** This webpage is provided for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. **
Homeschool co-ops have existed in Maryland for decades. Originally, co-ops were created by families who chose to meet once or twice a week to learn together in select classes. Parents volunteered to create and teach a class and there’d be social time afterwards.
Over the years, some co-ops have transformed into much more committed endeavors. Today, some co-ops require families to pay tuition, purchase specific books, and follow an explicit curriculum for an entire year. What once was seen as an informal way of supplementing a family’s home instruction has become very much like a small scale non-public school.
So, what does this mean in plain-speak?
- 20 homeschool families who get together once a week for 2-hours of enrichment learning participate in a co-op
- 3 families who meet 4-days a week to share all their classes together would likely be considered a school
If You Run a Co-op
The legality of certain homeschool co-ops has not been officially established by the Maryland State Department of Education. 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.
Co-ops run by bonafide church organizations – that meet the definition of a “school” – must file notice of their school’s legal existence with the Maryland State Department of Education. Anyone else operating a “school” must obtain a Certificate of Approval from MSDE to operate as a nonpublic school.
Last modified on September 13, 2019