If you are wondering how to home school in Minnesota, it’s surprisingly simple! To meet the MN homeschool requirements, you need to:
- Withdraw your child from school. Return any school-owned materials and let them know you will be homeschooling. Optional: request your child’s school records and fill out a withdrawal form.
- Submit an Intent to Homeschool to the superintendent of the school district in which you live by October 1st (or within 15 days if switching in the middle of the school year.) This is only required for students between the age of 7-17 on October 1st or for younger students who have attended public school in kindergarten or higher.
- Cover the required subjects. Keep records of the materials you use to meet the requirements.
- Administer a nationally norm-referenced achievement test at least once per year. The results of this homeschool test do not need to be submitted to the school district. Keep them for your files. If your child scores in the bottom 30th percentile, you are required to evaluate them for learning disabilities.
Withdrawing a Child from School to Start Home Schooling in MN
If you want to start homeschooling in Minnesota, often the first step is to remove your child from school. Minnesota parents have the right to withdraw their children from school at any time, and do not need to give the school advance notice or receive permission. As a result, you are free to choose your child’s last day, keeping in mind that high school students may not receive credit for work unless they complete the quarter. The law gives you 15 days from when you withdraw your child from school to homeschool until your Intent to Homeschool is due, however, the school will mark your child absent until the form is submitted, and will report them to CPS for truancy/educational neglect after 3 days, so it would be wise to submit it ASAP.
How to File your Intent to Homeschool in MN
When Minnesota parents start homeschooling, Minnesota Statute 120A.24 requires them to submit the following information to the superintendent of the school district in which they live:
- Name, birth date, and address of the child;
- The annual tests intended to be used to mee the requirements under section 120A.22, subdivision 11,
- Confirm that the form is being submitted by the parent AND
- Immunization records for all students (per Minnesota Statute 121A.15 subdivision 15)
The quickest and easiest way to do this is to use one of the forms available online. We recommend you use forms from either the Minnesota Homeschoolers Alliance (MHA) or the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators (MACHE). These forms meet the legal requirements without including anything extra. Don’t forget the immunization records– even if the school district already has them!
After completing the form, make a copy for your records, and mail, email, or hand-deliver the form and immunization records to the superintendent of the district in which you reside.
How to Home School in Minnesota: Required Subjects
Minnesota homeschool law (MN Statute 120A.22 Subd. 9) lists the required subjects as:
- basic communication skills including reading and writing, literature, and fine arts;
- mathematics and science;
- social studies including history, geography, economics, government, and citizenship; and
- health and physical education.
While the law defines specific required subjects for Minnesota homeschoolers, it does not say how to teach the subjects. Public school standards do not apply to homeschoolers. Frequently homeschoolers teach history chronologically, beginning with ancient history, and emphasize hands-on experiments in science even in preschool and kindergarten.
If you prefer to follow MN public school standards, you can find them on Minnesota Department of Education website. If you want to use the same curricula as your school district, ask if you can borrow textbooks. Minnesota school districts aren’t required to lend textbooks to home school families, but if they have extras, they are often happy to share.
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Record keeping Basics
Parents starting to home school in Minnesota Record keeping is important for all homeschoolers, whether you plan to homeschool your child’s entire academic career, or are homeschooling temporarily. Minnesota statute 120.A22 Subd. 2 requires “documentation indicating that the subjects required in section 120A.22, subdivision 9, are being taught and proof that the tests under section 120A.22, subdivision 11, have been administered.” The law specifically requires that records include:
- class schedules
- copies of materials used for instruction, and
- descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement
While the law requires homeschoolers to keep these records, they are not required to submit them to the school district. Homeschoolers would only be required to share the records in the unlikely event that the county attorney requested them as a part of an investigation of truancy/educational neglect.
Setting aside the records required by law, it is also helpful to keep work samples and test results to track skill growth and assist with placement in classes outside the home.
Meeting the MN Homeschool Test Requirement
Families that are starting to home school in Minnesota are often worried about the annual test requirement, but they shouldn’t be! Homeschool testing is low stakes and private. MN Statute 120A.22 Subd. 11 requires annual testing for homeschooled students who:
- were at least 7 on October 1st of the current school year and have not yet turned 16 OR
- began homeschooling after their 16th birthday who have not yet turned 17.
To meet the requirement, the test must be a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test. We recommend NWEA™ MAP® Growth™ tests these are online, untimed K-12 tests kids can take at home that adjust across grade-level to the performance level of the student. Book Now!
In Minnesota, homeschool parents are never required to share their test results with the school district. However, if a student scores “at or below the 30th percentile or one grade level below the performance level for children of the same age, the parent must obtain additional evaluation of the child’s abilities and performance for the purpose of determining whether the child has learning problems.”
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Connecting with the Minnesota Home School Community
Often when parents consider homeschooling, their first concern is “socialization”. The solution is simple– join a homeschool group! Here are a few places to connect with other Minnesota homeschoolers:
- Minnesota Homeschoolers Facebook Group– An active, inclusive statewide group
- Homeschool Adventures– Lists support groups, classes, field trip opportunities, and more. Focused on the Twin Cities metro
- Northland Core Facebook Group– Homeschool group for families in the Duluth/Superior area
- Minnesota Special Needs Home Educators– Support for homeschooling kids with special needs
- Homeschool Community Networking- Rochester, MN Area