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Minnesota Homeschool How-To

Who can legally homeschool?

    1. Parents as long as they follow reporting and testing requirements and document that they have been providing instruction.

    2. 5 other possibilities exist in MN for Non-parent instructors
        a. a valid MN teaching license in the field and for the grade level taught
        b. be directly supervised by a person holding a valid MN teaching license
        c. successfully complete a teacher competency exam
        d. provide instuction in an accredited school 
        e. hold a baccalaureate degree

Students enrolled in government funded online school are considered public school students.  All of the regulations, curriulum standards, record keeping, attendance mandates, graduation requirements, and performance assessments are directed by the government school.  example K-12 online school.

Reporting requirements
    1. Name, birthdate, and address of each child between the ages of 7 and 16
    2. The name of each instuctor and evidence of compliance with above requirements
    3. Immunization records or a notorized “conscientiously held beliefs” opt out at age 7 and again at age 12.
If you choose the conscientious exemption, you are required to take the additional step of submitting it to the Minnesota Department of Health, as well as submit the form with your annual reporting to the school district. The address for the State Department of Health is: 

625 Roberts Street North 
Orville Freeman Building 
ATTN: IDEPC/Immunizations 
St. Paul MN 55155

 You can write up your own statement and have it notarized or submit a list of vaccinations separately to the school district. However, you should list any vaccines your kids have had up to this point. 

    4. The national norm-reference test you intend to administer.
        CAT, Peabody, Iowa Test, P.A.S.S., Stanford Achievement, Woodcock Johnston...

Ages for reporting    
    Form must be submitted before October 1st.
    Start the year your child turns 7, stop the year your child turns 16 under state law.
    Exceptions for children already enrolled in public school.

Report card
    No longer required to submit report cards

The “School Packet”
    1. You are not required to fill out any of the forms in the packet that the school district sends you, they ask for information you are not required to provide.  
    2. We recommend the MACHE forms.
Subjects required to be taught
    1. Basic communication skills including reading, writing, literature, and fine arts
    2. Mathematics and Science
    3. Social studies including history, geography, and government
    4. Health and physcal education

Not all need to be taught each semester or year, but you should cover these areas on a regular basis.

All students between the ages of 7 and 16 are required to take a nationally norm-referenced test.

The superintendent and parent must agree concerning the exam to be used and the administration and location of the exam.  The superintendent must submitt any objection in writing and then must work with you to come to an agreement.  You have equal say in this discussion.

Results are private and need not be shared with the distict, UNLESS you intend to enroll your student in public school full time.  Time shared classes with no intention of getting a diploma from that school do not fall under this requirement.  Some school districts may request test scores, you do NOT need to comply with this request.

You do not need to give an exact date or time of the testing.

Keep the testing results in your file.  

If you want to keep testing scores confidential, do not use the State of MN testing services, even though the school district may recommend them.  Test scores may become known to local districts.

What if my child scores poorly?
“If 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 addition evaluation of the child’s abilities and performance for the purpose of determining whether the child has learning problems.” M.S. 120A.22 Subd. 11(c)

The statue does NOT require the parent to report the score to the school district.  It is the parent’s right to select any additional evaluations to determine learning problems.

There is no state or federal law that contains the definition of learning problems.  No requirement that this evaluation meet any special education standards.  Further, there is no requiremnt that the results of these evaluations be given to the school district.  All you need to do is prove thay you have done the evaluations.

No statutory requirements on where the test must be performed.  Most testing is done at the home.

Instructional calendar
You do not need to submit an instructional calender to the school district.

It is wise to maintain a calendar or documentation of your educational time in the rare case that a child protection case is brought against your family.  Lesson plans with the completed lessons checked off, along with a bibliography of materials used is adequate for this.

Do I need to allow a home visit by district personnel?
No. The law allowing a superintendent one annual visit to a non-public school and the opportunity for homeschoolers to opt out of that visit by providing their documentation to the superintendent for review was repealed in 2011. Superintendents no longer have the right to make an annual visit or to require that you provide them with documentation in lieu of the annual visit. The Legislature has recognized that homeschoolers have done an excellent job in providing education for their children and there is no need for the superintendent to expend tax dollars to be your overseer. 

You still have to provide proof of your instruction in the rare case of a prosecution or a child protection matter brought by the county. Therefore, for your own protection you are still obligated to maintain documentation showing you are educating your children. 

Does my child need to participate in preschool screening? 
No. Preschool screening programs are required for children who will enroll in public school and they are optional for those who will be in non-public schools. Districts will often send a letter indicating that the preschool screening is mandatory for all students. What they don't tell you is that it is mandatory only for all students who will be attending public school. There is a formula that allows school districts to get paid additional dollars the sooner they get children into preschool screening and this often results in very aggressive recruiting for you to participate in the program whether your child will be going to public school or not. Feel free to be graciously firm in informing them that you will not be sending your kids to public school and they will typically stop trying to recruit you for the screening. 

Who issues a diploma to my child? 
You, as the parent and administrator of your homeschool, are responsible to determine the graduation requirements for your child. A diploma is the documentation that certifies your child has completed your school’s education requirements. You do not need to give your student any specific paper diploma. 
More important than a diploma is a transcript of the courses taken and the grades received for grades 9-12. It is this record a postsecondary institution will request before admitting a student. If your child is planning on attending a postsecondary institution, then it is wise to plan ahead and determine the requirements the institution will have for students enrolling in their program     

Is there public money available for me for educational materials? 
Yes, Minnesota Rules, Chapter 3540.300 state: “In order to promote equal educational opportunity for every student in Minnesota and to assure all students and their parents freedom of choice in education, textbooks, individualized instructional materials, standardized test, health services and guidance and counseling services must be made available to students in nonpublic schools according to Minnesota Statues, Sections 123B.40 to 123B.48.” The State of Minnesota allots funds to school districts for pupils attending nonpublic schools, including homeschools. The funds are referred to as Non-Public Pupil Aid and the allotted aid typically only covers a limited amount. For example, textbook and test aid is usually less than $90 per pupil.
To request funding from your local district, you must complete a Pupil Request Form (Pupil Report Form ED 01650-21) and file the form in duplicate with your local public school district. The form should be filed after school starts in the fall but no later than October 1st. To estimate future funding needs, a district may ask you each spring whether you anticipate using the funds during the next school year. However, the formal request for funds must be submitted in the fall. 

This program can be very cumbersome and intrusive to your privacy as a homeschool. It was originally designed for use by traditional brick-and-mortar private schools. 

Minnesota Statues, Sections 123B.40 to 123B.48, outline the rules and define the qualifying expenditures. All materials provided by the local district are on loan to nonpublic school pupils and belong to the local district. The district can require you to turn them back to the district upon completion of your use. Consumable items such as workbooks, magazine subscriptions, standardized tests, etc. are generally non-returnable. 

Qualified educational materials are divided into three general categories. The general categories are: textbooks, individual instruction or cooperative learning materials, and standardized tests. See Minnesota Statues 123B.41 and 123B.42 for the specific descriptions and definitions. All of the materials provided under these rules must be “secular, neutral, nonideological and … incapable of diversion for religious use.”
Textbook. "Textbook" means any book or book substitute which a pupil uses as a text or text substitute in a particular class or program in the school regularly attended and a copy of which is expected to be available for the individual use of each pupil in this class or program. The textbook reimbursement statutes allow the purchase of "electronic books as well as other printed materials delivered electronically."
Individualized instructional or cooperative learning materials. "Individualized instructional or cooperative learning materials" means educational materials which: (a) are designed primarily for individual pupil use or use by pupils in a cooperative learning group in a particular class or program in the school the pupil regularly attends; (b) are secular, neutral, nonideological and not capable of diversion for religious use; and (c) are available, used by, or of benefit to Minnesota public school pupils. "Individualized instructional or cooperative learning materials" do not include instructional equipment, instructional hardware, or ordinary daily consumable classroom supplies. 
Standardized tests. "Standardized tests" means standardized tests and scoring services which are provided by commercial publishing organizations or the state and which are in use in the public schools of Minnesota to measure the progress of pupils in secular subjects. 

Guidance and counseling services. "Guidance and counseling services" means all activities of a licensed counselor in counseling pupils and parents, providing counseling on learning problems, evaluating the abilities of pupils, assisting pupils in personal and social development and providing referral assistance. 
Health services. "Health services" means physician, dental, nursing or optometric services and health supplies brought to the site by the health professional for pupil usage in the field of physical or mental health; provided the term does not include direct educational instruction, services which are required pursuant to sections 125A.03 to 125A.24, and 125A.65, and 125A.26 to 125A.48, or services which are eligible to receive special education aid pursuant to section 125A.75. 

If you have a dispute with your local school district regarding what material should be covered under this statute or with any other problems regarding nonpublic pupil aid, you can appeal to the Minnesota Nonpublic Education Council (MNEC). See below for details on how to contact MNEC. 

Homeschooling Law in Minnesota - a Disclaimer 
The analysis of laws applicable to homeschooling families in Minnesota is not a legal opinion. It is provided to you for informational purposes only. You may want to consult an attorney if you are looking for a legal opinion.
Please do not use this summary as the sole support for your position as a homeschooler. This is simply an analysis of the law. Refer to specific statutes or the legal opinion of an attorney.