility homeschooling has offered. I started my school year early so that our “summer” will begin when the baby is born, that way I can rest and the family as a whole can take a break and enjoy our new addition. Of course, school never really stops in our home. We do lessons throughout the summer and breaks even. We have fun with it and try to shy away from creating some sort of concrete mold we must fit in.
Homeschool hours can be very creative within a homeschool setting. If your child is learning something, you can count it as hours. Just fit it into whatever category it associates with. Cooking using a recipe can be math or science, a puppet show can be drama, riding a bike can be PE, using their money to make a purchase is math, driving in the car listening to memory work, etc. The possibilities are endless!
We as Missourians are so fortunate and blessed to live in a state that recognizes and protects our rights as homeschoolers. However, we must continue to fight for this right by joining groups such as the FHE and HSLDA. Let’s continue to advocate and stand up for this wonderful right!