2019 Maryland Homeschool Regulation Proposed Changed

2019 COMAR change

On Friday, June 7, the Maryland State Department of Education published proposed changes to the state’s homeschool regulation. The changes are straightforward and simple:

  1. Delete the phrase “observe instruction” in COMAR 13A.10.01.E that pertains to county homeschool liaisons; AND
  2. Delete the entire requirement for “Annual visits by supervisory personnel to the site where the pupil is receiving instruction.” in COMAR 13A.10.05(1)(c) that pertains to umbrella reviewers.

Should the proposed homeschool regulations go into effect, local county school boards will no longer have the option to request or require to “observe instruction” of a homeschool child. Additionally, umbrellas will no longer be required to conduct reviews in a family’s home.

How This Proposed Change Come About

In 2018, the MSDE met with a group of interested parties, including a representative from the Maryland Homeschool Association, to discuss possible regulatory changes. As Dr. Lynne Muller, MSDE Section Chief for Student Services and School Counseling, noted in the meeting and presented to the Board of Education, “observe instruction” is not a practical component for determining whether a homeschool child is receiving regular, thorough instruction.

Read the full Board of Education report explaining why the specific language should be removed from the regulation.




What You Need to Do

The proposed change has been published in the Maryland Register. The open comment period runs from June 7 to July 8, 2019. During that time, anyone from the public may submit written comments in support or in opposition to the proposed change.

MDHSA recommends sending a simple message, such as: I support both proposed changes to COMAR 13A.10.01, the home instruction regulation.

Email comments to: walter.sallee (at) maryland.gov
Subject Line: COMAR 13A.10.01 Proposed Change

NOTE: This open comment period is NOT the time to ask for additional changes to the homeschool regulation. Comments regarding non-proposed changes will not be taken into consideration by the Maryland State Board of Education at this time.

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What Happens Next

Once the comment period closes in early July, MSDE will take a few weeks to read through and compile all the comments into a chart. A report about the comments will be presented to the State Board of Education as early as July 23, 2019.

Unless MSDE receives significant public opposition, the Board will most likely approve the change and officially vote to remove the “observe instruction” language and the required umbrella home visits from the homeschool regulation. We anticipate (but do not guarantee) that the change will go into by the end of November 2019.

4 Comments

    • Great to hear, Audrey! We think it’s an excellent change, too; but we need all families to send in their email to MSDE so your YAY will be properly counted.

  1. Do these changes mean that there will be no more monitoring of homeschool families? Will we still be required to report, initially to a county representative or umbrella group? Will we still be required to have oversight? Are there negative ramifications down the road, by removing this from the regulations? I just want to be sure I completely understand what this is really about, before I put my support behind it.

    • Sarah, The proposed changes are very specific and only include removing a few words from the homeschool regulation. The rest of the COMAR requirements will remain in effect – meaning that even if the changes go into effect, families will still be required to do reviews with their county liaison or with an umbrella. We are not attorneys and can’t give legal advice, but we can’t see any negative consequences with this proposed change. We encourage families to let MSDE know they support the change.

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