State Laws: Mississippi

by Reagan Collum

Read the text of the actual statute HERE.

Mississippi’s homeschool law doesn’t speak of anything related to a parent’s background, experience, or level of education. Thus, any parent or legal guardian may choose to homeschool at will.

The law requires completion of an annual intent-to-homeschool form, to be completed in person with the local school’s attendance officer by September 15 of each school year.

However, if your child has been enrolled in an institutional school (whether brick-and-mortar public or private, or online virtual public) and is being withdrawn in order to homeschool, the filing rules are different. If you want to withdraw a child from any such school in the middle of the “school year” (i.e., on any day after the school’s first official day), you must withdraw first and then immediately file an intent-to-homeschool form; failure to file the form may result in truancy accusations.

As applied to homeschoolers – and distinct from public school rules for kindergarten – Mississippi’s compulsory attendance law affects children between the ages of 6 and 18. Thus, a child who has turned 6 on or before September 1 of the year in question must be registered as a homeschool student. However, if a child turns 6 after September 1 – even if his birthday is September 2 – he is not required to register until the following year.

We’re presumed to be in compliance with the law and providing a suitable education for our children, and bureaucrats may not presume otherwise absent legitimate evidence to the contrary. There are no oversight requirements other than filing the intent-to-homeschool form each year.

Mississippi has no subject requirements.

The law does not mandate that a “school year” mirror a school-style calendar or be limited to a nine-month timeframe. Parents are free to set up their own “school calendars” with their choice of start/end dates and days off- and on-task, as well the hours of instruction each day. However, it is generally understood that a school calendar year should consist of at least 180 days.

The law does not specify homeschool graduation requirements and most definitely does not mandate that homeschools use public school graduation requirements. In fact, as the legal administrators of our homeschools – which operate independently of public/government schools – we are charged with determining each child’s graduation requirements for ourselves without regard to what area public schools mandate. Of course, a wise parent will begin with the end in mind, engaging in necessary research (i.e., visiting college and trade school websites to learn admissions requirements, checking with military recruitment offices, etc.) to determine what a child may need for his next step in life in order to plan an appropriate course of study for him. But the key word is customization; we may legally and without apology customize a high school program for each child and determine ways to “count” all that the child desires to learn about and study.

It’s very important to understand that our parent-generated diplomas and transcripts are legally binding and wholly acceptable, and that obtaining a GED is not at all necessary or preferable. The documents we create should be accurate and professional looking but, because homeschooling is a legal means by which a child of every age may receive a legal education, our final documents – without need for outside validation or “accreditation” - are just as acceptable as those from any other legal school in the state.

No standardized testing of any sort is required.

The law does not speak to vaccination requirements for homeschoolers. No records or exemption forms are required. It is important to note that Mississippi does not have any type of vaccine exemption policy.


Virtual Charter Schools:

There are no virtual charter schools available in Mississippi.

Special Education:
Public/government school districts in Mississippi are not required to provide the service of identifying and evaluating children in the district who may have a disability. They may choose to offer services to a homeschooled child if the child is identified as having special needs, but they are under no legal obligation to do so unless the parents cease homeschooling and enroll the child in the school.

Public School Sports Participation:
Current laws make no provision for the involvement of homeschooled students in public school extracurricular activities of any nature. Some districts may allow participation upon request.

The Mississippi homeschool law was originally passed in 1972. Occasional attempts to alter the current law continue, so we – like homeschoolers in every state – must be vigilant. We should endeavor, if possible so far as it depends on us, to live peaceably with all (Romans 12.18), aiming to educate our children quietly according to our own individual convictions. But we must also be ready to stand up boldly for our rights if necessary, willing to do whatever it takes to maintain – or, if possible, improve (via a decrease in regulations) – the current law.


Reagan Collum is a seasoned homeschool mother of two in South Mississippi. She founded and then led a large local homeschool support group from 2011 to 2017, until it merged with a local co-op program, HEARTS Ministry. Through that support group, the state's largest homeschool used curriculum sale was started. Each year, the Gulf Coast Home Educators Used Book Sale provides families with a great way to save money, and offers annual scholarships, volunteer opportunities, education, and more.