What would you do re: MO law?

Find or post information on the legal aspects of homeschooling in your state.

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My Lifesong Sings
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What would you do re: MO law?

Postby My Lifesong Sings » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:56 am

MO law states that "A school year begins on the first day of July and ends on the thirtieth day of June following." It also states that a home school "Enrolls pupils between the ages of seven and sixteen years of age". This is easy enough for me to understand, and are the rules I have been following (and FHE has promoted) for almost 12 years.

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. … 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:
Hi Leslie,

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.



Marce Meek

FHE Corresponding Sec.


We are getting ready to cover the topic of homeschool law at our support group meeting. What would you do?

Minniewannabe
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Postby Minniewannabe » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:12 pm

I guess I'm too stupid to see the problem. Do you want to school between January and November? If so, just call January to June 30 one year and July 1 through November part of another year which has a big winter break and starts up again in Janaury. Just make sure you get those 1000 hours in. :wink:

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Postby My Lifesong Sings » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:33 pm

Minniewannabe wrote:I guess I'm too stupid to see the problem. Do you want to school between January and November? If so, just call January to June 30 one year and July 1 through November part of another year which has a big winter break and starts up again in Janaury. Just make sure you get those 1000 hours in. :wink:
Have you ever schooled in MO? I'm just curious. It would be next to impossible to get all 1000 hours in just 6 mos. time.

I should have stated this in my op...once your school term is set, it must begin and end the same every year thereafter.

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Postby My Lifesong Sings » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:39 pm

Here's my take on how this law should be interpreted:

I agree with FHE and think that we should stick to the more conservative side. Follow the letter of the law and keep our school year July 1 - June 30. I also believe that you should start schooling the children (or keeping records if already schooling) the year in which they turn 7; not wait until the year after.

I understand that HSLDA will be there to represent me if I need them, but why keep a funky school year that will be questioned in the first place?

Anyway, just my take on it. I was just curious what other MO homeschoolers are doing.

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Postby Minniewannabe » Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:07 am

I'm still too stupid to see the problem. Only the first year would be calculated from January to June 30. And 1000 hours isn't that hard for a zealous 1st year homeschooler. (We did it.) After that, your 1000 hours would be calculated each year between the total of July 1 through November and January through June 30.

Nonetheless, I couldn't agree more with you that it is easier to just start the school year soon after July.

No, I have never homeschooled in Missouri, but so far, I haven't run across a state statute that we weren't complying with anyway including Missouri's. I'm sure there might be one somewhere.

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Postby elliemaejune » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:50 am

Minniewannabe wrote:I'm still too stupid to see the problem. Only the first year would be calculated from January to June 30. And 1000 hours isn't that hard for a zealous 1st year homeschooler. (We did it.) After that, your 1000 hours would be calculated each year between the total of July 1 through November and January through June 30.

Nonetheless, I couldn't agree more with you that it is easier to just start the school year soon after July.

No, I have never homeschooled in Missouri, but so far, I haven't run across a state statute that we weren't complying with anyway including Missouri's. I'm sure there might be one somewhere.


I'm too stupid, as well.

As far as one court case affecting everyone, well, that's basic constitutional law. One court case affected women being able to have abortions. One court case in California, which wasn't even a homeschooling issue, would have made it illegal to homeschool in California. In Texas and Illinois, one court decision made it legal for all hsers to homeschool as private schools, completely unregulated.

So, if a court's decision was that you can have your school year start any time you want, as long as you get in the required hours and whatnot, then that's the law.
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Theodore
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Postby Theodore » Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:17 pm

It's called setting a precedent. You only need one unique case to define law for all successive cases of that type. For homeschooling purposes, a "year" should be defined as 12 months dating from the time you started homeschooling.

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Postby momo3boys » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:26 pm

DO you have to reapply each year to HS? If you do then you would be able to change the school year a little wouldn't you. It seems to me like this is a good step, a step in the direction that Homeschoolers have the chance to do things a little differently. I would choose to have my year Sept to Aug, July and Aug give me the chance to finish up what I missed in the regular school year.

Is this not a good ruling? Did I miss something?
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Postby SaHD » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:59 am

Hi I'm new here but thought i would comment,

I have been following the guideline verbatim and running our school year from July 1st to June 30th.
It makes everything much easier to manage, and you are free to take time out whenever you want or need as long as you are able to meet the required hours etc.

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pretty new too!

Postby cclake » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:43 am

:o I thought it was clear enough when it said BEGINNING "July 1 and ENDING June 30th, BUT~ Who in the heck wants to homeschool ALL YEAR? I will stay with in the specified year, but surely we are allowed to do the public school schedule! Around August 18 and ending somewhere in the end of May? Are We Not??? Now's a fine time for me to be asking!

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Postby My Lifesong Sings » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:08 am

momo3boys wrote:DO you have to reapply each year to HS? If you do then you would be able to change the school year a little wouldn't you. It seems to me like this is a good step, a step in the direction that Homeschoolers have the chance to do things a little differently. I would choose to have my year Sept to Aug, July and Aug give me the chance to finish up what I missed in the regular school year.

Is this not a good ruling? Did I miss something?
We don't have to apply to homeschool in MO anyway.

HSLDA does state that once your school year is chosen (whichever months you choose to start and end with) it must stay the same every year after.

I think this is a great ruling....it just makes me uneasy because it hasn't been tested yet. I don't want my family to be HSLDA's guinea pig.

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Postby My Lifesong Sings » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:10 am

SaHD wrote:Hi I'm new here but thought i would comment,

I have been following the guideline verbatim and running our school year from July 1st to June 30th.
It makes everything much easier to manage, and you are free to take time out whenever you want or need as long as you are able to meet the required hours etc.
This is what I do too. We do the bulk of our schooling from late Aug. to the middle of May, but it's nice to have the summer months, just in case.

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Re: pretty new too!

Postby My Lifesong Sings » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:24 am

cclake wrote::o I thought it was clear enough when it said BEGINNING "July 1 and ENDING June 30th, BUT~ Who in the heck wants to homeschool ALL YEAR? I will stay with in the specified year, but surely we are allowed to do the public school schedule! Around August 18 and ending somewhere in the end of May? Are We Not??? Now's a fine time for me to be asking!
LOL!! You're fine! Like I said in the post above, I do the bulk of my schooling from Aug. to May, but it is nice to use the summer months to finish reading and/or projects. Also, my kids all play sports and are heavily involved in church activies. Those are great (and easy) hours to count.

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Postby My Lifesong Sings » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:30 am

Theodore wrote:It's called setting a precedent. You only need one unique case to define law for all successive cases of that type. For homeschooling purposes, a "year" should be defined as 12 months dating from the time you started homeschooling.
I see what you are saying...but I'm not willing to let my family be the guinea pig in my district. I totally get that we would "win" if prosecuted, but I would rather there not be any questions about my school/logs in the first place. I would feel better if the wording of the law was changed by the legislators. Until then, I'll state my position at our support group meetings to new homeschoolers. They, obviously, can do as they see fit, but I'm hoping that my 12 years of experience will mean something.

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Postby My Lifesong Sings » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:33 am

Thanks all for your responses.


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