HSLDA has changed their stance since the 2003 case of In vs. Joshua B (http://hslda.org/legal/state/mo/19991206B/default.asp).
Status: The Court of Appeals' interpretation of "school term" for home school families stands:
Although "school term" is statutorily defined, the definition is not applicable in the home school context. â€¦ We hold that, in the context of a homeschool, a "school term" is a period not greater than twelve months during which instruction is regularly given to students.
"In the homeschool setting," held the Court of Appeals, "there is no logical reason to hold that the school term is restricted to a single [public] school year." Home schooling parents in Missouri, therefore, are free to set their own school "term." It may be twelve months or less, but no longer. Parents must offer 1000 hours of instruction within the school term they set.
A child is not subject to compulsory attendance unless he is age 7 at the beginning of his school term. If a parent determines their school term will begin September 1, and the child turns 7 on September 15, the child will not be of compulsory age until the following year. Parents have no legal duty to offer 1000 hours of instruction or keep any records until a child is age 7 at the beginning of his school term.
This court ruling gives Missouri home schoolers tremendous flexibility to adjust their home school term to best suit the needs of their children.
Last Updated: February 13, 2003.
I'm still waiting on a reply back from HSLDA as to how they can interpret what a court ruled for one family to stand for all families. In the meantime, FHE still says this:
Our current position is the most conservative one---you should begin keeping records the school year that your child turns 7yrs and the school term should be between July 1 and June 30. If someone only decides to school between Sept and May that's OK but to go from say Jan to Nov would not be acceptable (if things are ever taken to court you need to decide what "regular" people with no interest in homeschooling would think sounds "reasonable")
Hope that answers your question. If not, please e-mail again.
FHE Corresponding Sec.
We are getting ready to cover the topic of homeschool law at our support group meeting. What would you do?