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Missouri Compulsory Education Laws

Overview of Missouri Compulsory Education Laws

Every state requires minors to attend some kind of formal education, beginning in early childhood and continuing through the teenage years. State compulsory education laws also define which types of educational settings besides public school are acceptable, such as private school and homeschooling options. Missouri statute requires children between the ages of seven and 16 to attend school, with some exceptions:

  • Child is mentally or physically incapacitated
  • Child, 14 and older, is legally and gainfully employed
  • Child, five to seven years old, may be dropped from school's rolls upon request by parent or guardian

Missouri Homeschool Requirements

Parents may elect to educate their children at home, instead of public or other established school, but must follow certain requirements. These include keeping a written record of teaching materials and activities; a portfolio with samples of the student's work; and evaluations of the child's academic progress. A child's homeschool education must total at least 1,000 hours of instruction and include certain core subjects otherwise available in public schools.

According to Missouri law, a homeschool is defined as follows:

  1. Private or religious-based education is its primary purpose
  2. Students are enrolled between the ages of seven and 16
  3. Homeschool program does not involve any tuition or other such exchanges

More details about Missouri's compulsory education laws are detailed in the following info box. Review FindLaw's Compulsory Education section for more articles.

Code Section 167.031, et seq.
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 7 and 16
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements Determined mentally/physically incapable of attendance; child is 14 to 16 and legally and desirably employed
Home School Provisions Primary purpose is provision of private or religious-based instruction; no more than 4 pupils may be unrelated by consanguinity to the 3rd degree; no tuition charged; parents must keep written records, samples of child's work, evaluation of progress; minimum hours of instruction in reading, language arts, math, social studies, science
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance Class C misdemeanor; upon conviction each successive school day is separate violation; penalty may be mitigated by enrolling and showing child is attending school

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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