Michigan compulsory school attendance age
Michigan law requires that every child who is 6 years old before December 1 and under 18 must attend school or comply with the homeschool law. Parents are authorized to notify a school district in writing that their child has parental permission to stop attending school (or complying with the homeschool law) as early as the child’s 16th birthday.
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 Michigan 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.
Withdrawing your child from his or her current school
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 can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for Michigan available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “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.
Complying with Michigan’s homeschool law
Michigan parents may choose to homeschool under the homeschool statute or as a nonpublic school or both.
Members of HSLDA may contact us with any specific questions about these options—our dedicated legal team can help you understand how the law applies to your situation.
Option 1: Homeschooling under Michigan’s homeschool statute
Parents who are teaching their own children at home under the homeschool statute are required to use an organized educational program covering the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar. The statute does not require parents to notify local government or education authorities that they are homeschooling. The statute specifically notes that parents are authorized to give home instruction. If a nonparent is significantly involved in delivering instruction, HSLDA members may contact us for specific guidance. If you are not a member of HSLDA, you can join here.
Option 2: Homeschooling as a nonpublic school
To homeschool your children by operating as a nonpublic school, you will need to follow these requirements.
1. Ensure that the instructor has the required qualifications.
The instructor in a homeschool operating as a nonpublic school may be either a parent, or another person chosen by the parent. Regardless of who the instructor is, he or she must have a teaching certificate, a teaching permit, or a bachelor’s degree.
Parents instructing their children who have a religious objection to teacher certification do not have to meet any of the above teacher requirements. However, this exception only applies when the parent is the instructor; it does not apply to an instructor who is not the parent.
2. Provide annual notification that you are homeschooling as a nonpublic school.
At the beginning of each school year, you are required to send the following information to the local public school superintendent: a) the name and age of each child enrolled in your school, b) the number or name of the school district and the city or township and county where the parent lives, c) the name and address of the parent, and d) the name and age of any child enrolled in the school who is not in regular attendance.
The Michigan Department of Education is authorized to request, in writing, your nonpublic school’s records of pupil enrollment, courses of study, and qualifications of teachers. You do not need to submit this information unless it is requested in writing. Michigan State Form SM-4325 has been developed by the Department of Education for use in reporting this information; for the benefit of our members, HSLDA has a copy of the form available here. Members may call or email us with any questions. To become a member of HSLDA, click here.
3. Teach the required subjects.
Children in nonpublic schools must be taught mathematics, reading, English, science, and social studies in all grades. They must also be taught health and physical education.
In the high school grades, children must also be taught:
- the U.S. Constitution,
- the Michigan Constitution, and
- the history and present form of civil government in the U.S., Michigan, and Michigan’s political subdivisions and municipalities.
Both of Michigan’s legal options for homeschooling require that certain subjects be taught. While there are no specific requirements 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 at the high school level.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Michigan’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.