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Clarifying Common Homeschool Questions for Maryland Families


The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only.
MDHSA does not offer or give legal advice or counsel.


On Thursday, August 23, 2018, the Maryland Homeschool Association hosted a community meeting with statewide homeschooling families and with Dr. Lynne Muller, Section Chief for Student Services and School Counseling with the Maryland State Department of Education. One of Dr. Muller's duties with MSDE is to oversee homeschooling and to ensure that county homeschool liaisons are properly implementing COMAR homeschool regulations.

Dr. Muller offered clarifications on the following commonly asked questions regarding homeschooling in Maryland:


Notice of Intent and Starting to Homeschool

  • Homeschooling Preschoolers
    Families may homeschool their children beginning at any age. They do not, however, need to file a Notice of Intent form until their child reaches the compulsory school age of 5. Families should be aware that if they plan to homeschool early and then enroll their child into 1st or 2nd grade - but their child is technically too young for the grade level per public school standards - the school will evaluate the child to determine grade level placement just as they do for any student returning to public school from home schooling.
  • Homeschooling Grandchildren
    Grandparents who do not have legal guardianship for their grandchildren may help to homeschool their grandchild - however, the child's parent is responsible for filing all paperwork and for meeting portfolio review requirements.
  • Length of Homeschool Year
    Homeschool families must teach their children for a "sufficient duration to implement the instruction program." How long is sufficient depends upon your child's learning needs. COMAR, however, does not require homeschool families to teach their children for 180 days. Additionally, families are not required to follow a school year calendar. Families should discuss their plans with the home school Coordinator in their school system.
  • Homeschooling Up to Age 18
    Homeschool parents can determine when their child has completed high shool, as long as they can show the child has completed all the regular courses a 12th grader would normally take. There is no age of completion for home instruction.

Portfolio Questions

  • Dating Work Samples
    While COMAR does not require families to date work samples, doing so helps to establish if regular, thorough instruction is being provided. If a family chooses to not date their child's work, they should consider alternative ways to show regular, thorough instruction.
  • Number of Work Samples
    No specific number of work samples can be required from a family. One (or two) work samples per week per subject per child is a reasonable expectation to demonstrate regular, thorough instruction.
  • High School English Requirements
    Maryland homeschool students are required to teach four years of English.
  • High School Math Requirements
    Maryland COMAR 13A.03.02.02 specifically requires Algebra 1 and Geometry be taught to students enrolled in high school. MSDE interprets that to mean that regular, thorough instruction for homeschoolers of high school age must include a minimum of Algebra 1 and Geometry. Math is required every year the student is in high school.
  • PE, Health, Art, and Music Requirements
    Homeschool families are not required to teach physical education, health, art, or music more frequently than is taught in public schools. In other words, if a county only offers health one-day a week for one-semester for each year of elementary school, then homeschool families should not be required to teach more than that. MSDE recommends a similar rule-of-thumb be applied to high school homeschoolers.

Residency Issues

  • Homeschooling While Traveling
    As long as a homeschool family maintains a legal residence in the state of Maryland, they are subject to portfolio reviews even if they opt to homeschool with RVing the country or otherwise traveling abroad. Travel-homeschool families should make arrangemens with their county liaison to schedule a digital review or discuss arrangements for paper reviews. NOTE: Maryland military homeschool families stationed outside of Maryland fall should follow the homeschool regulations where they are stationed.
  • Moving to Another County
    Should a homeschool family move to another county within Maryland, they will have to complete a new form. There is no process to transfer files or notification forms.
  • Out-of-State Online Curriculum Providers
    Maryland families who register their children to use a complete online curriculum that is (or is not) accredited and based in another state still must participate in portfolio reviews with their local county liaison or with a registered umbrella. Registering a homescholer in an out-of-state online school does not constitute a school transfer situation.

Other Questions

  • Co-ops
    Generally speaking, MSDE considers a co-op as operating as an unregistered school if the co-op meets very regularly and provides all of a child's instruction. Attending an unregistered school is not considered homeschooling by MSDE.
  • Accessing Special Education
    In the State of Maryland, homeschoolers may request FREE evaluations through their local public school, if they suspect their child may have a special learning need. Once the testing has been completed, the school will let the family know what services the child would be eligible for if the parent enrolls the child in public school. In Maryland, public schools are not required to provide special education services to homeschool families.

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The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only.
MDHSA does not offer or give legal advice or counsel.


                     


                               

© 2014 Maryland Homeschool Association       E-mail:     |         |                                                 Last Updated August 24, 2018