General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Maryland
The Annotated Code of Maryland, in its Education Article, Section 7-301 is where the state’s compulsory attendance law can be found. The general rule, as the law states, is that each child who is aged 5 through 18 years old shall go to a public school regularly for educational instructions during the entire school year.
Check out the short video about Maryland homeschooling laws:
There are several exceptions to the general rule under the law and two of the enumerated exceptions are regarding home education. The first one is the exemption to attend public school if the child is receiving appropriate, regular, and thorough instruction during the school year. The state recognizes home education as an effective means for students to receive regular and thorough instruction. The second one is if a home instruction program has been completed by the child with the determination of the parent or legal guardian and the verification by the local school district or proper supervising entity.
Notification of Intent to homeschool in Maryland
A statement must be initially signed by the parent or legal guardian who decides to teach their child at home on a form that is prescribed by the Department of Education of Maryland. This form includes the indication of consent of the parent or legal guardian to comply with what is required in the regulation. It shall be submitted to the school’s local superintendent at least fifteen (15) days prior to the start of the homeschooling program. If the submission requirement is not complied with or if the parent or legal guardian withdraw the student from without the immediate filing of the said form, the latter may possibly be considered truant if they are withdrawn from school.
Qualifications required to homeschool in Maryland
There are three (3) homeschooling options in Maryland – the Portfolio Option, the Homeschooling under a church umbrella option, and the State-approved school umbrella option. Under these options, the law does not require that a parent or legal guardian must be high school graduate with a diploma, or degree holder to be able to homeschool a child.
Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in Maryland
Maryland requires two hundred eighty (280) days of instruction or attendance of all students in public schools. The number of days or hours of instruction required for homeschool students in Maryland is presumed to be the same as the one being followed by public school students.
What subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Maryland?
The standard when it comes to the instruction of home school students is regular and thorough instruction. This instruction must be the courses usually taken up by the children of the same age in the public schools of the state. This includes subjects like English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Art, Physical Education, and Health. The parent or legal guardian may set any number of hours per day for each subject or for the number of days every week.
What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in Maryland?
The Portfolio Option is the only option that requires a record of students. The parent or legal guardian must maintain a portfolio of the educational materials used. This includes instructional and reading materials, examples of the student’s writing, workbooks, worksheets, materials for creativity, and tests. The portfolio can be reviewed by the local superintendent at a time and place mutually agreed by both parties. The review can only be done three times a year. After reviewing the portfolio and it was determined by the local superintendent that the child is not being educated according to the regulations, the parent or legal guardian will be notified of the program’s deficiencies and thirty (30) days will be given to providing proof that these deficiencies have been corrected, otherwise the parent or legal guardian must stop homeschooling. Regardless of the option chosen, it is still suggested that records should be maintained by the parent or legal guardian as these records will be helpful in future situations.
Is part-time enrollment permitted in Maryland?
Yes, part-time enrollment is permitted in Maryland. It is clearly stated that the regulations authorize enrollment on a part-time basis. Part-time or full-time enrollment may be done in courses offered by colleges, both accredited and unaccredited. However, this is subject to the acceptance by the college and payment of the required tuition and fees, if any. A parent or legal guardian who opts to enroll their child in college courses must furnish to the local superintendent a transcript or a report card from the college where the student is enrolled part-time, at the end of each semester in place of a materials portfolio for those courses.
Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in Maryland?
No, the homeschoolers are not allowed to join in extracurricular activities in Maryland. The regulations do not provide a provision that permits children who are homeschooled to participate in activities offered by the local school system except for the standardized testing programs.