The legal right to homeschool in Maryland is established through the compulsory school attendance law.
Education Article Section 7-301 requires children between a certain age to "attend a public school regularly
during the entire school year unless the child is otherwise receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school
year in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age."
In 1984, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), under authority of the General Assembly,
officially adopted home instruction regulations, COMAR 13A.10.01-.05 to guide how
homeschooling could take place in Maryland. Soon after, the Maryland Home Education Association was formed and offered
homeschool support and advocacy efforts. Run by a public school teacher whose children were being homeschooled, MHEA
provided leadership during the early years of homeschooling in Maryland. By the early 2000s, MHEA became mostly
inactive, as its founder focused his efforts on growing his private school, which also provided homeschool umbrella
In 2003, Maryland families were caught by surprise when MSDE proposed new homeschooling regulations -
without having first sought input from interested parties, as required by law. Homeschool families rallied and
requested that a new meeting be called to discuss the proposed changes before MSDE implemented them. Ultimately, the
regulatory changes included an annual verification form that parents would be required to sign, stating that they wish to continue to homeschool.
In addition, a process was implemented to require notification if a student's homeschool status changed during the
Not much happened in the Maryland homeschool world for the next few years. Occasional concerns
would arise in local counties that a simple phone call often resolved. In June 2010, a
brief informational presentation on the status of homeschooling was presented to the Board of Education by MSDE staff.
No representatives from the homeschool community were invited to attend. No direct action came from that meeting.
The Maryland Homeschool Association formed in early 2014, out of 10-years of grassroots efforts led by
Alessa Giampaolo Keener and her organization, Hand In Hand
Initially, the Hand In Hand website began as an informal project back in 2003, when Alessa wanted to
learn how to create webpages. Always a collector of information, Alessa decided to share news and resources with other
Maryland homeschool families through the new website. As MHEA became inactive, Hand In Hand stepped up its community
outreach by volunteering hundreds of hours each year - with friends, kids, and volunteers - monitoring and reading
education-related bills considered by the Maryland Assembly. Using old-fashioned grassroots organizing, Hand In Hand
successfully rallied statewide homeschoolers to oppose proposed legislation that would have placed new and unnecessary
restrictions on families who choose to educate their children at home.
As Hand In Hand grew into an educational advocacy business, the Maryland-specific content
was spun off into its own website - and MDHSA came into being, continuing the tradition of an all-volunteer run,
Rooted in the shared commonalities for the love of our children and our commitment to education -
yet celebrating the differences that each family holds dear to their individual households - Maryland Homeschool
Association continues to strive to support the needs of Maryland homeschooling families.