Michigan home school law and information
Compulsory attendance – between 6 and 16 years of age. The law was amended in 2010 to increase the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 for a child who turned 11 after December 1, 2009, or who entered grade six after 2009. The exceptions include, but are not limited to, sending a child to a state-approved nonpublic school or educating a child at home in an organized educational program.
Application – You do NOT have to request a Non-Public School Membership Reporting Form.
Parental Qualifications – (3)(a) Be a teacher or homeschool with one or claim religious exemption, or (3)(f) No requirements whatsoever!
Testing – None
Curriculum – The state does not regulate the content of the basic courses.
Reporting – None required
This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. For more home schooling requirements in Michigan, check the Michigan State Department of Education’s page: Information on Home Schools.
Michigan’s Compulsory School Attendance Law
This law states that “every parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of a child from the age of 6 to the child’s 16th birthday, shall send that child to the public schools during the entire school year” (MCL 380.1561, Section 1561). Thankfully, Michigan’s Compulsory School Attendance law also contains exemptions so that all children between the ages of 6 and 16 do NOT have to attend a public school.
MCL 380.1561, Section 1561(3): “A child is not required to attend a public school in any of the following cases:
(a) The child is attending regularly and is being taught in a state approved non-public school, which teaches subjects comparable to those taught in the public schools to children of corresponding age and grade, as determined by the course of study for the public schools of the district within which the non-public school is located.
…(b), (c) and (d) are exemptions for students living extremely far from transportation to public school, and for those in attendance in confirmation or religious classes…
(e) The child has graduated from high school or has fulfilled all requirements for high school graduation.
(f) The child is being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of Reading, Spelling, Mathematics, Science, History, Civics, Literature, Writing and English Grammar.”
MCL 380.1561, Section 1561(4): “Exemption from the requirement to attend the public school may exist under either subsection (3)(a) or (3)(f), or both, for a child being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian.”
Home Educating Under Exemption (3)(a) as a Non-Public School
If a family chooses to home school under exemption (3)(a) as a non-public school, they will be under the authority of the MDE. The MDE has authority over all non-public schools and home educators operating under exemption (3)(a) because the Non-Public School Act of 1921 gives them that authority. All non-public schools must comply with the requirements of the Act which includes the following:
388.551 Section 1.
The superintendent of public instruction is hereby given supervision of all the private, denominational and parochial schools of this state in such matters and manner as is hereinafter provided… It is the intent of this act that the sanitary conditions of such schools, the courses of study therein, and the qualifications of the teachers thereof shall be of the same standard as provided by the general school laws of the state.
388.553 Section 3.
No person shall teach or give instruction in any of the regular or elementary grade studies in any private, denominational or parochial school within this state who does not hold a certificate such as would qualify him or her to teach in like grades of the public schools of the state.
388.555 Section 5.
The superintendent of public instruction by himself, his assistants, or any duly authorized agent, shall have authority at any time to investigate and examine into the conditions of any school operating under this act… and it shall be the duty of such school to admit such superintendent… or authorized agent, and to submit for examination its sanitary condition, the records of enrollment of pupils, its courses of studies… and the qualifications of its teachers.
What Must a Non-Public School Home School Do to Exist?
To begin a non-public school home school you simply begin home schooling. You do NOT have to ask permission, get a license or even a permit to get started.
You do NOT have to request a Non-Public School Membership Reporting Form.
You must be or use a certified teacher (or claim a religious exemption to this requirement).
You must teach curriculum comparable to that taught in your local school district according to your child’s age and grade.
You must provide information regarding “enrollment of pupils, courses of studies and the qualifications of teachers” if, and only if, the Superintendent of Public Instruction or one of his/her “authorized agents” requests this information from you. You may report this information on the SM4325 form, or you may simply submit to the MDE a letter providing the information required by law.
You must submit to investigations and/or examinations by the superintendent or his agent “at any time” at your “non-public school” (your home), unless you are willing to refuse this kind of intrusion into your home and are willing to have the operation of your school suspended, and/or be taken to court over the matter. Although no school official has attempted this type of harassment, anyone choosing this exemption should know that the possibility exists for this to happen.
Home Educating Under Exemption (3)(f) as a Home Education Program
Families choosing to home school under exemption (3)(f) are not required to do any type of reporting to any school official. If you are sent a SM4325 form, you do not have to return it or make any type of response. The MDE has stated that, “If the home school family has not registered, the Department will consider the home school family to be operating under the exemption (f) solely.” There is also no law requiring that any information be provided to the local or intermediate school district. Therefore, a home school existing under (3)(f) has no responsibility to provide any information to local school officials.
To begin a home education program you simply begin home schooling. You do NOT have to ask permission, get a license or even a permit. You do NOT have to request a Non-Public School Membership Reporting Form (form SM4325). You must provide your children instruction in the subject areas of Reading, Spelling, Mathematics, Science, History, Civics, Literature, Writing and English Grammar.”
The Michigan Department of Education’s Position on the Exemptions
The following statements have been taken from a Question & Answer document which the MDE provided to all of the Local and Intermediate School District Superintendents. It details how they have interpreted their role concerning the exemptions available to home educators.
“A home school family choosing to operate under exemption (a) solely, and complying with the requirements of the Non-Public School Act is considered a non-public school.”
“A home school family choosing to operate under both exemptions (a) and (f) must comply with the requirements of both (a) and (f).”
“A home school family choosing to operate under exemption (f) solely, is NOT a non-public school and NEED NOT comply with the requirements of the Non-Public School Act.”
“The MDE plays no role with this (the family choosing exemption (f) solely) home schooling family.”
“There are no minimum qualifications for the teachers (in an exemption (f) solely home school) except that they must be the parents or legal guardians of the children.”
“The (exemption (f) solely) home school family does not report to the MDE.”
“Question: How does a home school family operating under exemption (f) provide an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing and English Grammar?
Answer: The state does not regulate the content of the basic courses.” (But the Content Standards can give you some ideas of what a child may be capable of learning in each grade level. Use for guidance only if needed.)
Michigan Homeschool Laws Help
Homeschooling in Michigan
The section of the Revised School Code that addresses Home Schools is contained in the Michigan Compiled Laws under MCL 380.1561.
If It Walks Like a Duck and Quacks Like A Duck
By Susan Evans, HEM. Introducing and passing a new exemption for homeschoolers in Michigan looked like duck soup to several individuals back in December, 1995.
Information on Home Schools
Michigan Department of Education answers your homeschooling questions in this set of pdf files.
Nonpublic and Home School Information
State definition of a nonpublic school and options for homeschool families choosing the (3)(a) option for home education. Those truly needing school district supported programs may wish to use this