Once the decision to homeschool your child has been made, the following step is finding some available options and homeschooling programs that will adapt well to the family’s core values and child’s needs. However, it is essential to understand that homeschooling has specific regulations depending on the state and governments laws.
Homeschooling in Michigan is allowed through two options:
- Being your children’s instructor via Michigan’s statute, you are not required to notify education authorities that you are homeschooling.
- As a non-public school for which you will need to register as such with the state.
This article will review and provide resources to parents interested in homeschooling their kids in the state of Michigan. Some of the topics that will be explained here are: how to start with homeschooling, some homeschooling options in Michigan, how you can choose a homeschool curriculum, and graduation requirements.
According to HSLDA (a non-profit organization that specializes in homeschooling resources), it states on their website that Michigan has two homeschooling options when it comes to selecting which method works the best for your child and your family.
The two options provided are:
- Homeschooling under Michigan’s statute or home education program: if parents choose to teach their children through the statute, they will be required to have an organized educational program that can cover subjects like writing, English grammar, history, science, math, spelling, reading, literature, and civics.
If this option is chosen, the statute does not require the legal guardians to notify the education authorities or government that they are homeschooling their child since it states that parents have the opportunity and are authorized to educate their kids at home.
- As a non-public school: if parents want to teach their kids or others by operating as a non-public school, they need to meet some government-established standards.
- The parent or instructor chosen needs to have either a bachelor’s degree, a teaching certificate, or a teaching permit. There is only an exception if the parent wants to teach their child but has a religious objection to this law.
- To provide annual notifications that the parent is operating as a non-public school. Usually, at the start of every school year, it is indispensable to send the following data to the local school superintendent:
- Name and age of the child
- Number or name of the school district, along with the city and county.
- Name and address of the parent
- Name and age of any child that is not with regular attendance.
- There is a Michigan State Form called SM-4325, which the state department of education has specifically made to ease the process of reporting information such as courses of study, enrollment records, and instructors’ qualifications. This document can be obtained by searching Michigan’s government website and looking for “Non-Public School Membership Report.” However, this is only filled in if the superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office requests it.
- Kids in non-public schools must learn mathematics, English and reading, science, social studies, physical education, and health. In addition to this, high school students need to understand the U.S. Constitution, the Michigan Constitution, and the history of the government.
In other words, this means that the curriculum should be similar to the one taught in local district schools and go accordingly with your child’s age and grade. Aside from that, it has quite a few more requirements if this is the option chosen.
According to the laws under MCL 380.1561. of the Michigan Department of Education, parents that live in this state have the right and opportunity to home school their children. This means that the legal guardian takes complete responsibility for the child’s education and, therefore, assigns homework, gives tests, and grades them.
If you intend to teach children other than your own, you must register as a non-public school before you can do so.
It is essential to know that Michigan law requires that any child turning six years old before December 1st and under eighteen must go to school or follow the homeschool law.
Since most of the responsibility lies on the legal guardian or parent, it is necessary to determine how much time you have for homeschooling your child, a suitable teaching space, and the interest or motivation. It can be very demanding at times, so parents should prioritize the needs of their children while meeting the educational requirements.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, the cost and registration process will depend on the curriculum or educational program you choose to obtain, along with the books or instructional materials.
There are many resources to help parents homeschool kids at a more affordable cost. For example, Michigan Connections Academy provides a registration form and tuition-free enrollment for your child just like any other public school. They are a full-time educational institution that includes courses, electives, and professional teachers specialized in this field. The only costs come from school supplies and optional field trips.
After choosing the style of homeschooling that works best for your family and kid, you should now consider which curriculums are the most suitable since there is no such thing as the “perfect one.”
Parents can take a formal approach and have a strict school schedule with a traditional curriculum. Some prefer choosing a different teaching style like virtual education programs that can be completed at home and the child’s pace.
There are many curriculum options on the internet to choose from, and each has its teaching style. Here are a few of them:
- Abeka: provides a comprehensive and biblical-based curriculum from Pre-School to Grade-1.
- Sonlight: Christian homeschool curriculum with lesson plans, schedules, and materials available for pre-schoolers and high school students.
- Calvert Education Curriculum: non-religious homeschool with over 110 years of experience. They provide education programs for Pre-school and High School students and individual courses available for purchase.
- Connections Academy: provides a tuition-free online public school and offers materials for k-12 schools and students of all kinds.
- Time4Learning: is Michigan’s leading homeschool curriculum for individual families and gives self-paced lessons through a monthly subscription.
- School House Teachers: Offers a single location for specialized lesson planning, a wide variety of subjects based on age and interest, as well as printable assignments and video lessons for viewing.
- Alpha Omega Publications: Provides a Christian-based curriculum that can be done online, digitally, or with printed materials depending on the child’s preferred learning style.
As long as the kids are taught all the core subjects required by Michigan law, they can get a high school diploma. Those essential classes are math, reading, English, social studies, and science for all grades, along with the U.S. constitution, Michigan Constitution, and history.
Even though Michigan does not require instructors or parents to send or keep any record by law, it is a good idea to make a portfolio to show your kid’s progress throughout the year. This can be extremely helpful if, at any time, the homeschooler needs to go back to school. It can also be beneficial for high school transcripts for college. Programs such as Applecore, Homeschool Panda, and Homeschool Tracker, are great tools for record-keeping.
Some information to include on this homeschool portfolio:
- Scores and tests
- Report cards
- Subject work at each grade
- Extracurricular activities
- Volunteer service
Interestingly, Michigan has no definite laws associated with graduation requirements, aside from compulsory attendance, which is fundamental for students until they turn seventeen years of age. After that, legal guardians can issue their high school diplomas. Other than that, it is determined by their parent’s criteria if the child has fulfilled the graduation qualifications.
Michigan Merit Curriculum guidelines for graduation are optional, and it depends on the student’s path, especially if they want to pursue a college degree later on. It is a wise idea to consider this so the homeschooler can take all the required courses and a minimum of sixteen credits from essential subjects such as:
- language arts,
- physical education and health,
- a language other than English (for grades 9-12)
- applied arts.
We can conclude that Homeschooling in Michigan is legal based on the state’s laws. It provides various resources to parents and gives them freedom in choosing the best curriculum or educational program that is suitable for the child and the family but, at the same time, meets the Michigan Department of Education’s qualifications.
Legal guardians can choose either to teach their kids through the statute or as a non-public school and select the best educational program that meets their criteria. The cost and registration process of implementing a homeschool education will vary depending on what the parents choose as the learning style.