Homeschooling is a growing movement where parents educate their children in their own homes rather than enrolling them in traditional public or private schools. There are diverse reasons why homeschooling is chosen over traditional ones, including low satisfaction in educational systems, different religious beliefs, and limitations in students’ progress in conventional schools.
In Missouri, any determined family can start homeschooling. Currently, there is no law governing the homeschool process. Still, specific requirements must be met for the school year to be valid, such as keeping work samples, evaluation records, and logs of instructional hours.
If you have doubts about homeschooling in Missouri, the options available, choosing a curriculum, record keeping, public school access, graduation requirements, field trips, and even homeschool groups, this article is for you.
There is only one option for homeschooling in Missouri. Under Missouri law, to homeschool and be considered a school equivalent, you must meet the following:
- Provide a private or religion-based education.
- Students must be between 7 and 16 years old, and a family cannot have more than four students.
- You cannot receive any remuneration for teaching.
Before you start homeschooling in Missouri, you should know that home education is not monitored or regulated by the state, and no state document is needed to start homeschooling. In other words, Missouri does not have any laws to start homeschooling.
However, once the homeschooling process begins, there are legal requirements that you must meet. Each school term must be awarded to the student a minimum of 1,000 hours, of which 600 must fall within the topics of reading, math, social studies, language arts, arts, and science. Of these 600 hours, 400 must be taken at their “regular” study site.
It is also required to keep copies of the students’ work and the periodic tests.
While homeschooling can be cheaper than a private school, you should take into account some factors:
- The curriculum can cost anywhere from $350 to $750.
- Depending on the quantity, quality, and curriculum, the materials can range from $150 to $300.
- For field trips, you should have a budget of $100 to $200.
- Extracurricular activities can cost between $100 and $500.
Therefore, in one year, the estimated cost per student is between $700 to $1,800.
There is no educational curriculum in Missouri that must be followed, as it is up to the family to choose. Following this same line, some recommendations to choose your curriculum to educate at home are:
- Know the student’s learning style and limitations.
- Learn what your teaching style is.
- Research before choosing a curriculum. Find one you are confident you can stick with.
It is advisable to adapt the curriculum to the child’s needs and check if the activities need to change a little, as long as the same learning result is obtained. Listed below, you will see a list of popular homeschool curriculums that can be adjusted to meet students’ needs. Research and compare multiple curriculum options before choosing a final program. Many will offer free trials that allow the parent and student to explore what the company offers before committing.
- School House Teachers
- Alpha Omega Publications
- ABC Mouse
- Adventure Academy
- Supercharged Science
Take advantage of free and discounted books, materials, and social events available through local libraries, community centers, and other free local events to help reduce and manage your homeschool budget.
Once the homeschooling process began, Missouri has one primary law, and that is recordkeeping. For a more detailed understanding of the requirements of the state, check out the following guide:
- Keep samples of work
This step serves to document the student’s academic progress. You can keep an academic portfolio, filing it with the works, essays, tests, and quizzes that the student receives. Also, you can have printed and digital reports for greater security.
- Keep evaluation records
Testing is the safest and most measurable way to gauge what information students are obtaining. The types of assessments that homeschoolers should have are not explicitly outlined in Missouri law. The use of national-normed tests can help you compare student progress every year. Some districts are eligible to take the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP), but you need to determine if it is your case first.
- Instructional hours documentation
By law, you must record the hours in which classes are taught and what subject was studied. Some families make a daily report of the lessons taught, and others do the weekly report. Remember also to include the location where the classes were held.
There are no additional requirements for homeschooling a child with special needs. All you have to do is follow the Missouri homeschooling requirements established by law.
If you want to make the most of their study time, it is advisable to use a curriculum for children with special needs, depending on your child’s learning ability.
Missouri law states that homeschoolers can attend public schools part-time. They can participate in sports, extracurricular activities, and programs offered by public schools without distinction.
To graduate from school in Missouri, you must complete a minimum of 24 credits. These credits are divided as follows:
- In English, four credits.
- In math, three credits.
- In social studies, three credits.
- In physical education, one credit.
- In practical arts, one credit.
- Health and personal finances, half a credit each.
- In electives, seven credits.
However, local districts may have other requirements to qualify for graduation.
Educational field trips are essential, as it is a different way of learning and clearing the mind. In homeschooling, it is no different.
You can visit several points, and it all depends on what you want to teach your child and the places closest to you. Make sure to leave a report, paper, essay, or homework about the field trip. Otherwise, it will be more of a family trip than an educational trip.
Some recommendations for field trips are:
- Bluff Dwellers Cave, Noel
- Bootheel Youth Museum, Malden
- Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic
- Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis
- Museum of Art and Archaeology, Columbia
- Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, St. Louis
- Missouri History Museum, St. Louis
- Pony Express Museum, St. Joseph
- The Money Museum, Kansas City
- Mark Twain Cave and Campground, Hannibal
- Arabia Steamboat Museum, Kansas City
In Missouri, there are several collaborative groups and partnerships for homeschoolers.
If you do not know homeschooled families, you can go to Facebook to research the communities that exist. It is best to start with the families closest to your neighborhood, so if you need any face-to-face support, you can turn to this group.
Co-ops are collaborative groups of homeschool families that support each other. These groups facilitate teamwork, such as science or physical education. Some groups even hold collaborative classes.
An excellent example of a collaborative homeschool is the Mid-Missouri Co-Op of Home Educators (CHE). This group pays an annual membership, which gives the family access to group activities such as festivals, talent shows, science fairs, and graduation ceremonies. In this case, the parents help with the planning and elaboration of these group events.
Some parents make the mistake of forgetting the importance of socialization in their children’s youth. Children who participate in these groups are provided with a safe environment in which to play and interact. In addition, they can learn the value of teamwork.
Homeschooling is an easy option in the state of Missouri. It does not have many requirements, and it is not expensive. The most advisable idea is to rely on homeschooling groups and associations because you can get discounts on field trips, apart from the social factors. Also, you can ask for help when necessary, and you can get advice from families more experienced than you on the subject.