Homeschooling

Parents may wish to homeschool their children for any of many reasons, religious or otherwise. Some parents are unsure about details regarding this and may want more information before beginning this process.

Potential homeschoolers need to be familiar with the portions of Chapter 167 of the Revised Missouri Statutes which apply to homeschooling. A link to this statute is provided below. Becoming aware of the requirements regarding homeschooling, parents can make informed decisions regarding this mode of education as options are considered.

The homeschooling processes contain difficulties at times unknown to parents. One difficulty is the situation regarding grade placement if and when parents decide they want to enroll or re-enroll their children in public school. Sometimes it is assumed, for instance, that if a child’s homeschooling began during their fifth grade year and three years later it is decided to return to a public school, the child will then be placed in the eighth grade. This could easily be an incorrect assumption. When a child is enrolled at a public school after being homeschooled for a period of time, the question the district has to deal with is “What grade does this student now actually belong in?”

In order to determine the child's achievement levels, individual testing is then sometimes necessary and is a latitude the district retains. The experiences many school districts have with children who have been homeschooled is that their achievement may be average to excellent in some areas, but uneven or poor in other areas.

It is very challenging and time-consuming (and sometimes expensive) for parents to home school their children at a pace commensurate with that done by trained teachers furnished with contemporary materials. There is a variety of curricular materials available by private homeschooling entities. We do not provide any materials for this or test home schooled children’s progress while they're being homeschooled. The learning of social skills among peers also warrants thoughtful consideration. This is an element frequently minimized by home schooled students, but is an important part of the growth and development of the child.

In this same regard, the supervision of this process by local authorities in various parts of the country varies. In some areas, homeschooling is fairly closely supervised; in others, supervision is tenuous or only nominal. In Missouri, such students still fall under the compulsory attendance statutes until their 16th birthday, so records and logs must be kept in order to meet the applicable state statutes and thereby avoid possible educational neglect charges, for which a fine or imprisonment may be imposed.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not regulate or monitor home schooling. There is no registration required with the state. There is no program for the inspection, approval, or accreditation of home schools in Missouri. The state does not provide any curriculum guidance or materials. If your child currently attends a public school, the parent or legal guardian should follow the school’s policy on withdrawing the child from school. If a home-school student is enrolled in a public school, the school will follow local board policy for placement of the student. There is no state recognized high school diploma for home schooled students. Home schooled students may take the high school equivalency examination to obtain a HSE (formerly GED) certificate.

Statutory provisions for homeschooling are summarized as follows:

  1. Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not have to have a teaching certificate or meet any education requirement, under current law.
  2. According to legislation a parent or guardian of a child, between seven and 16 years of age, shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools.
  3. If a parent decides to home school, he or she shall offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 to 600 hours shall occur in the home location.
  4. The school year is defined as beginning July 1 and ending the next June 30.
  5. Handicapped children 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 Statues of Missouri and State Plan for Special Education if parents provide transportation, if a suitable time can be arranged and if immunizations are maintained.
  6. A parent who is homeschooling 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.
  • Other written or credible evidence equivalent to the above.

The parent should give a courtesy notification to their local superintendent of schools, preferably at the start of each year if possible. This can prevent awkward situations, such as neighbors calling the school district to report presumed truancy and then the district moving forward on such a report.

Pursuant to Missouri Public School Law 167.042: For the purpose of minimizing unnecessary investigations due to reports of truancy, each parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child who causes his child to attend regularly a home school may provide to the recorder of deeds of the county where the child legally resides, or to the chief school officer of the public school district where the child legally resides, a signed, written declaration of enrollment stating their intent for the child to attend a home school within thirty days after the establishment of the home school and by September first annually thereafter. The name and age of each child attending the home school, the address and telephone number of the home school, the name of each person teaching in the home school and the name, address and signature of each person making the declaration of enrollment. A declaration of enrollment to provide a home school shall not be cause to investigate violations of section 167.031(compulsory attendance law).

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