Homeschooling in Michigan: Guidance for Getting Started
When deciding to homeschool, it’s key to understand the specific laws of your area since they vary greatly from state to state. This guide is designed for Michiganders (or families considering a move to the Great Lakes State) to understand the basics of homeschooling in Michigan: requirements, laws, eligibility, curriculum options, the best Michigan field trips, getting started, financial considerations, high school graduation, and more. It’s your starting point for all things homeschool Michigan.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not written as legal advice. Check with your local school board and official Michigan state laws before making decisions about educating your children.
Is it easy to homeschool in Michigan?
The official state motto for Michigan is, “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” which means “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Not only is Michigan pleasant in terms of nature and geography, it’s pleasant in terms of homeschooling!
According to Sonlight families who are homeschooling in Michigan, yes, it’s easy to homeschool in The Mitten State! Jamie K. from Lake City, Michigan says,
Very easy! No registration, reporting, or testing needed...which I would say should be the case in every state.”
Is homeschooling regulated in Michigan?
In general, families consider a state easy to homeschool in when the regulation is looser. HSLDA classifies Michigan as a no notice, low regulation state.
Cindy F. is a Sonlight mom from Ann Arbor who says,
Michigan makes it easy to homeschool, with no reports or registration required.” But there are requirements outlined in the law, so keep reading to find out what you’ll need to homeschool in the Wolverine State.
Is homeschooling popular in Michigan?
Michigan stats for homeschoolers mirror the nation as a whole with about 5% opting for school at home.
Requirements: Michigan homeschool statutes, rules, and laws
While it’s wise (and often encouraging) to chat with Michigan families who are currently homeschooling, go deeper in your digging. Fortunately, the rules for homeschooling in Michigan are not complex.
Michigan homeschooling statues and laws, gathered directly from the Michigan Department of Education are easy to read and understand. (Tip: search the MDE site for homeschool as one word and home school as two words since it’s used both ways in documents.) Alternatively, speak to a representative at your local school board to get the most up-to-date and accurate advice for your specific area.
What are homeschool requirements in Michigan?
Michigan has minimal stipulations for homeschoolers. There are no school day or hour requirements, no letter of intent, no mandatory reporting, and no standardized testing.
The primary Michigan requirement comes in the form of your educational program and the subjects you need to cover.
How many days are required for homeschool in Michigan?
Public schools in MI are held to a 180-day and 1,098-hour annual requirement for pupil instruction. But the State of Michigan does not require homeschoolers to have a certain number of school days. Likewise, there are no Michigan homeschooling hour requirements.
Do you have to be certified to homeschool in Michigan?
No teacher certification is required to homeschool your children or guardians in Michigan.
Do parents need qualifications to homeschool?
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s listing of Michigan State Regulations, “Parents or guardians that register their home schools must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to be qualified to teach their children.”
However, there’s a religious exemption clause which overcomes this requirement: “Families whose religious beliefs preclude the teacher certification requirements are exempt.”
Who is eligible for homeschooling?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of America. Any parent or guardian in Michigan may educate their children at home. Everyone is eligible as long as the college degree requirement is met (or the religious exemption is taken).
Is unschooling legal in Michigan?
Yes, unschooling is legal in Michigan as long as the curriculum and subject requirements are met. There is no Michigan homeschooling unschooling affidavit required.
Can I homeschool someone else's child in Michigan?
The law states that parents and guardians have the right to educate their children at home. So while you may opt to outsource some teaching, join a co-op, or enroll your child in online classes, ultimately the responsibility lies with you, the parent.
Do you need to report homeschooling in Michigan?
No, there is no letter of intent for homeschooling in Michigan. And no reporting is required.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s listing of Michigan State Regulations, “The annual reporting of a home school to the MDE is voluntary. It is not required unless the student has special needs and is requesting special education services from the local public school or intermediate school district.”
When switching from public school to homeschooling in Michigan, it’s recommended to officially withdraw your child so there are no truancy issues.
The key to Michigan homeschooling requirements: An organized educational program
Homeschooling requirements in Michigan are incredibly flexible and reasonable. At all grades Michigan requires homeschool parents to use an organized educational program which includes these subject areas:
- English grammar
In grades 10, 11, and 12, there are additional topical requirements related to civic education:
Do you have to have a curriculum when homeschooling in Michigan?
Michigan uses the phrase “an organized educational program” in its requirements for homeschooling. At its basic meaning, this is the very definition of a curriculum.
So, yes, you need a curriculum when homeschooling in Michigan. But besides the list of academic areas to cover, there are no other stipulations. You can devise the curriculum yourself as long as it’s an organized educational plan or you can use a pre-made program created by experts.
When it comes to homeschooling programs in Michigan, you can choose from any organized educational program that ticks the boxes of reading, spelling, math, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.
For instance, a Sonlight All-Subjects Package is far more than Michigan’s list of nine topics. An ASP is your best curriculum for homeschooling in Michigan because you know your children are meeting all the Michigan state requirements and so much more!
Or you can mix and max specific programs for a more eclectic approach. You could use an organized math program from one publisher and an organized spelling program from another vendor.
As long as you’ve got a planned out curriculum to teach the nine outlined subjects, you’re set!
While you’re weighing homeschooling programs in Michigan, you may be considering online homeschooling. While digital resources have their place in a child’s education, there’s no substitute for real books. Learn the incredible advantages of Sonlight’s literature-based approach here.
What proof is required for homeschooling in Michigan?
There is no formal avenue for homeschool accountability in Michigan—no annual portfolio or reporting.
But to protect yourself, it’s wise to keep records so you can prove you’ve used an organized educational program. Being able to show progress in your student’s skills is also valuable. This can be as simple as keeping periodic samples of work and/or keeping grades for assignments, quizzes, and tests.
Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in Michigan?
No, Michigan education laws do not mandate or require homeschooling testing. However, homeschool students may participate in state assessments by contacting the resident school district. In that case, a homeschool student's test scores will be reported individually to the student and not included in district data.
What do I need to homeschool my child in Michigan?
Thankfully, the must-haves are minimal: curriculum and supplies, a way to keep records, time/energy, and a space for learning. The low regulation means you have a plethora of options for homeschooling in Michigan, and you get to be the person to make the important decisions for your children. Homeschooling is totally doable in the Mitten State!
Curriculum & Supplies
As outlined above, to homeschool your child you must have and use an organized educational program covering reading, spelling, math, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar (with extra civics requirements in the last three years of high school). For most parents, this will mean purchasing a curriculum—either an all-in-one solution or a piecemealed collection of different programs.
Along with a curriculum, you’ll need basic school supplies and office supplies.
Although reporting or proof is not required, it’s best to keep simple records to protect yourself in the case of any questions about your homeschool. Plus it’s encouraging to see your children’s progress!
Gather these documents in a planner, a binder, or a bin:
- a calendar of your school year
- a record of field trips
- book logs for read-alouds
- curriculum lists and course descriptions (If you’re a Sonlight customer, pop your catalog into this folder)
- representative samples of student work
- scores on any graded work
The Sonlight Planner is a good starting point for recordkeeping. It was created specifically for the needs of homeschool parents. So by filling out its pre-designed pages, you’ll capture most of the records you’d want for a school year. Slip in a few samples of your students’ work, and you’re set!
Time and Energy
Homeschooling is a commitment and sacrifice on your part as a parent. It’s a worthy calling, and a choice you’ll never regret! But it does take both time and energy to homeschool your children.
A Space for Learning
You will want a place to store your curriculum and supplies, a place to read together (like the couch), a table or desk for written work, and an environment conducive to learning.
Homeschooling in Michigan: Getting Starting & Timing
Ready to get started? Let’s dig into first steps and when you’ll need to start teaching your child at home.
How do I start homeschooling in Michigan?
Wondering how to enroll in homeschooling in Michigan? Well, good news! There are no homeschooling forms for Michigan.
A parent is not required to inform anyone of their decision to homeschool. However, official state documents do suggest notifying local school boards to prevent a student being marked absent or truant. Notification can be as simple as a phone call or a written note to the district.
Annual reporting of a homeschool to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is voluntary and not required (unless a student is receiving special education services from a local public school.)
Getting started as a Michigan homeschooler
At what age is school mandatory in Michigan?
Children from ages 6 to 18 must attend school in Michigan. Homeschooled students are exempt from attending school but still must be educated at home starting at age 6 and going through 12th grade.
Can you skip kindergarten in Michigan?
School is required for ages 6-18 in Michigan. Since there are no specific requirements about offering kindergarten, and kindergarten is typically done at age 5, yes, you can skip that grade entirely.
Kindergarten is optional in Michigan. You may opt to begin formal schooling with first grade at age 6 (either in public school or at home by homeschooling).
However, homeschooling kindergarten in Michigan is very popular! And there’s no reason to skip this precious school year if your child is ready to start a gentle approach to academics.
Sonlight History / Bible / Literature K is a beautiful option for ages 5 or 6, so you could use it for kindergarten or for first grade.
How long can you homeschool a child?
Just because you start homeschooling at age 6 doesn’t mean you’re bound to homeschool forever—although you can, and many families do! Other families homeschool for just a handful of years and then return to public school or private school.
And other families start out with public school, see a problem, and choose to homeschool for a few years or until high school graduation. Every family’s homeschool pattern is unique.
Must-see Michigan Field Trips for Homeschoolers
We asked Jamie K., a Sonlighter in Lake City about the homeschool field trip landscape in Michigan. She said,
Field trip options are plentiful. The possibilities are endless! We really enjoy nature and history and many of these combine the two elements.”
She and other homeschooling Michiganders provided this short list of favorite field trip destinations in Michigan, the Water Winter Wonderland.
- Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
- Detroit Zoo
- Hartwick Pines
- Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum at the University of Michigan
- Kayaking or cross country skiing
- Mackinac Island
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
- Fort Michilimakinac
- Tahquamenon Falls
- Historic White Pine Village
- Hartwick Pines
- Tahquamenon Logging Museum
- Garlyn Zoo
One of the benefits of homeschooling in Michigan is the freedom to take day trips to the many lovely destinations across the state.
Financial Considerations for Homeschooling in Michigan
Let’s talk dollars and cents …
How much does it cost to homeschool in Michigan?
As per our extensive guide How Much Does Homeschooling Cost, the annual expense to homeschool one child ranges from $500 to $2500 per school year.
As you can see from that range, homeschooling can be expensive or affordable. It all depends on how much money you choose to spend. The good news for Michiganders with more modest family budgets is that homeschooling can be done well with a frugal mindset.
Typically, the largest single expense is curriculum, so shop for
- a program that’s 100% worth the cost
- one that you can use again in future years with younger siblings
- one that builds a family library to cherish (not workbooks to toss)
- one with a money-back guarantee
- one that allows you to teach multiple students at once
- one with a payment plan to spread the expense across several months
Does Michigan pay for homeschooling?
Michigan does not have a school voucher program for home homeschooling. Michigan Revised School Code states that “Home school families are responsible for purchasing the textbooks and instructional materials of their choice. School districts are not required to provide curriculum, textbooks, or materials to home school families.”
So, no, Michigan does not pay for homeschooling. There is no state funding for homeschooling in Michigan nor any Michigan grants for homeschooling. Any costs incurred, including covering the required academic subjects, is the responsibility of the homeschool parent, and you cannot get money from the state for homeschooling.
Is homeschooling a tax write-off?
No, homeschooling is not a tax-deductible expense in Michigan.
Do I have to pay school taxes if I homeschool?
Homeschooling has no impact on your obligation to pay local, state, and federal taxes. You don’t receive any tax credit, tax deduction, or tax savings as a result of not sending your children to public schools.
How can I homeschool in Michigan for free?
Although Michigan prescribes certain academic subjects that must be covered, there are no requirements that your “organized education program” has to cost money. So legally, yes, you could homeschool in Michigan for free assuming you could devise your own organized curriculum and find the books, workbooks, and other resources at no cost.
But just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s advised to do free homeschooling in Michigan. Your time is better spent enjoying your children and the lovely state of Michigan than scouring the internet for freebies and piecing together a possibly gap-ridden plan of study.
You’ll rest easy by buying a complete curriculum that ticks all the MI requirements. Then you can supplement with free homeschooling resources.
Partnering with Public Schools in Michigan
Homeschooling laws in Michigan for school activities offer a huge perk!
Homeschoolers may take "nonessential elective courses," such as band, athletics, drama, art, physical education, music, computer, driver education, and Advanced Placement courses at their local Michigan public schools where that school allows.
If you wanted a hybrid or part-time homeschooling situation in Michigan, you’d have to cover the core subjects of math, language arts, history, and science at home. But the extra curriculars could all be done by partnering with your local public school.
Check with your local school system to see what options are available to you since as per the Michigan Department of Education, “Permission for participation in interscholastic activities is at the discretion of the local public school district.”
Online homeschooling in Michigan
Michigan offers resources for online homeschooling, some of which do cost money:
- GenNet Online Learning
- The Michigan Virtual School® (MVS®) gives home school families the opportunity to have students take middle and high school courses online and access a robust online career development tool. Dozens of courses are available in a wide range of subjects and learning levels from general study to rigorous Advanced Placement. MVS also offers a wide range of summer school courses.
Christian homeschooling in Michigan
Sonlight can help you saturate your children in Christian truth with a faith-based curriculum. In fact, Sonlight is the original literature-based Christian homeschool curriculum. Read Sonlight’s Top Ten Goals to see if they match your own.
Special Needs Homeschooling in Michigan
Homeschooling is a fantastic choice for a child with an impairment, autism, or any special need. The main reason is flexibility. While a public school teacher is obligated to abide by an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a special needs student, it can be tough to provide special accommodations in a classroom of 20-35 students.
At home, there’s a much lower teacher to student ratio, giving you far more room to modify assignments and assessment strategies. Plus who loves your special needs child more than you do? You have an innate motivation to see your child succeed in a supportive environment. And you can homeschool your child with special needs!
Homeschooling requirements in Michigan for special education
Although reporting is voluntary in Michigan and not required, this changes if your child is receiving special education services from your local public school or school district.
If you have a special needs child but don’t want to partner with local schools for services, then no reporting is necessary. But if you opt for special education services, you’ll need to submit a Nonpublic School Membership Report to MDE. Michigan homeschool regulations state, “Before special education services are established, the school will contact MDE for verification that this process is complete. The home school must register each school year to continue services.”
Finding Homeschool Community in Michigan
When it comes to homeschooling, having a community of supportive cheerleaders is key. Turn to qualified advisors to help you choose curriculum. And network with other homeschool moms and dads who know what you’re facing day to day.
Find a community via the Sonlight Connections page where you can
- request to join the Facebook group
- look for (or start) an in-person homeschooling group in Michigan
- install the Sonlight app
- join the Sonlight email list
Michigan has several state and local homeschooling organizations to network with:
Homeschooling High School in Michigan
While public school locks teens into a rigid (and early!) schedule, homeschoolers can customize their school day to match their teens’ natural rhythms, making time for hobbies, extracurriculars, a healthy social life, exercise, part-time work, etc.
How does homeschooling high school work in Michigan?
Just like earlier years, Michigan gives you great latitude at the high school years. You are still required to have an organized educational program that includes reading, spelling, math, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar each school year.
Further, in grades 10, 11, and 12, there are additional topical requirements related to civic education:
- The Constitution of the United States
- The Constitution of Michigan
- United States history & government
- State of Michigan history & government
Aside from those stipulations, you are free to design your own 4-year high school plan. A major consideration is what your teen will want to do after high school graduation. If college is a goal, then make sure to check college entrance requirements as you craft a plan for high school.
Dual enrollment as a homeschooler in Michigan
Dual enrollment means your teen takes a college course and earns both college and high school credits simultaneously. This is a great way for advanced learners to get ahead on their college plans and receive a challenging high school course.
As a homeschooler in Michigan, you could be eligible for payment for these courses as long as your child is enrolled in a public school or a state-approved nonpublic school. See the MDE Dual Enrollment page for more information.
Calculating high school credits for homeschooling in Michigan
As per Michigan statues, it’s up to the homeschool parent to
- assign homework
- give tests
- grade tests
- issue report cards
- issue a diploma
- provide a transcript
All of this is done based on the parent’s own standards and does not have to match what the public schools are doing. However, it’s wise (and recommended by MDE) to align your 4-year high school plan with that of Michigan high school requirements.
Public High School Graduation Requirements in Michigan (18 Credits)
- English language arts (ela) – 4 credits
- mathematics – 4 credits
- physical education – ½ credit
- health – ½ credit
- science – 3 credits
- social studies – 3 credits
- visual, performing, and applied arts – 1 credit
- world language – 2 credits
If your child is college-bound, keep college requirements top of mind as well. They are likely more stringent and specific than the general state requirements.
It’s imperative to keep good records at the high school level not only for the parent-issued transcript but also for any possible return to high school. In the event that your teen would return to public high school, that school would reevaluate your teen for grade placement and transfer of credit. While the decisions are their own, your records could be helpful.
Look into Sonlight's College and Career Planning Kit to help you plan for high school, assign credits, and create a transcript.
Michigan’s Online Course Catalog is a valuable resource for finding course names, descriptions, outlines, objectives, etc. This is great information for creating your own 4-year high school plan and for crafting a detailed transcript.
What are the requirements for health for Michigan homeschoolers?
While health is not listed in the required subjects to be taught at the high school level for homeschoolers, it’s a smart choice to include anyway! One half credit of health is required for high school graduation from a Michigan public school. Before you skip health, be sure to check the requirements of your teen’s preferred college to see if health is possibly a requirement.
Homeschooling high school diploma in Michigan
Michigan homeschool law states, “If home schooling continues through grade 12, the parent issues a high school diploma to the graduate.”
A diploma is really just a fancy piece of paper that certifies completion of a 4-year course of study. You can absolutely create a diploma or purchase a more professional one online.
How your homeschooled teen can get a Michigan Driver's License
The rules for getting a driver’s license are no different for homeschoolers, and no special homeschooling forms are required. All new drivers are required to take a select number of hours of driver education instruction. Read more here. It’s possible that your teen can can take drivers ed at a local school. Check with your school system for details.