Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Michigan Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Michigan? You may have many questions about topics like what you need to do to begin, what recordkeeping and testing is required, and how you need to interact with your local school district. You will want to start by understanding Michigan homeschool law. You may feel overwhelmed as you start this process, but there are resources available and other homeschoolers who have already succeeded on this adventure!
Here is some information on Michigan homeschool requirements to get you started:
Michigan Homeschool Law
According to Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 380.1561, “the child’s parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of the child shall send the child to a public school during the entire school year from the age of 6 to the child’s eighteenth birthday. The child’s attendance shall be continuous and consecutive for the school year fixed by the school district in which the child is enrolled.” One allowable exception is if “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.”
The Michigan Department of Education describes homeschooling as follows: “Home school education is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. The parent assigns homework, gives tests and grades these tests. The issuance of report cards, transcripts, and diplomas are the responsibility of the homeschool family (based on internal standards). If homeschooling continues through grade 12, the parent issues a high school diploma to the graduate.” There is no public funding available for homeschooling in Michigan.
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
According to the Michigan Department of Education, “There are no minimum qualifications for teachers except that they must be the parents or legal guardians of the children.” No valid Michigan teaching certificate, permit, or occupational authorization is necessary.
Note that “a parent or legal guardian reporting to MDE must have a minimum bachelor’s degree to be approved unless they claim a sincerely held religious belief against teacher certification (People v DeJonge). Reporting is required if the parent or legal guardian is seeking eligible special education services for their child(ren)” (Michigan Department of Education).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
“It is not required that a parent inform their local school of the decision to homeschool, however, it is suggested. Failure to do so may result in the student being marked absent and the involvement of the truancy officer. Notification may be a phone call or a written note to the district. Keep in mind that a written note can be placed in the student’s school record indicating when the student has withdrawn from the school district” (Michigan Department of Education).
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
Homeschooled students, according to the Michigan Department of Education, “may enroll in nonessential elective classes at the resident public school subject to the district’s enrollment policy.”
Michigan Homeschool Requirements
Even though Michigan does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Michigan homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- Notify the school district (in writing, if possible) of your intent to homeschool. This is suggested but not required.
- Teach “an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar” (MCL 380.1561). To expand, the Michigan Department of Education offers this: “Instruction must include mathematics, reading, English, science, and social studies in all grades; and the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of Michigan, and the history and present form of civil government of the United States, the State of Michigan, and the political subdivisions and municipalities of the State of Michigan in grades 10, 11, and 12.”
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
No! “There are no required tests for a home-schooled student. The parent is responsible for administering tests based upon the curriculum they use. Although not required, homeschooled students may participate in state testing at their local public school. These tests are managed by MDE and are administered at no cost to a home-schooled student. For further information, contact your local public school” (Michigan Department of Education).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to the Michigan Department of Education, “The annual reporting of a home school to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is voluntary. It is not required unless the student is requesting eligible special education services from the local public school or intermediate school district.”
Despite the lack of required reporting, the Michigan Department of Education recommends (and we agree) that you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or post-secondary pathways. This includes the following:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Michigan homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Michigan Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Michigan homeschool law and meeting Michigan homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in interscholastic sports offered by the public school?
The Michigan Department of Education has this to offer about interscholastic sports: “The supervision and control of interscholastic athletics are the responsibility of each local board of education. Most local boards have adopted policies as proposed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Please contact the appropriate local school district or the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) at (517) 332-5046 or MHSAA website – www.mhsaa.com.”
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
Your homeschool recordkeeping will be important should you decide to re-enroll your child in public school after homeschooling. According to the Michigan Department of Education, “The granting of credits and placement of students is solely determined by the receiving school. If a student attends a home school and returns to a public school, the public school generally reevaluates the students for grade placement and the transfer of credit.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
Homeschool families in Michigan are responsible for determining graduation requirements and issuing diplomas. Check with postsecondary schools and other organizations for admissions requirements.
Connect With Local Homeschoolers
Remember, too, that you are not alone. You should connect with local homeschoolers from your state, who can help you with Michigan homeschool law and Michigan homeschool requirements and offer you all kinds of practical advice and suggestions. They can give you guidance on everything from curriculum to daily schedules to recordkeeping, and they may be able to share information about local resources, support groups, and field trips. Click the image below to find Michigan Homeschool Groups by county.