Missouri Revised Statutes § 167.031(1) says a student must attend some “public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools.” This might give homeschool students a right to enroll part time in public school.

Missouri Revised Statutes § 162.1250.1, which deals with public schools offering online programs, says: “Nothing in this section shall preclude a private, parochial, or home school student residing within a school district offering virtual courses or virtual programs from enrolling in the school district in accordance with the combined enrollment provisions of Missouri Revised Statutes § 167.031 for the purposes of participating in the virtual courses or virtual programs.” This clearly gives public schools the authorization, and perhaps even the duty, to allow homeschool students to participate in public school online programs.

Missouri State High School Athletic Association By-law 2.3.4.c (effective July 1, 2017) allows homeschool students to participate in activities if the student is taking at least two seat-time classes at their local public school (for a total of at least one unit of credit in progress), if the local school confirms that the student is carrying (in effect) a full-time work load considering all classes together, and if the public school confirms the student is academically eligible, using whatever standards the public school sets. By-law 2.3.4.d provides that a homeschool student entering this program will be treated as a transfer student. (Transfer issues are outlined in rule 3.10 and under some circumstances will exclude a student from participating for 365 days.)

The Missouri Department of Education states that public schools must not place “artificial barriers” in the way of homeschool student participation in state-approved gifted education programs. See page 11 in the department’s Gifted Program Guidelines.

Things to keep in mind:

Public school access includes participation in public school classes, sports, activities, etc.

States use a unique vocabulary in this area: “extracurricular,” “cocurricular,” “curricular,” “interscholastic,” “program,” “activity,” etc. Care should be taken to distinguish one from another. When a state defines a word, it is important.

While athletic association rules are not “law,” public schools are generally constrained to operate within them, or their teams could be disqualified.

We strive toward keeping this information 100% up to date in this rapidly changing area of the law. However, this post should not be considered authoritative because of the possibility of unobserved changes in association rules, statutes, regulations, or case decisions, and because of lag time between changes and the publication of updates.