There are NO requirements for the parent as far as education. No matter how much or how little, whether you have a high school diploma or not, does not matter. Any parent or legal guardian may make the decision to homeschool.
Missouri law states that parents MAY provide to the recorder of deeds where the student lives a signed written declaration of enrollment stating their intent to homeschool. If you choose to do this, it has be done within 30 days after beginning to homeschool and then on September 1st each year there after. If you sign the intent, there is a fee and you HAVE to sign this and pay the fee every year by September 1st after the first time.
MATCH HIGHLY recommends to NOT sign this intent. The ONLY required paper work you HAVE to do is IF your student has been in school somewhere else, you need to send a withdrawal letter to the principal or superintendent’s office. MATCH highly recommends that this letter is sent certified so that you have proof that the office received it. You will find a handy fill-able form letter on our website you can fill in and print out.
Why shouldn’t a person fill out the intent form? It can compromise the family's privacy, because the information is public and anyone can look it up. Occasionally, it has caused a family to be investigated.
Homeschool students in Missouri have to be homeschooled between the ages of 7-17. You may start earlier but you do not have to begin schooling them until the school year during which they turn 7. If your student has completed the required statutory credits toward high school graduation (more info below), they may graduate early.
If your child is enrolled in another school prior to age 7, the student will be subject to compulsory attendance until a withdrawal letter is sent to the principal.
On the student's 16th birthday, you no longer have to record their records. You MUST continue to have them homeschooled until 17, but after 16 you may drop recording the hours they spend homeschooling.
In the state of Missouri you are considered a homeschool if:
- Your main purpose is to provide private or religious-based instruction.
- Your student is between the ages of 7-16. No more than 4 unrelated are being schooled. There is no limit of related students.
- You can not charge or receive tuition, fees or other remuneration. You can NOT pay someone to homeschool your child.
- Homeschool student may participate in a variety of programs, including programs that aren’t homeschool programs.
- A plan book, diary, or other record that tells about each subject that was covered during the day. A daily log could be used for this.
- A portfolio. This consists of samples of your student's work throughout the year to show their progress. You can show what it was like at the beginning of the year, middle of the year and at the end of the year. MATCH has a nice Memory Ebook that you can download to help with items to put in your portfolio. There are two versions of this ebook. The one linked here is a condensed version of the one that MATCH members get on their website.
- A record of evaluations. Missouri doesn’t require achievement testing but we recommend giving them every 3 years so you know where the students stand academically. For the evaluations you can take a quiz or test given at the beginning, middle and end of the year to show the students progress.
The parent assumes the administrator of their school. You are not required to name your school but many do. You are the head of your school and you make decisions about choice of curriculum, schedule of classes and giving achievement tests.
Your records are YOURS! You are not required to submit them regularly to anyone. If anyone chooses to bring charges against you for truancy or educational neglect, they must go to the local prosecuting attorney and this person is allowed to request your daily log, showing courses and hours, not grades. Make sure you know who this is!
Missouri requires that the student study 5 core subjects each year.
- Social Studies
- Language Arts
Each subject material must be consonant with the students age and ability. Homeschoolers do not have IEP’s so this helps with giving the student what they need and are able to do.
Missouri requires our students to have 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year. The parent has 12 months to get those 1,000 hours in, between July 1st and June 30th. The parent does not have to homeschool year around if they do not want to. You decide what days you will be in school, how many hours the student will be in school each day, when vacation days will be. This is YOUR school and YOU are the administrator.
You must homeschool at least 600 hours in the five core subjects:
- Social Studies
- Language Arts
You are the instructor and you make the decision of how many hours are spent in the core subjects. Nothing says how many minutes you have to spend in each class. You know your student and if they struggle in one class you can spend extra time with them in that class and not as much in a class they get done quickly and are good at.
Upon a student's 16th birthday, you do not have to keep these required guidelines.
Missouri does not require a certain amount of credits for homeschool students to graduate. You determine what that is. A student is required to go to school until their 17th birthday.
Missouri does make one exception to this rule for those wanting to graduate before 17. A parent must keep a record of a “statutory credit” for each class that they do towards graduation. A statutory credit consists of 100 hours of instruction or more in a course that they take that counts towards graduation. A student may graduate early when they complete 16 statutory credits. Homeschoolers are only required to keep track of these hours IF they plan to graduate before the age of 17. Statutory credits are not used for preparing a transcript for submission to colleges, employers, etc.
Missouri does not require homeschool students to take achievement tests. MATCH does highly recommend that students take a standard tests of some sorts every 3 years to help know where they actually are in academics. These results are only for the parents.
Missouri does require the parent to keep a record of evaluations of the student’s progress. This means you can take a quiz, test, etc from each class that they do at the beginning of the year and put it in the portfolio, then another one at the middle of the year and another one at the end of the to show the progress.
Missouri does NOT require homeschoolers to take vaccinations.
Religous Freedom Act
Missouri homeschoolers do NOT have to include any concept, topic, or practice in their curriculum that goes against their school's religious doctrines.
In the state of Missouri a virtual school, stay at home school, accredited online school, Panadimic POD is under the public school law. Those that take advantage of these type of schooling are not considered homeschoolers.
Most of Missouri's homeschool law resulted from a federal court decision in 1985, that ruled the previous law was unconstitutionally vague. We are thankful for the many state legislators who support homeschooling, many of which are homeschoolers themselves. We also appreciate the lobbyists who keep us informed when bills are introduced that are not homeschool friendly. It takes all of us working together to keep the great environment for homeschooling we enjoy in Missouri today.
THIS ANALYSIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE GIVING OF LEGAL ADVICE.