New to Homeschooling? Legalities and Making It Official

homeschool mom with young daughter

Welcome! This series on “New to Homeschooling” is broken up into posts using frequently asked questions about home education and I answer them as efficiently as I can. My posts are reflective of my home state of Minnesota when it comes to laws, but I will put links within to locate information relevant to other states as needed.

The questions I’ll cover in this post will be those surrounding the legalities of homeschooling and the proper steps to officially begin. Please check back often; I’m working hard to organize the information I have and present it as clearly and concisely as possible for any of you new homeschoolers. I included a handy “Checklist” at the bottom of this post that gives you a simplified run down of the reporting steps.

Question: Is homeschooling actually legal and who, if anyone, do I need to notify?

Yes, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. However, requirements on reporting vary wildly from state to state. I’m going to cover the laws in my state of Minnesota. I’ll put a link further down in the post on how you can find the laws in other states.

I would advise anyone thinking about home educating in Minnesota to read both of these statutes in their entirety. Keep in mind, the laws on compulsory education are written for all types of education (public schools, private schools, etc).

You can find a link to the Minnesota the Compulsory Instruction law here.

And the Reporting Statute for Minnesota here.

Submitting your letter of intention to the district is fairly straightforward. There are pro-homeschooling organizations that make it easy by providing printable forms (I will provide links below). The school district also has forms you can use to report your student. However, be aware that any forms from a school district or the state are strongly discouraged since they routinely ask for more information than is legally required. This can set a dangerous precedent to increase regulation on homeschoolers. You can forgo either of these methods if you wish by simply writing a letter to your district with the information required (see more on this below).

Question: How do I officially withdraw my child from public school?

What I did for my son who was attending public school was inform the school in writing when his last day would be and that I’d be contacting the district superintendent with the proper paperwork to begin homeschooling. I made arrangements with the school office to pick up all of his belongings and retrieve any records I requested.

After that, I merely followed the reporting statutes listed above by sending in the form to the district within 15 days of withdrawing my son. The following October 1st all I had to do was mail in my “Letter of Intent to Continue Homeschooling”. Easy Peasy! I put links to the forms at the bottom of this post.

Question: Do I have to have a degree or teaching license to homeschool?

No, you do not. Being the parent qualifies you to teach your own child(ren).

If you are teaching someone other than your own children then you need to be qualified in ONE of the following ways:

  • Have a valid Minnesota teaching license in the relevant field and grade
  • Be directly supervised by a licensed teacher
  • Successfully complete a teacher competency exam
  • Provide instruction in a school that is accredited by a state-recognized accrediting agency
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree
homeschooling - toddler walking with parents

Well, that’s a basic outline of my state’s statutes and how to officially begin homeschooling. My hope is this initial article eliminates the fear in taking the first steps to home schooling. If there is a question you’d like answered please put it in the comments and I will work it in as I can.

Stick around! In upcoming posts I’ll cover:

  • Homeschooling Organizations and Why They’re Important
  • What is a Standardized Test?
  • The Difference Between Programs Like K12/Connections Academy and Homeschooling.
  • Required Subjects (for Minnesota)
  • Required Hours and Scheduling

FREE PRINTABLE: Helpful Checklist for Home Education in Minnesota

Links:

Find the homeschooling laws in your state
Minnesota Initial Report to the Superintendent This is what you file your first time.
Minnesota Letter of Intent to Continue Homeschooling File this form in subsequent years of homeschooling.

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