Minnesota Homeschool Laws

While we have done our best to accurately convey the information below, it is important that you read this DISCLAIMER before proceeding.

Did you know it was illegal to homeschool in Minnesota just a few decades ago, just like in many, if not most, other states? That changed when the Minnesota Legislature passed “Compulsory Attendance Law H.F. 432” on April 30, 1987. Prior to that, several families were prosecuted for homeschooling their children.

There is no Federal Law specifically addressing homeschooling, and it is now legal to homeschool in all fifty states. However, each state has its own statues and regulations addressing homeschooling. Please contact your state-wide homeschool organization or HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) to learn the requirements in your state.

It is relatively easy to satisfy the legal demands in Minnesota. As defined in Minnesota Statue 120A.22, parents are automatically qualified to teach their children, regardless of their educational background. There are just three annual requirements to homeschool your children in Minnesota. These are easy to achieve, and are not mandated until the October 1st following your child’s seventh birthday. These are:

  1. Parents must submit their intent to homeschool in writing to the office of the school district in which they live. This can be done at any time, but in order to avoid truancy, no later than 15 days after a child stops attending a public school. By October 1st each year thereafter they must similarly submit their intent to continue homeschooling in writing to the office of the school district in which they live.

    We strongly suggest you DO NOT use reporting forms received from a school district, or even from the MN Department of Education. Not uncommonly, forms from these organizations will request answers to questions you are not legally bound to address, e.g., a supposed grade level, etc. We have seen Annual Reporting Forms from school districts which are six and eight pages in length! Instead, we suggest you complete and submit the forms published by MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators). From the beginning and for more than three decades MACHE has been working to make homeschooling legal and easy in MN. They know the minimum information you are required to provide. Their “Initial” form to start homeschooling is just two pages long, and is only a single page in length to continue homeschooling. Click here to obtain these free forms from MACHE: MN Annual Reporting Forms.

    One of the questions on this form regards typical childhood immunizations. If you’ve chosen not to immunize your children include this notarized Minnesota Conscientious Exemption to Vaccination form with your reporting form, unless you’ve previously provided this to your school district.

    Questions on how to complete these forms? Click Help.

  2. Children are required take a nationally standardized achievement test annually, until the child turns sixteen. There are several tests you could use which will satisfy this requirement. We often recommend the California Achievement Test (CAT) because in addition to satisfying this obligation, it is a good tool to tell you how you’re doing in educating your children, and is one any parent can administer in their own home.

    It is important to note that unless required by a court, parents are not required to reveal these test results to anyone, including a school district. Instead, keep these test results in your files, “just in case”.

  3. You are required to keep records of your homeschooling. The law is not explicit in describing how detailed these records need to be. In general, you should keep a record of instruction, copies of the materials used, and the results from the required annual testing (#2 above).

    You are NOT required to count hours of instruction, as is required in some other states. A record of instructions can be something as simple as a weekly chart for each child, with days of the week across the top and subjects listed down the left side. When a subject is taught, check the box under the appropriate day of the week.
    Again, unless required by a court, parents are not required to reveal any of these records to anyone, including a school district. The overwhelming majority of MN homeschoolers throw their child’s test results and homeschooling records away after graduation without anyone else ever seeing them.

The Minnesota homeschool laws also require that the following subjects are taught: reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, health, and physical education. However, how often these are taught and at what age / grade level are not defined. Therefore, you should not feel compelled to teach all of these subjects every year. You will want to be sure all these subjects are taught to your child somewhere along the way.

You can learn more about the legal requirements to homeschool in Minnesota, and learn more about homeschooling in general, by visiting these websites:

MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators)

HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)

New homeschoolers often don’t appreciate how difficult it was to get to where we are today. If you are homeschooling, you are reaping the benefits of more than three decades of hard work by these homeschooling groups, and others in other states. We urge you to consider membership in these groups as they continue the work to keep homeschooling legal and easy to implement.
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