Mississippi homeschool law and information
Home schools meet the definition of “nonpublic schools”, which means an institution for the teaching of children, consisting of a physical plant, whether owned or leased, including a home, instructional staff members and students, and which is in session each school year. This definition shall include, but not be limited to, private, church, parochial, and home instruction
programs. Mississippi Code Ann. 37-13-91 (2) (I).
The parent/guardian of a child enrolled in a legitimate home school program is required to complete a “Certificate of Enrollment” and return it to the school attendance officer where such child resides on or before September 15 of each year. Miss. Code Ann. 37-13-91 (3) [Below]
Other than the Certificate of Enrollment, there are no current Mississippi state laws concerning requirements for home schooling programs.
*This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at your public library.
Compulsory attendance – Between 6 and 17 years of age.
No educational requirements for parents.
No standardized testing.
No reporting procedure.
(3) A parent guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child in this state shall cause the child to enroll in and attend a public school or legitimate nonpublic school for the period of time that the child is of compulsory school age except under the following circumstances:
(c) When a compulsory-school-age child is being educated in a legitimate home instruction program.
The parent guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child described in this subsection or the parent guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child attending any nonpublic school or the appropriate school official for any or all children attending a nonpublic school shall complete a certificate of enrollment in order to facilitate the administration of this section.
The form of the certificate of enrollment shall be prepared by the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement of the State Department of Education and shall be designed to obtain the following information only:
(i) The name address telephone number and date of birth of the compulsory-school-age child;
(ii) The name address and telephone number of the parent guardian or custodian of the compulsory-school-age child;
(iii) A simple description of the type of education the compulsory-school-age child is receiving and if the child is enrolled in a nonpublic school the name and address of the school; and
(iv) The signature of the parent guardian or custodian of the compulsory-school-age child or for any or all compulsory-school-age child or children attending a nonpublic school the signature of the appropriate school official and the date signed.
The certificate of enrollment shall be returned to the school attendance officer where the child resides on or before September 15 of each year. Any parent guardian or custodian found by the school attendance officer to be in noncompliance with this section shall comply after written notice of the noncompliance by the school attendance officer with this subsection within ten (10) days after the notice or be in violation of this section. However in the event the child has been enrolled in a public school within fifteen (15) calendar days after the first day of the school year as required in subsection (6) the parent or custodian may at a later date enroll the child in a legitimate nonpublic school or legitimate home instruction program and send the certificate of enrollment to the school attendance officer and be in compliance with this subsection.
For the purposes of this subsection a legitimate nonpublic school or legitimate home instruction program shall be those not operated or instituted for the purpose of avoiding or circumventing the compulsory attendance law.
(9) Notwithstanding any provision or implication herein to the contrary it is not the intention of this section to impair the primary right and the obligation of the parent or parents or person or persons in loco parentis to a child to choose the proper education and training for such child and nothing in this section shall ever be construed to grant by implication or otherwise to the State of Mississippi any of its officers agencies or subdivisions any right or authority to control manage supervise or make any suggestion as to the control management or supervision of any private or parochial school or institution for the education or training of children of any kind whatsoever that is not a public school according to the laws of this state; and this section shall never be construed so as to grant by implication or otherwise any right or authority to any state agency or other entity to control manage supervise provide for or affect the operation management program curriculum admissions policy or discipline of any such school or home instruction program.
Parents in Mississippi are required to file an annual Certificate of Non-Public Enrollment with the county’s school attendance officer(SAO) by September 15, but if the move to Mississippi occurs after September 15, there is no penalty for late filing, and there is no prohibition of homeschooling for the remainder of the school year.
The same certificate of enrollment is required for children attending ANY non-public school. The certificate must be requested from the county of residence (e.g., in Hinds County, contact the District Attorney’s office) or might be available during a local support group’s conference. It must include the names and addresses of parents and children involved, dates of birth of the children, and a simple description of the type of education the children are receiving. Keep it to one page. It is not necessary to list types of curriculum or correspondence / umbrella schools. Only list the areas of study in a traditional format. Example:
“Instruction will be given in the following areas, but not limited to, English, history, science, math, P.E., foreign language, and other areas of interest.”
There are currently no standardized testing requirements, no portfolio requirements, and no teacher certification requirements for parents; however, the law does define legitimate home schools and other non-public schools as those not operated for the “purpose of avoiding or circumventing the compulsory attendance law.”
School Attendance Enforcement
Age of Attendance. Mississippi Attorney General Opinions Relating to Compulsory School Attendance.