Are you considering homeschooling for the first time in Mississippi this fall?
You’re certainly not alone. Fortunately, getting started is easy.
How do I begin?
Mississippi provides parents with the right to educate their children at home in a manner that they choose.
To be removed from the state’s compulsory education law to homeschool, you must fill out a certificate of enrollment form for each child and return it to your local school attendance officer. The Mississippi Department of Education provides a list of each officer. Use it to find your local officer. Traditionally, they would provide the enrollment form, but MDE also has a form on their website.
On the form, a parent or guardian must enter basic contact information. Per state law, you must also provide a description of the education program for homeschooling. This doesn’t have to be complicated. You can just say “age appropriate instruction” or something similar.
Compulsory age for education in Mississippi begins at six, so there is no need to fill out this form for a traditional kindergarten age child.
If your child is currently enrolled at a public school, you will need to contact their current school to notify them you will be homeschooling.
Are there other requirements?
No. Among the most common questions or requirements in other states, in Mississippi:
- There are no teacher qualifications
- There are no curriculum mandates
- There is not a required number of school days or hours
- There is no bookkeeping or portfolio requirement
School districts cannot require additional information
In the past few years, we have seen stories of school districts overstepping their authority in an attempt to control homeschoolers.
- The Greenville Public School District Deputy Superintendent Glenn Dedeaux said the district is “legally responsible to ensure every child of educating age receives an adequate education” and he warned that not all homeschool curricula “are approved by the Mississippi Department of Education to meet the necessary standards.” Dedeaux also implied that homeschoolers must take subject matter tests to graduate. Not true.
- There is also the story of a Mississippi mom who was arrested on truancy charges. Her child had previously been enrolled in public school, but she chose to homeschool him because of health reasons. She decided to begin homeschooling the following year but was arrested before the September 15 deadline to file her notice to homeschool.
- The Natchez-Adams School District tried to demand homeschoolers provide receipts for curriculum purchases.
Even MDE has recommendation on their website, such as reviewing state curriculum to have “clear expectations of what a student should know and be able to do at each grade level” along with a suggestion to maintain a portfolio for each child. However beneficial that might be to you, these are “recommendations.” The state has no authority to require anything along those lines.
If you feel your rights have been violated, contact Home School Legal Defense Association.
What groups are available for support?
When it comes to homeschooling, you don’t need to do it on your own! Many local co-ops and support groups exist to aid students and families who homeschool. Small groups of families can also come together to create their own microschools or cottage schools.
That’s a start. But the quickest path for information will likely be Facebook. A quick search of homeschool groups in Mississippi with yield an expansive list of informal groups where veterans and newbies come together to share information, curriculum, and other tips to make your homeschool a success.
Classical Conversations is one of the largest nationwide networks of homeschool classes. They are offered in 40 communities throughout Mississippi.
There are also private schools that offer a non-traditional path where classroom learning and homeschooling is blended. In these settings, children attend school a couple days a week, while families educate at home on the other days. This includes St. Augustine School in Ridgeland and Jackson Classical in the Reservoir area.
Are free resources available?
Here is a great website that offers free resources in a variety of subjects, including math, science, Bible, technology, health, language arts, history and social studies, foreign languages, art, music, and a variety of electives.
Do you want to share your story?
At MCPP, we believe your ability to raise your child as you see fit is a fundamental right that cannot be restricted by government. We have been sharing stories of new homeschoolers who have made the decision to leave public or private school this year.
Is that you? We’d love to share your story. Just fill out this form and we’ll follow up with you!