Are you considering homeschooling your child? You can do it! As you get started, it’s important to make sure you comply with the education laws where you live. This page helps you understand how to homeschool legally—step by step.


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.


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 are also eligible to use the sample letter of withdrawal for their state, available in Member Resources, to correspond with school officials.

We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent “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 your state’s homeschool law

To homeschool in Montana, make sure you follow these steps:

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.

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.

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.

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 (reading and writing);
  • mathematics;
  • science;
  • social studies;
  • history, including contemporary portrayals and contributions of American Indians, with an emphasis on Montana Indians;
  • health enhancement;
  • arts;
  • career and technical education; and
  • ethical behavior, including use of technology (social media) and the implications of one’s own choices.

Make sure your home complies with all local health and safety regulations applicable to homes.


Records

If your state has any specific recordkeeping requirements, they are listed above. Regardless of your state’s recordkeeping requirements, 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.

These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.



Home School Legal Defense Association is a national advocacy organization that supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. We are dedicated to protecting the legality of your homeschool while equipping you to successfully teach your children.

HSLDA members have 24/7 phone and email access to our staff of attorneys and legal assistants, who can help you understand the homeschool law in your state and will go to bat for you if a school official or other authority challenges your homeschool. Our 80,000 members—families like you!— also receive personalized advice on everything form homeschooling a high schooler to teaching a child with speical needs from our team of education consultants.


Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.


Last updated June 26, 2015