** This webpage is provided for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. **

Homeschoolers Returning to Public School

Maryland regulations explain the process for how homeschoolers can attend public school, if they no longer want to homeschool.

COMAR 13A.10.01.04 states:

Upon application of a child for admission to a public school from a home instruction program, the local superintendent shall determine by an evaluation the placement of the child and any credits to be awarded toward high school graduation. The evaluation may include administration of standardized tests and examinations and interviews with the child.

Let’s break down the legalese into practical terms of what you can expect.

  • “Upon application”
    As a Maryland resident, your child is entitled to a free public education at his or her locally zoned school. In order to be enrolled, you must provide documentation that you actually live in the zoned area and that the child you are enrolling is under your legal custody. Contact your local school to find out what specific documents you must bring to prove residency and custody. You can enroll your child in public school at any time of the year, from before school starts in August or September – up until the last week of school.

    If you are interested in having your homeschool child attend a magnet school program in your county, applications for those spots are generally due in November the year before you want your child to attend.

  • “the local superintendent”
    Maryland has 24 school boards – one in each county and one in Baltimore City. Each school board is led by a superintendent who oversees numerous offices that work together to run the local public school agency. Individual schools, however, are run by the school’s principal. It is the principal, who acts on behalf of the superintendent. Principals have a little bit of leeway in making the ultimate decision for a new student’s grade placement within their school.

  • “The evaluation may include”
    The word may is extremely important here, as no statewide process exists for evaluating and determining a transfer student’s grade designation. Generally speaking, elementary and middle school transfers are pretty straightforward when parents are requesting a grade placement that matches their child’s age. However, be aware that public schools are not obligated to accept a parent or umbrella’s documentation relating to a student’s grade level. Additionally, public schools are not obligated to recognize a homeschool curriculum’s “accredited” designation as proof of grade level designation.

    The bottom line: The more comprehensive documentation you can provide the public school from your homeschool portfolio, the less intrusive their evaluation of your child may be.

  • “administration of standardized tests and examinations and interviews with the child”
    Some evaluation options that public schools may use when determining a grade placement for a homeschool transfer student include:

    • Reviewing homeschool work samples one-on-one with your child
    • Working through sample problems with a teacher
    • Interview with the guidance counselor, department head, or district-wide content area expert
    • End-of-year content area tests, such as Algebra 1
    • Individually administered achievement and/or ability tests

    Homeschoolers hoping to transfer in high school credit earned while they were educated at home should anticipate taking end-0f-year tests. Parents can petition the school to accept other credit verification documentation, such as a 3+ AP score, a community college transcript that includes pre-approved equivalent courses, or a certification of completion from a Maryland approved distance learning course.

Last modified on July 17, 2020