Missouri parents choosing to homeschool are not required to report to the state.


Missouri is in the midwestern United States. Homeschooling was first legalized in 1978, and then later refined in 1985 after a federal court decision in Ellis v. O’Hara found that the prior law was too vague and allowed for too much discretion in enforcing.


In Missouri, parents may homeschool their children, ages 7 to 17, Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.031.1(3) and §167.031.2(3), in an environment that “has as its main purpose the provision of private or religious instruction” Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.031.2(1)(a)-(c). The state does not require that families notify the superintendent of their local district or the county of their intention to homeschool. Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.042. However, the the state does say that by letting the recorder of county deeds know the intent to home school, it will minimize “unnecessary investigations due to reports of truancy.”

While there are no minimum education requirements, the state recommends homeschool families maintain records that include a plan, diary, and/or daily log, a portfolio of student work, and academic assessment or evaluation records. However, these records do not need to be submitted. Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.031. Additionally, the state requires 1,000 hours of overall instruction and 600 hours in basic subjects such as reading, math, and social studies. Almost half the hours must occur in the home setting. Mo. Rev. Stat. §167.031.

Missouri does have a state policy on homeschooled students’ access to public school classes or activities. All nonpublic school students have unlimited and publicly funded access to extracurricular activities and courses provided at public schools. However, the statute does not explicitly require districts to offer access. As such, there is some district discretion as to actual access despite the statute. Access to special education services is decided at the local level.

State Data

Missouri does not report homeschool participation for the state. While the lack of any official data is problematic, when at least some students file participation information, there is some available information. U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 5.9% of Missouri families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 10.9% by the fall of 2020. During the 2022 and 2023 school years, the U.S. Census found that an average of 5.8% of all K-12 students in Missouri were homeschooled.

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Cross-Sector Comparison

We cannot calculate a cross-sector comparison because we lack information on homeschool participation.

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, there are several school choice options in Missouri. These include enrollment in traditional public, private, magnet, charter, and virtual online schools. As of 2021, Missouri has a minimal tax credit Education Savings Account (ESA), serving around 900 students in just a few state regions. Similarly, charter schools are limited primarily to Kansas City and St. Louis.


Missouri should publicly report the homeschool attendance data that it collects. While not comprehensive, it would shed light on homeschool participation trends for the state. Further, given the low regulatory burden and the limited public or private educational options, homeschool participation is likely quite high, similar to its neighboring state of Oklahoma.

Last updated December 2023.