Homeschooling in Missouri
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Are you thinking about moving to Missouri or have a little one ready to jump into formal homeschooling? FANTASTIC! We live in a state where the laws are easy to follow so don't be afraid to take the plunge!

So...  what do we have to do to make sure that we are in compliance?

 

1.)  Make sure you are actually legally defined as a homeschool.

Are you:

- Homeschooling for the primary purpose of private or religious-based instruction?

- Homeschooling no more than 4 students that are unrelated (between the ages of 7  when the school year begins and the compulsory attendance age for the district)?

- Not charging for your homeschooling services in the form of tuition, fees, or other compensation for the provision of instruction?

 

If the above applies to you, then you are legally defined as a homeschool!  

 

Have your children been enrolled in a public or private school? If so, you will need to give proper notice of intent to homeschool.  

 

Private schools- Check with the staff for instructions to unenroll your child. Each private school has their own process.

 

Public Schools-  If your child has been enrolled in any public school for any grade level, you must give notice. To properly give notice, you will need to file a formal withdrawal letter. The school may provide you with one of their own, but you do not have to use that one.  Feel free to decline. In fact, some districts may require you to notify them yearly if you use their form. I highly recommend the sample withdrawal form from our state homeschool organization, Families for Home Education. It can be found here: https://fhe-mo.org/Resources/3-26572.pdf

 

*Note- If you are doing virtual school at home through a public school, you would not be defined as a homeschooled student. 

 

2.) Maintain written records

-Specifically: A plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities engaged in 

AND:

-A sample of the child's academic work

-A record of evaluations of the child's academic progress

OR:

Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to the above. 

 

3.)  Track your hours. (Required for students ages 7-16)

 We are required to track 1,000 hours of educational instruction for a full school year. At least 600 hours need to be within the following subjects: Reading, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science. At least 400 of these hours need to occur at the regular homeschool location (generally, your home). 

 

You may teach any concept within your curriculum that is in accordance with your religious beliefs.  The state may not regulate how you teach each subject. 

 

Begin tracking your hours on July 1st and end on June 30th.  This DOES NOT mean that you have to start school on July 1st.  It simply means that the school year runs from July 1st to June 30th of the following year for the purpose of tracking your hours.  I don't start my school year until the 3rd week of August, but anything I do from July 1st until the start of my selected school term can go in my Hour Logbook (discussed below). 

OH MY!  1,000 hours? How will I ever be able to teach 1,000 hours?  Good news:  You have already been teaching your child each day of his life that would equate to many thousands of hours. What seems to be a daunting task is actually quite simple.  You just need to log the hours! Did you find a bird's nest in your yard and talk with your child about how the bird gathers the materials to build it? Record the time it took in your Hour Logbook! Perhaps that led to a much deeper study of different types of bird nests, habitats, and dietary needs of birds.  There's an hour (or two) to log!  

It can be recorded in a simple notebook just like this:

01/14/2021: Science (regular homeschool location)-1 hour  

 

Did you go to the zoo and learn about habitats?  Your Hour Logbook might look like this:

1/14/2021: Science (Other Location)-4 hours

 

Did you make cookies and double the batch while you learned about fractions? How much time did you spend?  That's Math.....log it! How about time at the library, field trips, and learning to find the cost per ounce during a grocery store trip? What about piano lessons, Bible study, or watching an educational film?  Do THOSE hours count?  ABSOLUTELY!  Your 1,000 hours are not limited to a book in hand while your child sits at his desk.  

 

Remember to specify where the learning took place, the subject, and total the hours each month to make sure you meet the hourly requirements.  I usually round to quarter hours, but you can also use minutes.  It's that easy!

 

Are you a member of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)?  If so, you have an amazing resource available to you!  HSLDA has prepared a spreadsheet that will automatically total your hours for you! It also tells you how many hours you still need to meet your annual requirements. The state-specific resources alone make the membership fee worth it!  If you want more information on how HSLDA can help you, let me know.    

 

For my personal records, I keep 2 books. 

-Lesson Logbook- contains all of my daily lesson plans. BJU Press Homeschool makes this logbook SUPER easy to put together at the beginning of the year.  They have already done all the planning for me.  I just put the lesson plans for each subject in a 3-ring binder . I separate each subject by a divider tab.  I follow the lesson plan in each subject every day, writing in the date completed.  

-Hour Logbook-I track my hourly progress for each child using the HSLDA spreadsheet mentioned above.  I print the completed spreadsheet monthly to eliminate the possibility of losing all of my tracked hours in the unforeseen event of a technology issue.  (Lesson learned!)

 

Keeping the 2 books serves a couple different purposes.  First, it keeps me on track.  Second, if I ever need to provide the state with my hour log, it can suffice as proof of homeschooling without providing what my child is doing each day.  If more information is needed, I can provide the logbook of lessons.    

 

You will also need to keep samples of your student's work. HSLDA recommends 2 years of records and sample work.  Me?  Well, let's just say that I read one of my daughter's 6th grade spelling journals today.  And.......  she's 24. Yes, I tend to save everything.  Just be sure that if you ever have to stand before a judge who is deciding whether or not you are truly homeschooling, that you feel confident in the 

proof you have to present.  I would much rather have too much than not enough.

 

As a mom of 6 who has been homeschooling for over 20 years, I welcome your questions. I remember the fear and uncertainty that loomed over me as a new homeschooling mom.  I never want a family to feel unsupported or unsure how to proceed in their homeschooling journey. 

 

HomeWorks by Precept Consultants are homeschooling moms just like you.  Consultants have at least a few years of experience under their belts and have a desire to assist other moms as they walk their homeschooling paths. If you want an in-person meeting with a local consultant and I'm not close to you, let me help you find one!  I'm here to help you!



Meet the Author


Jenn Leeds - HomeWorks by Precept Senior Consultant
www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Jenn-Leeds


 

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