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Missouri Law

While reading the law may seem initially overwhelming, homeschooling in Missouri is easy.  We suggest you chat with experienced homeschoolers. Please note that there is NO requirement to register nor to test in Missouri.

Revised Statutes of Missouri Related to Home Schooling

Sections 162.996, 167.031 through 167.071, and Section 210.167 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri provide the framework for home schooling in Missouri.

  • Section 162.996 Handicapped children attending private, parochial, parish or home schools, districts may provide special educational services--state aid, how calculated.
  • Section 167.031
    167.031. 1. Every parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control or custody of a child not enrolled in a public, private, parochial, parish school or full-time equivalent attendance in a combination of such schools and between the ages of seven years and the compulsory attendance age for the district is responsible for enrolling the child in a program of academic instruction which complies with subsection 2 of this section. Any parent, guardian or other person who enrolls a child between the ages of five and seven years in a public school program of academic instruction shall cause such child to attend the academic program on a regular basis, according to this section [LEARN interjects - see subsection (3) below]. Nonattendance by such child shall cause such parent, guardian or other responsible person to be in violation of the provisions of section 167.061, except as provided by this section. A parent, guardian or other person in this state having charge, control, or custody of a child between the ages of seven years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools not less than the entire school term of the school which the child attends; except that:

    (1) A child who, to the satisfaction of the superintendent of public schools of the district in which he resides, or if there is no superintendent then the chief school officer, is determined to be mentally or physically incapacitated may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof;

    (2) A child between fourteen years of age and the compulsory attendance age for the district may be excused from attendance at school for the full time required, or any part thereof, by the superintendent of public schools of the district, or if there is none then by a court of competent jurisdiction, when legal employment has been obtained by the child and found to be desirable, and after the parents or guardian of the child have been advised of the pending action; or

    (3) A child between five and seven years of age shall be excused from attendance at school if a parent, guardian or other person having charge, control or custody of the child makes a written request that the child be dropped from the school's rolls.

    2. (1) As used in sections 167.031 to 167.071, a "home school" is a school, whether incorporated or unincorporated, that:

    (a) Has as its primary purpose the provision of private or religious-based instruction;

    (b) Enrolls pupils between the ages of seven years and the compulsory attendance age for the district, of which no more than four are unrelated by affinity or consanguinity in the third degree; and

    (c) Does not charge or receive consideration in the form of tuition, fees, or other remuneration in a genuine and fair exchange for provision of instruction.

    (2) As evidence that a child is receiving regular instruction, the parent shall, except as otherwise provided in this subsection:

    (a) Maintain the following records:

    a. A plan book, diary, or other written record indicating subjects taught and activities engaged in; and

    b. A portfolio of samples of the child's academic work; and

    c. A record of evaluations of the child's academic progress; or

    d. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to subparagraphs a., b. and c.; and

    (b) Offer at least one thousand hours of instruction, at least six hundred hours of which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science or academic courses that are related to the aforementioned subject areas and consonant with the pupil's age and ability. At least four hundred of the six hundred hours shall occur at the regular home school location.

    (3) The requirements of subdivision (2) of this subsection shall not apply to any pupil above the age of sixteen years.

    3. Nothing in this section shall require a private, parochial, parish or home school to include in its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice in conflict with the school's religious doctrines or to exclude from its curriculum any concept, topic, or practice consistent with the school's religious doctrines. Any other provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, all departments or agencies of the state of Missouri shall be prohibited from dictating through rule, regulation or other device any statewide curriculum for private, parochial, parish or home schools.

    4. A school year begins on the first day of July and ends on the thirtieth day of June following.

    5. The production by a parent of a daily log showing that a home school has a course of instruction which satisfies the requirements of this section or, in the case of a pupil over the age of sixteen years who attended a metropolitan school district the previous year, a written statement that the pupil is attending home school in compliance with this section shall be a defense to any prosecution under this section and to any charge or action for educational neglect brought pursuant to chapter 210.

    6. As used in sections 167.031 to 167.051, the term "compulsory attendance age for the district" shall mean:

    (1) Seventeen years of age for any metropolitan school district for which the school board adopts a resolution to establish such compulsory attendance age; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted; and

    (2) Seventeen years of age or having successfully completed sixteen credits towards high school graduation in all other cases.

    The school board of a metropolitan school district for which the compulsory attendance age is seventeen years may adopt a resolution to lower the compulsory attendance age to sixteen years; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution is adopted.

    7. For purposes of subsection 2 of this section as applied in subsection 6 herein, a "completed credit towards high school graduation" shall be defined as one hundred hours or more of instruction in a course. Home school education enforcement and records pursuant to this section, and sections 210.167 and 211.031, shall be subject to review only by the local prosecuting attorney.

    (L. 1963 p. 200 § 8-3, A.L. 1977 H.B. 130, A.L. 1986 S.B. 795, A.L. 1990 S.B. 740, A.L. 1993 S.B. 380, A.L. 2004 S.B. 968 and S.B. 969, A.L. 2006 H.B. 1182, A.L. 2008 H.B. 1550, A.L. 2009 S.B. 291)

    (Source: RSMo 1959 § 164.010)

    CROSS REFERENCES:

    Average daily attendance defined for apportionment of school money, 163.011

    Provisions affecting metropolitan school district effective for school year beginning 2007-2008 and terminate after school year ending 2011-2012, 167.052

    (2005) To be actionable, failure to cause child to attend school regularly must be done knowingly or purposely. State v. Self, 155 S.W.3d 756 (Mo.banc).

  • Section 167.042
    Home school, declaration of enrollment, contents--filing with recorder of deeds or chief school officer--fee.
  • Section 167.071
    School attendance officers in seven-director districts, powers and duties--powers of police officers in certain areas.
  • Section 210.167
    Report to school district on violations of compulsory school attendance law--referral by school district to prosecutor, when.


Homeschool Information from the Department of Education

Accreditation

The Missouri State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education do not have authority to regulate private or home schools.  There is no program for the inspection, approval, or accreditation of home schools in Missouri.

Curriculum/Textbooks

Missouri does not have a statewide-adopted school curriculum nor is there a state-approved textbook listing.  The selection of instructional materials is the responsibility of parents who home school their children.  Missouri public, private, and home schooled students have the option to take online courses through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Virtual Instruction Program (MoVIP). (L.E.A.R.N. interjects - Students taking MoVIP classes are dual enrolled in the contracting public school district and are considered public school students, thus subject to those requirements and testing.)

Diplomas

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 General Educational Development (GED) certificate.  (L.E.A.R.N. interjects - A GED is not required for employment, nor for college admission.  Both are routinely obtained with a parent conferred homeschool diploma)

Transfer Credit

Public School districts should have a written board adopted "assignment to grade level" policy which addresses the transfer of students from one school to another.  This policy should address the transfer of grades and credit requirements for that district.  The Department recommends requesting the policy from the enrolling district for more information regarding that district's transfer policy.  Many school district policy manuals are available on that district's website.

The Compulsory Attendance Law

Statute 167.031, RSMo, states that any parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of a child between the ages of seven (7) and the compulsory attendance age for the district, must ensure that the child is enrolled in and regularly attends public, private, parochial school, home school or a combination of schools for the full term of the school year.  

  1. The term "compulsory attendance age for the district" shall mean seventeen (17) years of age or having successfully completed sixteen (16) credits towards high school graduation in all other cases.
  2. Children between the ages of five (5) and seven (7) are not required to be enrolled in school.  However, if they are enrolled in a public school their parent, guardian or custodian must ensure that they regularly attend.

Exceptions to the Compulsory Attendance Law

  • A child who is determined by the superintendent of schools or the chief school officer of a school to be mentally or physically incapacitated may be excused from attendance at school for the full term required, or any part thereof.
  • A child between the ages of fourteen (14) and seventeen (17) may be excused from attending school full time by the superintendent of the public school or by a court of competent jurisdiction when legal employment has been obtained by the child.
  • A child between the ages of five (5) and seven (7) currently enrolled in a public school shall be excused from attendance if a parent, guardian or other person having custody makes a written request that the child be dropped from the school's roll.

Compulsory Attendance Frequently Asked Questions
  • May students attend a combination of schools during the school day?
    • Yes.  Any student may be enrolled in and attend a public, private, parochial or home school or a combination of schools during the school day.  For example, a student may attend public school in the morning and be home schooled in the afternoon.
  • How many different schools might one student enroll in and attend during a single school day?
    • There is no limit specified in statute.
  • Who bears the primary responsiblity of ensuring that a child within compulsory attendance ages regularly attends one or a combination of schools as required by law?
    • Every parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of a child between the ages of seven (7) and the compulsory attendance age for the district has the primary responsibility of ensuring that the child regularly attends school. A parent, guardian or custodian of a child or children who do not regularly attend school may be reported to the Department of Social Services, Children's Division, or to the county prosecutor's office.  A violation of the compulsory attendance law is a class C misdemeanor.

.Part-Time Public School Enrollment/Attendance

  • The interests and needs of part-time students may be taken into account, but the law does not require a school or school district to make any scheduling or other adjustments to accommodate students wishing to attend part-time.
  • Many local boards of education have adopted policies on part-time attendance to provide for the orderly, efficient, and safe conduct in the district's schools; not for the purpose of preventing or restricting part-time enrollment.
  • Public school districts should establish "check in" and "check out" procedures to ensure that all part-time students are accounted for during the school day.

Transportation of Part-Time Students

A parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of a student enrolled part-time must arrange, when necessary, for transportation among the schools in which the student is enrolled with the following exception:

  • A part-time student may be transported on a public school bus from the student's home to a public school if his/her part-time enrollment in the public school begins when the school day begins.  The student may also be transported by public school bus from a public school to the student's home if the student's part-time attendance ends when the school day ends.

Average Daily Attendance for State Foundation Aid

The portion of the day during which a resident, part-time student is enrolled in and attends public school is counted in the same manner for state aid as any other student.  A student is counted only for the period of time that he/she is in actual attendance at school.

Athletics and other Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities

The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) governs student eligibility for participation in many extra-curricular activities.  To be eligible to participate in MSHSAA sanctioned events, MSHSAA requires students in its member schools to be enrolled for a certain number of hours.  Non-MSHSAA extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are governed by local school board policy.