Are you considering homeschooling your child? You can do it! As you get started, it’s important to make sure you comply with the education laws where you live. This page helps you understand how to homeschool legally in Minnesota—step by step.
Beginning with the 2014–15 school year, children between 7 and 17 years of age must receive instruction unless they have graduated. Regardless of age, once a child is enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade at a public school, he or she is subject to compulsory attendance.
A school board may have a policy that exempts children under age 7 from being required to attend school. In any district, a child under age 7 who is subject to compulsory attendance may be withdrawn from enrollment for good cause by a parent. HSLDA members, please contact us if you have specific questions about how the compulsory attendance laws apply to your child. If you are not a member of HSLDA, you can join here.
HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Minnesota law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver's license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members are also eligible to use the sample letter of withdrawal for Minnesota available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.
Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.
Minnesota’s education code explicitly recognizes that a child’s parent is primarily responsible for ensuring that the child acquires the knowledge and skills essential to effective citizenship. In order to homeschool legally, you will need to follow these guidelines.
In order to teach children in Minnesota, a person must be “qualified.” Parents teaching their own children are automatically qualified. If someone other than a parent is teaching the child, he or she must have one of the following qualifications:
The required subjects are reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, health, and physical education. While there is no specific requirement in Minnesota law for how often each of the subjects must be taught or at what grade levels, HSLDA’s general recommendation is that each of the required subjects be taught at an age-appropriate level every year during the elementary and middle school years, and at least once in high school.
Minnesota law requires that you maintain documentation indicating that the required subjects are being taught and proof that the tests required have been administered. This documentation must include class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction, and descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement. This information can be required by a county prosecutor in accordance with the law. HSLDA members who receive such a request from their school superintendent or county prosecutor pursuant to records requests should contact us immediately.
HSLDA also recommends that you keep records of attendance, information on the textbooks and workbooks used, and student work samples. You should maintain these records for at least two years. If your child is in high school, you should maintain these records for all four years of high school.
You are required to test your child annually using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test. The test and the testing location must be agreed on by you and the district superintendent. If your child scores at or below the 30th percentile or one full grade below children of the same age, you must have your child evaluated for learning difficulties. You should maintain your achievement test results in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements described above.
If your homeschool is accredited by a recognized Minnesota accrediting association, you are not required to test the children. For more information about accrediting your homeschool, see here.
After your child reaches the age of 7, you must submit notification to the superintendent of the district in which your child resides by October 1 of each school year, or within 15 days of withdrawing the child from public school.
The first notification you submit should report the name, date of birth, and address of each child being taught, the annual tests you intend to use (if required), the name of each instructor, and evidence of compliance with teacher qualifications (if applicable). You must also report immunization compliance for each child reaching age 7 and then again in the 7th-grade year.
In each subsequent year until your child turns 16, you must provide a letter of intent to continue homeschooling, listing any changes in the required information. (If you begin homeschooling a child after the age of 16, you must submit a letter of intent to continue until the child turns 17.)
If you move out of your school district, you must notify that district within 15 days of moving.
HSLDA provides user-friendly forms our members can use to comply with Minnesota’s homeschool law. Please download the forms you need. If you have any questions about the forms or complying with the law, HSLDA members may contact our legal team. To become a member of HSLDA, click here.
You can find Minnesota’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.
These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.
Home School Legal Defense Association is a national advocacy organization that supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. We are dedicated to protecting the legality of your homeschool while equipping you to successfully teach your children.
HSLDA members have 24/7 phone and email access to our staff of attorneys and legal assistants, who can help you understand the homeschool law in your state and will go to bat for you if a school official or other authority challenges your homeschool. Our 80,000 members—families like you!— also receive personalized advice on everything from homeschooling a high schooler to teaching a child with special needs from our team of education consultants.
Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Last updated July 5, 2017