Don’t let the logistics of the law scare you; but don’t take them lightly either. Whether a veteran homeschooler or one that is just getting started, be sure to understand the requirements of Michigan law.
A 1988 decision (Houghton Lake v. Board of Educ) outlined the fact that Michigan does not have a mandated number of instruction hours, however does have required subjects to be taught if electing home education. These include: reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.
Home schools have two options. They can either operate under the home school statute or qualify as a nonpublic school.
Option I: Home School Statute Option:
A child is not required to attend a public school if:
1.”The child is being educated at the child’s home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.”
2.There are no requirements to notify, seek approval, test, file forms, or have any certain teacher qualifications. The burden is on the state to prove that the parents are not teaching their children.
Option II: Nonpublic School
1.Home schools operating as nonpublic schools do not need to be approved according to HSLDA’s case DeJonge v. Superintendent of Public Instruction. There is no approval or licensing procedure pursuant to any state statute or administrative rule which requires a private home school, or a private, nonpublic school of any kind, to be approved or licensed by the Department of Education prior to that school’s opening for operation or during the school’s ongoing operation.
2.In Bennett, the Michigan Supreme Court stated that a home school is a legitimate nonpublic school until an administrative hearing produces a determination to the contrary. The court emphasized that a school district could not initiate criminal proceedings against parents who are home schooling until an administrative hearing had been held by the State Superintendent of Instruction which determined that the school did not meet the requirements of the law.
Home schools operating as nonpublic schools must furnish the local public school superintendent or the intermediate superintendent with the following information at the beginning of each school year:
1.The name and age of each child enrolled at the school,
2.The number or name of the school district and the city or township and county where the parent lives,
3.The name and address of the parent, and
4.The name and age of any child enrolled in the school who is not in regular attendance.
If you can’t decide between the two options, contact the Michigan Board of Education or your local legal advisor.
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