Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Minnesota Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Minnesota? 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota homeschool requirements to get you started:
Minnesota Homeschool Law
According to Minnesota Statute 120A.22, “Every child between seven and 17 years of age must receive instruction unless the child has graduated. Every child under the age of seven who is enrolled in a half-day kindergarten, or a full-day kindergarten program on alternate days, or other kindergarten programs shall receive instruction. Except as provided in subdivision 6, a parent may withdraw a child under the age of seven from enrollment at any time.”
Per the Minnesota Department of Education, parents may create private schools in their home for their children. However, “State standards set for public schools do not apply to nonpublic schools – whether regular private schools or homeschools. Therefore, the Minnesota Department of Education nor local school districts certify or validate any nonpublic or homeschool, diploma or transcript.”
Minnesota currently recognizes only one accrediting agency, the Home-Based Educators Accrediting Association, for accrediting homeschools. Homeschools do not need to be accredited. However, one benefit of being accredited is being waived from a requirement for a nationally normed achievement test for each student ages 7-17 each year” (Minnesota Department of Education).
There is some funding available to families: “Like other nonpublic options, these schools are predominantly financed by the parents. However, Minnesota does have Nonpublic Pupil Aids that parents may claim by September 15 of each year through their public school district superintendent’s office.”
In addition, “Minnesota offers a dollar-for-dollar income tax credit for qualified low-income families, as well as an education cost subtraction (tax deduction) for many other families for up to $2650 in expenses. See the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s Individual Income Tax Fact Sheets on the K-12 Education Subtraction and Credit and Qualifying Home-School Expenses to learn about Minnesota’s K-12 education tax credit and subtraction to determine whether some taxes or taxable income can be reduced.
Additionally, Minnesota home-schools may be exempt from state sales tax on some items. Complete the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s Certificate of Exemption. For more information on what items may be eligible for state sales tax exemption, contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue” (Minnesota Department of Education).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
Based on 120A.22, subdivision 10, “A person who is providing instruction to a child must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- (1) hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and for the grade level taught;
- (2) be directly supervised by a person holding a valid Minnesota teaching license;
- (3) successfully complete a teacher competency examination;
- (4) provide instruction in a school that is accredited by an accrediting agency, recognized according to section 123B.445, or recognized by the commissioner;
- (5) hold a baccalaureate degree; or
- (6) be the parent of a child who is assessed according to the procedures in subdivision 11.”
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! You must submit the Initial Registration Form for Unaccredited Schools to begin homeschooling: “The person or nonpublic school in charge of providing instruction to a child must submit to the superintendent of the district in which the child resides the name, birth date, and address of the child; the annual tests intended to be used under section 120A.22, subdivision 11, if required; the name of each instructor; and evidence of compliance with one of the requirements specified in section 120A.22, subdivision 10:
- (1) by October 1 of the first school year the child receives instruction after reaching the age of seven;
- (2) within 15 days of when a parent withdraws a child from public school after age seven to provide instruction in a nonpublic school that is not accredited by a state-recognized accredited agency” (120A.24).
Further, this same statute requires, “The person or nonpublic school in charge of providing instruction to a child between the ages of seven and 16 and every child ages 16 through 17 for which an initial report was filed pursuant to this subdivision after the child is 16 must submit, by October 1 of each school year, a Letter of Intent to Continue to Provide Instruction under this section for all students under the person’s or school’s supervision and any changes to the information required in paragraph (a) for each student.”
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
As a homeschooler, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, you do have options: “Nonpublic school students, including home-school students, without an IEP can request shared-time instruction from any public school in Minnesota, but local policy will determine whether the shared-time option is available to the student and, if so, what the limitations are. If the student is not a resident of the district where the intended school is located and that school is willing to enroll the student as a shared-time student, then the school needs to contact the resident district to request the shared-time funding. The resident district must comply. The student must be a Minnesota resident to be eligible to generate shared-time aid.”
“Minnesota law does not allow home-school students to access supplemental online learning through the state’s shared-time law. However, home-school students may be able to access part-time online learning options by paying tuition to state-approved online learning providers. Private online learning programs also exist where parents pay tuition; generally, the parents are using the program as the home-schooling curriculum. However, some private online learning options are schools that register with the local school district and perform all of the other functions that a traditional bricks and mortar nonpublic school does.”
Note: “Online learning through a state-approved online school is a public school option, not a home-school nonpublic education option. The student or family may select a state-approved online provider of their choice and enroll directly with them. Once enrolled in the online program through either of these processes the student is considered a public school student, not a home-school student.”
And here’s another option: “Your student can take postsecondary classes through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program if they meet the requirements and are admitted to a participating Minnesota institution. Under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.09, subdivision 4, 10th, 11th or 12th grade home-school students may apply to take college classes (online or in-person) through PSEO by contacting a participating institution listed on the MDE webpage. 10th graders are restricted to enrolling in one career or technical education (CTE) course during their first semester of PSEO. A 10th grader must receive a passing score on the 8th grade Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment, or another reading assessment accepted by the enrolling institution. If your 10th grade student receives a grade of “C” or better in the CTE course, they can enroll in additional CTE courses the following semester.”
Minnesota Homeschool Requirements
Even though Minnesota does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Minnesota homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 7.
- File the required Initial Registration Form for Unaccredited Schools by October 1 of the first year or within 15 days of withdrawal from public school.
- File the required Letter of Intent to Continue to Provide Instruction by October 1 each year thereafter.
- Provide instruction “in at least the following subject areas: 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. Instruction, textbooks, and materials must be in the English language. Another language may be used pursuant to sections 124D.59 to 124D.61” (120A.22, subdivision 9).
- Complete annual assessments, if applicable.
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
Based on 120A.22, subdivision 11, annual assessment is required when you are homeschooling according to these guidelines:
- “(a) Each year the performance of every child ages seven through 16 and every child ages 16 through 17 for which an initial report was filed pursuant to section 120A.24, subdivision 1, after the child is 16 and who is not enrolled in a public school must be assessed using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination. The superintendent of the district in which the child receives instruction and the person in charge of the child’s instruction must agree about the specific examination to be used and the administration and location of the examination.
- (b) To the extent the examination in paragraph (a) does not provide assessment in all of the subject areas in subdivision 9, the parent must assess the child’s performance in the applicable subject area. This requirement applies only to a parent who provides instruction and does not meet the requirements of subdivision 10, clause (1), (2), or (3).” In other words, you do not have to submit annual assessments if you “hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and for the grade level taught; are directly supervised by a person holding a valid Minnesota teaching license; or successfully complete a teacher competency examination.”
Homeschool parents are eligible to order tests from the University of Minnesota Statewide Testing Program. You can also consider checking with other organizations, your physician, or your school district’s special education office.
What happens to my child’s annual testing results?
“If the results of the assessments in paragraphs (a) and (b) indicate that the child’s performance on the total battery score is 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” (120A.22, subdivision 11).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
According to 120A.24, “The person or nonpublic school in charge of providing instruction to a child must maintain 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. This documentation must include class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction, and descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement.” Results of annual assessments must also be included, as well as immunization records (121A.15, subdivision 8).
In addition to the required recordkeeping, we also recommend 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:
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Other test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Minnesota homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Minnesota Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Minnesota homeschool law and meeting Minnesota homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school?
According to the Minnesota Department of Education, “Home-schools and other nonpublic schools with five or fewer students may participate in their resident school district’s extracurricular activities, as outlined in Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.49. Participation in competitive sports at high school is regulated through the Minnesota High School League, (763)560-2262. Public school boards may require fees for students to participate in extracurricular activities under Minnesota State Statutes 123B.36.”
What other public school services are available to my homeschooler?
“Resident school districts,” per the Minnesota Department of Education, “must allow home-school students to receive special education services through the school district, per Minnesota Statutes, section 125A.18 and section 126C.19.”
Also, “Under Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.44, home-school students may be provided health, guidance and counseling services at a public school site, a neutral site, or the home-school. The resident district and representatives of the home-school must hold an annual consultation regarding the type, provider and location of services. The resident district governing board must make the final decision on the location of the provision of services.”
“The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has options for classroom driver’s education that are only available to full-time home-school students in situations that will lead to a home-school high school diploma, per Minnesota Statutes, section 171.05, subdivision 2(1)(ii).”
If your homeschooled child is taking classes in a district (at least part time), your child may be eligible for access to School Nutrition Program benefits. Contact Minnesota Department of Education’s Food and Nutrition Services for more information.
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
“The parent of a child who enrolls full time in public school after having been enrolled in a nonpublic school that is not accredited by a state-recognized accrediting agency must provide the enrolling public school or school district with the child’s scores on any tests administered to the child under section 120A.22, subdivision 11, and other education-related documents the enrolling school or district requires to determine where the child is placed in school and what course requirements apply” (120A.24). This documentation requirement does not apply to a shared time student not seeking a public school diploma.
The Minnesota Department of Education notes the following: “Public school districts and other organizations (colleges, military or prospective employers) may require additional documentation to transfer credits or hire a home-school student. They might request:
- A record of the student’s record of achievement
- A portfolio of work the student completed
- A list of the curriculum or textbooks
- Administration of tests and results of assessments
- An interview with the student(s)
- A conference with the home-school instructor and/or parent/guardian.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
You should make sure you have available the documentation listed in the above section. Additionally, you should know the following: “Home-school students, and students at all nonpublic institutions, must meet the graduation requirements set by the home-school or private institution. In a home-school setting, parents set the graduation requirements for high school, and the student graduates when the requirements have been met per Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.07. Minnesota’s compulsory instruction statute, which requires students be in school until age 17, only applies to students who have not yet graduated.”
Your homeschool must prepare the transcripts and diploma: “MDE does not certify or validate any private school diploma or transcript. Likewise, local public school districts do not do this for home-schools or other nonpublic schools.”
You do have options to have your homeschooler take the ACT and/or SAT college tests through your local high school or college, but the practice tests may be more difficult to find. There are homeschooling codes available for each test so that test results come to your home address rather than being sent to the high school where the test occurred. Free access to prep tests is available through the LearningExpress Library website.
As you start to explore postsecondary options, be sure to check with your child’s desired postsecondary school or organization 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 Minnesota homeschool law and Minnesota 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 Minnesota Homeschool Groups by county.