Under Missouri law, a homeschool is a school that:

  1. Has the primary purpose of providing private or religious-based instruction.
  2. Enrolls pupils between the ages of 7 and 17 years. (No more than four students can be unrelated.)
  3. Does not charge or receive tuition, fees, or other remuneration.

To homeschool under this statute, you’ll need to follow these requirements:

1. Teach the required subjects for the required period of time.

You must provide your child with at least 1,000 hours of instruction every school term.

600 of the 1,000 hours of instruction must be among one or more of the following core subjects:

  • reading,
  • math,
  • social studies,
  • language arts, and
  • science.

These subjects must be taught consonantly with the child’s age and ability. Of those 600 hours among the core subjects, 400 must occur at the “regular” homeschool location, which is not defined in law.

If you are moving into Missouri or starting your homeschool program after the beginning of the traditional school year, you may wonder how to meet the 1,000-hour requirement. Since Missouri homeschool law doesn’t provide a clear-cut answer, here are some suggestions that we recommend:

  1. You could choose your own term window. You have the power to decide when your school term starts and ends, as long as it is no longer than 12 months. For example, if you move to Missouri on November 1, your 12-month school term would end the following October 30. Then you would fulfill the 1,000 hour requirement within that window.
  2. You could use a “balance brought forward” strategy. Under this approach, you would calculate or make an educated guess about the number of instructional hours your child received prior to your homeschool beginning in Missouri. For example, if your program begins on November 1, you could calculate or estimate that your child had received 200 hours of instruction in September and October. Then you could bring forward that balance of 200 hours and finish your 1,000 hours by providing 800 additional hours by the end of your term.
  3. You could divide the 1,000 hours equally over 12 months. For example, if you were homeschooling in another state during September and October, but officially started homeschooling in Missouri on November 1, you do not need to cover those lost two months (or 168 hours) of instruction. For the rest of the term, you would only need to provide the remaining 832 hours.

HSLDA strongly recommends that you keep a daily log showing the hours of instruction you give your children every day. Although this is not technically required, it’s the very best way to prove you really provided each child with 1,000 hours of instruction.

2. Maintain records for all children under age 16.

If you are homeschooling a child who is younger than 16, you must maintain (but do not need to submit) the following records for the child:

  • A plan book, diary, or other record indicating subjects taught and educational activities engaged in. This requirement can be satisfied by keeping a daily log of hours of instruction. (HSLDA offers a fillable spreadsheet that our members can use to keep a daily log, attached below.)
  • Samples of your child’s work.
  • Academic evaluations. (These could be regular tests in the various subjects, annual standardized tests, etc.)

Alternatively, you can maintain “other written, credible evidence” that is equivalent to the three types of records listed above.

Always have on hand at least two full years' worth of records (unless you are just starting out).

During a child’s elementary and middle school years, you should always have on hand at least two full years' worth of records. For a high school student, the records (for all 4 years) should be kept indefinitely.

3. Between 16 and 17.

After a child turns 16, the parent must continue to provide a program of academic instruction, but the record requirements (work samples, assessments, plan book) and hour requirements no longer apply. At age 17, the child is exempt from all requirements.