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

Attention COVID19 Homeschool Families

If you are electing to officially homeshool for the short-term during the COVID19 pandemic, be sure to talk with your child’s guidance counselor about the process for re-enrolling back into public school. This conversation is important to have before you purchase curriculum. If you have a middle or high school student, be certain to ask how your local public school will handle homeschool transfer credits.

State regulations dictate how Maryland public schools may grant high school credits. Specifically, COMAR 13A.03.02.04 identifies a number of ways that a student can earn credit, even when they have not completed an official public school course but can successfully demonstrate having learned a specific unit of study.

Maryland homeschoolers only need to worry about public school credits **IF** they plan on transfering their student into high school **AND** they would like to transfer certain homeschool credits with their student.

The Bad News

Public schools are not obligated to accept a homeschool umbrella’s transcript listing high school credits earned. Even if your umbrella holds a nonpublic school certificate approval with the Maryland State Department of Education, it is unlikely your umbrella has a Memorandum of Understanding which lists classes MSDE will automatically accept as a transfer credit.

“Accredited” online schools, such as Penn Foster or K12, face the same obstacles with transfer credits.

The Good News

State regulations identify seven alternative ways for earning high school credit. Four of the ways may apply to homeschool transfer credits.

1- Credit Through Examination 

High school credit can be earned “by passing an examination that assesses student demonstration of local school system curricular objectives”. Generally, this means a student must pass the end-of-year final for a class. COMAR does not actually require the examination be a written one. Oral exams for foreign language, English, science, and social studies credits can also be used. Additionally, multiple credits can be earned with a single passing score on a final exam. For example, a student passing an Algebra 2 final can earn a high school credit for Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.

2- Independent Study/Internships 

Maryland does not specifically define “Independent Study”, but it does allow a student to earn high school credit if the student “successfully demonstrates pre-established curricular objectives”. A homeschool portfolio with comprehensive work samples can be presented to the school’s subject-area department chairperson for review. If the department chair determines the homeschool portfolio coursework meets state standards of what is usually taught in a specific class, the school principal can authorize credit to be given for that class.

3- Pre-Approved Online Courses 

MSDE maintains a comprehensive list of online courses that have gone through a vigorous vetting process and have been determined to be equivalent credit courses to what is usually taught in Maryland public schools. COMAR requires that the online course must be delivered by the local school system in order for the credit to be granted. If your homeschooler has completed an online course that matches the MSDE pre-approved list, you can try to make the case that credit should be granted. Technically, the course would be granted under the Independent Study category.

4- College Courses 

Every Maryland community college has an articulation agreement with their local public school district that lists specific college level courses that are eligible for high school credit. Contact your school district and request a copy of the transfer credit list, so you will know ahead of time what transfer options you can request.

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

Last modified on July 12, 2020

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