How to Teach at Home
by Christina Yeager
Each state not only has different learning criteria for public and private schools, but there are also regulations in place for homeschoolers as well. Many states vary in the regulations and mandates set for homeschooling. Maryland is no exception. Find out what it takes to start homeschooling your child in the State of Maryland!
Each state is the U.S. has a very specific set of regulations for homeschooling. If you are thinking about teaching your child at home, you'll need to know the ins and outs of what needs to be done beforehand and during. In this series, Homeschooling Regulations by State, we'll explore information to help with the decision, what to do to get started and what to do correctly to continue.
Compulsory School Age
In the state of Maryland, children between the ages of 5 and 18 must attend public school during the school year with only a few exceptions. As you could suspect, homeschooling would be one of those exceptions with the understanding that the child is still learning material that would normally be taught within a public school setting, by a thorough instructor.
Among the home instruction program in Maryland, children must be taught in the areas of:
While these subjects must be covered, Maryland does not require a specific curriculum program to be followed. This allows parents or guardians to determine how they choose to teach content. This flexibility is there within the outline of the topics that need to be covered as mentioned above.
Instruction and reporting
Home instruction programs in Maryland don’t necessarily have to follow the same schedule as public schools, but they do have to be supervised. A parent or guardian can choose to submit a portfolio for review or obtain a non-public entity, such as a church exempt non-public school, to supervise. The parent or guardian does not, however, have to be the instructor. If supervision is being done by a non-public entity, that organization would also need to contact the Maryland State Department of Education in order to obtain registration procedures for the purpose of supervision a home instruction program.
Standardized testing is also available for children who are homeschooled, but must be coordinated with the public school system in order for the child to attend the testing.
Required paperwork and truancy avoidance
In addition to these things, Maryland requires parents or guardians to sign a consent form by the Maryland State Department of Education agreeing to the homeschool requirements. This form must be completed at least 15 days prior to beginning home instruction, or homeschooling programs. If the consent form is not turned in in a timely manner but a child has been withdrawn from school, there may be consequences for the parent, as they would be responsible for unexcused absences. In order to continue homeschooling, verification of the continuance of the home instruction program must be done on an annual basis. Local school systems must also be notified of any change in status that occurs within a given school year.
If you are currently considering making the change to homeschool from public school and are in the state of Maryland, make sure you are familiar with what is required in addition to the above-listed things. No matter what state you are in, ensure you have researched and properly filled out necessary documentation and provided it within the given timeline in order to ensure you are well within state guidelines to do so.
Are you a homeschooler (new or veteran) seeking to share insight? Read our guidelines and then reach out introducing yourself to obtain blogging credentials! And if you're a homeschool parent, be sure to follow the Homeschooling Heroes page on Facebook for tons of resources and insight, and join the Unschool Homeschool group to expand your horizons as to what homeschooling is/can be. And finally, if you're looking for activities to join, we have a group with New Orleans-based activities, which will be expanding to an area near you - so join our group! And be excited about that, because we offer tons of exceptional educational and extracurricular activities for homeschoolers and parents, and can't wait to include you.