Suppose you are looking to provide a tailor-made education for your child, you are in the process of relocating, or you are just looking to make changes in a seemingly hostile public-school environment. In any of these scenarios, homeschooling can be the perfect answer.
There is one requirement for homeschooling in Mississippi. A parent or legal guardian must complete an annual certificate of enrollment each year a child participates in home-based learning.
Mississippi is more flexible than other states in that there are no teacher qualifications, state-mandated subjects, standardized testing requirements, or required number of days of instruction. You can choose which topics your child will be taking, and like all other states, there is no accreditation needed for homeschooling curriculums or the parents.
A benefit of homeschooling in Mississippi is that there is no record-keeping required for any other purpose that is not personal. Now, there is no denying that these records could be helpful in the event of sudden changes or the case that you need to put your child back into regular school attendance or even start applying for colleges, but you are not required by law to do this.
Your child must be between the ages of 6 and 17 to be homeschooled. To enroll, all you have to do is request a certificate of enrollment from your county’s school attendance officer and submit it successfully before September 15th of every year you intend to homeschool. This form will require your child’s date of birth, name, contact information, and the school’s name. Additionally, there needs to be a short description of what type of education program you want your child to receive, also known as the curriculum. These requirements do not change if your child has special needs, nor are there any other processes to go through to enroll them.
Suppose you wonder if you have the time to homeschool your child. Know that you can choose from several templates and adjust them accordingly to match your schedule in the most comfortable way possible. Time4Learning is one of the most popular home instruction curriculum programs in the state. There’s also Power Homeschool Services and Acellus Academy. The prices for online homeschooling can range from $25 and up per month.
There are no space requirements as you can have your child take the courses in any available location as long as the necessary tools are available during classes. Like the ones stated above, a paid-for online curriculum provides a roadmap for the subjects and lessons to be considered. They also facilitate a class schedule while including external activities like field trips and other community-based practices to promote the socialization and engagement aspects that homeschooling can lack compared to regular school attendance.
Examples of homeschool curriculums in the state are:
- Calvert Homeschool Curriculum Review
- BJU Press Homeschool
- Alpha Omega Publications
- Time4Writing Homeschool Curriculum Review
- CTC Math Homeschool Curriculum Review
- School House Teachers
- Supercharged Science
- Power Homeschool Services
Building this curriculum is, by far, the most daunting task you will encounter when enrolling your child. This is due to the extensive number of options available and the larger sense of responsibility this much control over your child’s education brings about. You should include all the essential school subjects such as math, literature, science studies, social studies, and art. But you must also ensure that the program and its activities are diverse enough to keep them compelling and prevent your child from getting outright bored or disinterested.
It is highly recommended that you choose a dynamic and itinerant program that allows the child to stay engaged and avoid getting distracted. You can facilitate this by including both paper and computer-based lessons to prevent stagnation during the duration of the classes and making the exact term of these classes short and impactful without sacrificing the discipline required to learn.
These programs allow your child to go through their learning process at their own pace while keeping them motivated, attentive, and interested in taking the courses day by day. The amount of control you have over the general flow of the program is because there is no one-size-fits-all homeschooling curriculum. You can adapt the courses to your environment, timetable, and the knowledge about your kid’s at-home habits that only you have by choosing the appropriate approach and tools within the program they will be participating in.
Furthermore, there are homeschooling groups and co-op groups all around if you are looking to reduce the isolation and lack of socialization that a home instruction program can bring. These groups focus on providing a common place for homeschool families to socialize and get together. They provide support, information, and educational and recreational activities such as field trips, graduations, testing facilities to alleviate the rigors of having your home also be a school.
Field trips are paramount for homeschoolers because this is an aspect of regular school that you want to keep. As kids, we never forget our first visit to the planetarium, the zoo, the museum, or even the state capital. By joining one of these groups, you can make sure your child can have all these experiences, along with all the educational value they bring.
Great examples of these homeschooling groups are:
- Jackson County Home Educators
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Inclusive Homeschool Group
- North Mississippi Home Educators Association
- Panola Homeschool Connection
- Mississippi Home Educators Association (MHEA)
- Olive Branch Christian Home Educators
Some of these groups, like MHEA, are somewhat formal and require you to visit their website and follow some steps to become a member, and others, such as Gulf Coast Inclusive, are as casual as a Facebook group. Still, their enrollment or gathering methods do not take away from the tenuous work they do to make sure homeschoolers have a great community to lean on.
Co-ops are very similar to homeschooling groups, but they are far stricter and academically-oriented than their counterparts. They encourage students to learn together in tandem and lean more into a specific learning method or subject. Some of them are very religious, and they let their beliefs dictate the pulse of their lessons. An excellent example for a co-op in Mississippi would be the Starkville Homeschool Music Cooperative, and, as the name shows, their learning leans more towards music.
In the great state of Mississippi, homeschool diplomas can be issued and awarded under their requirements meaning that you can set the goals that need to be reached to graduate. These homeschool diplomas have the exact legal equivalence as a diploma awarded by a private or public school. They, therefore, have the same validity when applying to a job or a college. Nevertheless, it may still be a good idea to contact the university you have an eye on to check if any specific criteria need to be met to guarantee your homeschooled child can attend at some point if accepted.
So, go ahead and download and print a Mississippi Certificate of Enrollment in a Homeschool online and make sure you mail it to the School Attendance Officer in the county of your residence. You can obtain a list of the pertinent officers to each county online and make sure you send the certificate their way.
If you intend to apply for colleges eventually, it would be a good idea to reach out to the university to try and align the homeschooling coursework with their criteria to improve your child’s chances of acceptance and a seamless transition. Once you do, research the curriculum that best suits your needs and your child’s. Check out all of the possible options with their respective prices and pros and cons. Remember, the best thing about homeschooling is that you get to be the principal of your school.