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The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only.
It should not to be considered legal advice.
On July 1, 2017,
Maryland's compulsory school age law went into full effect. The law, which defines the ages
when a child must attend school, officially raised the drop-out age to 18. The
minimum age for starting school continues to be five.
Why This Matters for Homeschoolers
Maryland's Education Article §7-301, is the law that requires all children
between a certain age to attend public school. The law, however, offers a number of exemptions from
compulsory public school attendance. Specifically, it says:
(A) This section does not apply to a child under the age of 18 years who:
(3) is receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school year
in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of same age;
(4) has completed an instruction program under paragraph (3) of this
Subsection (A)(3) of the compulsory school age law is what makes homeschooling -
or attending private or religious school - legal in Maryland. So, while you can choose other
educational options over public school, parents and guardians are required to ensure children
between the ages of 5 and 18 are receiving regular, thorough instruction.
Graduating Homeschool High School Before 18
A question remains with how Section (A)(4) applies to homeschoolers. Maryland
homeschoolers are not explicitly required to complete
state graduation requirements. So, how does a family determine that their child has
completed high school through their homeschool course of study - before the age of 18?
Because Maryland has no explicit law or regulation identifying homeschool
graduation requirements, a parent can arguably say that their homeschool child has "completed
an instruction program" and is ready to graduate at an age younger than 18 - regardless of how
many total credits the student may have.
For as compelling as it may be to graduate your homeschooler early, families
are encouraged to think through the decision and consider what the homeschool graduate's future
plans may hold.
College-bound homeschoolers can look at entrance requirements for specific
schools to help determine if their high school homeschool "instruction program" matches up. If
a homeschooler is accepted into full-time college before the age of 18, then it is safe to say
they have successfully completed homeschooling and have graduated.
Military and technical training-bound homeschoolers will also want to look at
program requirements for their future career choices. Many homeschool graduates have been asked to
provide portfolios and transcripts to verify their homeschool diploma represents an
equivalent course of study, as compared to a state-issued diploma. Graduating early without
completing 4-years of English or Algebra 1 may prevent a homeschool graduate from being able to
obtain future employment.
The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only. It should not to be considered legal advice.
More Information About Homeschool High School Graduation