Frequently Asked Questions About COMAR

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

Maryland is a moderately easy state to homeschool in. Once a parent submits their Notice of Intent, families are pretty much free to teach their children any way they see fit – as long as the home instruction meets a “regular, thorough” standard.

The homeschool regulation requires families to meet with their county school board or oversight umbrella for portfolio reviews. These reviews verify that parents are in compliance with COMAR.

The Maryland Homeschool Association offers families these COMAR FAQs, not as legal advice, but as a way to help make sense of your rights and responsibilities.

COMAR FAQs About Portfolio Requirements

COMAR does not require a specific number of work samples per subject to demonstrate that “regular, thorough instruction” has taken place. Some families will bring 1 or 2 work samples per week per subject, while other families will bring 1 or 2 samples per month. Still other families may bring a single long-term project with clear components that show how they covered many subject areas over multiple months.

COMAR does not require portfolio work samples to be dated. However, dating a child’s work is the easiest way to show compliance that your home instruction happens on a “regular” basis.

No. COMAR requires parents to keep a portfolio that “includes relevant materials” for each homeschool child. While pictures and book lists are examples of relevant materials that demonstrate “regular, thorough instruction”, they are not required to be in the portfolio. COMAR does suggest a list of what the portfolio may possibly include “such as instructional materials, and examples of the child’s writings, worksheets, workbooks, creative materials, and tests”.

COMAR states art, music, physical education, and health must be homeschooled every year. The regulation does not explicitly state how often these classes must be taught – only that the classes “take place on a regular basis during the school year and be of sufficient duration to implement the instruction”. One rule of thumb to use is the once-a-week instruction, alternating art and music, as well as gym and health, each semester that many public schools use.

Depending upon how COMAR is read, some counties say ‘yes’ these 4 classes must be taught each year of high school. Other counties say ‘no’ these 4 classes are not “usually taught” every 4 years and instead look to their local graduation requirements for guidance on how many total times each class must be covered in high school.

No. COMAR leaves all types of testing – such as pop quizzes, end of chapter tests, final exams, and annual achievement testing – at the discretion of the homeschool parent.

Should your county reviewer determine your homeschool portfolio is deficient, you will be told which subject areas did not show “regular, thorough instruction”. You will be given 30 days before you are scheduled to return and who you have resolved the stated deficiency. Should the county continue to state your homeschooling is deficient, your children will be ordered to be enrolled in school.


COMAR FAQs About Scheduling and Meeting

Yes. COMAR states that portfolio reviews must take place “at a time and place mutually agreeable” to the parent and county reviewer.

No. COMAR does not require families to fill out any type of paperwork prior to or during a portfolio review. Additionally, Maryland’s homeschool regulation clearly states “a local school system may not impose additional requirements for home instruction programs other than those in these regulations”.

No. Maryland county homeschool compliance reviews serve to ensure that parents are providing “regular, thorough instruction”. Children do not need to be present while county reviewers look at a family’s portfolio. Should it be more convenient for a family to bring their child to a portfolio review, the child is not obligated to participate in the review. NOTE: Umbrellas may have different requirements regarding child participation in portfolio reviews.

No. Effective August 2019, “observe instruction” was removed from the Maryland homeschool regulation for county reviewers. Additionally, language relating to umbrella reviewers visiting the site where instruction takes place was also removed from COMAR.

Nothing in COMAR prohibits remote homeschool portfolio reviews – as long as they are mutually agreed to between the parent and county reviewer.

Last modified on September 13, 2019