Getting Started With Homeschooling!

Congratulations on deciding to homeschool your children…let the adventure begin!

One of the questions the board members of Minnesota Homeschoolers’ Alliance often receive is: “am I qualified to teach my child?”  If you are the parent of the child you intend to educate, the answer is a resounding YES!  Most home educators meet this qualification.  If you are not the parent and you are hoping to homeschool (for example, a grandparent who wants to teach their grandchild), there are the other ways you may qualify:

  • hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and for the grade level taught
  • be directly supervised by a person holding a valid Minnesota teaching license
  •  successfully complete a teacher competency examination
  • provide instruction in a school that is accredited by an accrediting agency, recognized according to section 123B.445, or recognized by the commissioner, or
  • hold a Bachelor’s degree 

Before you get started, you will need to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for homeschooling in Minnesota. These five steps are imperative to a compliant and successful homeschool journey:

  1. Submit a Letter of Intent to Homeschool to the superintendent of your school district by October 1st of each school year (after your first year, you’ll use the Letter of Intent to Continue Homeschooling), or within fifteen days of pulling your child out of school.  The letter of intent applies to students between the ages of 7-17.  If your child turns 7 on October 2nd of the year, you do not need to submit the letter of intent until the following year.  To find your district’s superintendent, just Google “<your city> school superintendent,” and you will find their name, address, and contact information. 
  2. Decide how to go about teaching your student. While there is not a set curriculum one must use in Minnesota, there are a few subjects that an educator is required to teach. How one teaches these subjects is at the discretion of the person providing the instruction.  To that end, the following need to be taught to home educated students: 
  • Basic communication skills, including but not limited to reading, writing, literature, and fine arts 
  • Math and science
  • Social studies, including but not limited to history, geography, and government 
  • Health and physical education
  1. Home educators are required to keep records of their student’s work.  There is not a specific method require for record keeping.  While some opt to keep journals or spreadsheets of the work their student has done, others choose photographic records in the form of blog or Instagram accounts. 
  2. Plan on administering a standardized test to your children at some point during the school year (or by August 31st).  There are many options available, ranging from “fill in the bubble” paper booklet tests, online tests, and verbal (either in person or via an online conferencing option) tests.  There are many tests available and one that will fit your child’s needs. 
  3. Be prepared to measure progress. As a homeschool parent, you are responsible for giving grades–and otherwise measuring progress– and ultimately providing older students with a transcript and diploma upon completion of their homeschool journey.  

Once the necessary paperwork is completed and all factors are taken into consideration (ie How many children will be homeschooled? When would you like to begin? Are there any health or learning challenges? What types of topics are especially important to you and your learner(s)?) it is helpful to determine a plan on possible curriculum and learning schedule. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to provide customized learning to our children. There is a plethora of curriculum and educational experiences available within our community to educate and empower students educated at home. Through homeschooling, children can learn through hands-on, auditory, and visual experiences. They can take their time to learn through flexible schedules and year-round learning. This flexibility empowers children to learn to their best ability! 

All that to say: welcome! And happy homeschooling. We are so glad that you are here!