Home : Starting

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 ยง7-301, 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;

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



© 2014 Maryland Homeschool Association       E-mail:     |         |                                                 Last Updated September 11, 2018