Montana compulsory school attendance age
If your child is 7 years of age or older before the first day of public school, your child must attend school until the later of the following dates: (a) his or her 16th birthday; or (b) the date your child completes his or her 8th-grade schoolwork.
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 Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana’s homeschool law
To homeschool in Montana, follow these steps:
1. File a notice of intent to homeschool.
During every “school fiscal year” (July 1–June 30), you must notify the superintendent of schools of the county where your homeschool is located that your child is being homeschooled. HSLDA members may download a notice of intent form from our website.
2. Keep attendance and immunization records.
You must keep a record of your child’s days in attendance at your homeschool. You must also keep a record of your child’s disease immunizations (or a medical or religious exemption from immunizations). You must make these records “available” to the county superintendent on request.
3. Provide the required hours of instruction.
Your child must receive at least 720 hours of instruction per school fiscal year in grades 1–3. He or she must receive at least 1080 hours of instruction per school fiscal year in grades 4–12.
4. Teach the required subjects.
Your homeschool must provide an organized course of study that includes instruction in the basic subjects required to be taught in Montana public schools. These include:
- English language arts;
- social studies;
- and career education.
5. Follow health and safety regulations.
Make sure your home complies with all local health and safety regulations applicable to homes.
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Montana’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.