It’s a given that living in Maine comes with its perks; homeschooling is a viable option for people living in this state; it would come down to abiding by the legal standards and choosing a curriculum that works for your kid.
To homeschool in Maine, you’ll need to submit a letter of intent to your education district within ten days of the start of the school year and stick to the state’s required curriculum and reporting standards (more factors come into play, but these are the basics).
Let’s review all the things we need to know about homeschooling in Maine:
When considering homeschooling as a viable option for your child, some things need to be established:
- Maine has schedule flexibility that could adjust to your family’s time.
- Various learning curriculums are available that give you a more extensive spectrum to give your child a more dynamic and personalized learning experience.
- Commitment is crucial for this process since each tutor must submit all of the assessments completed by the student while keeping them filed with each year’s information.
- Guardians and tutors also can run the homeschool as a private school by providing annual compliant documentation covering 175 days of instruction in the demanded subjects. No assessment is involved, but there is a catch for this to be registered as a private school. There will be a need for two non-related students.
Before You Begin Homeschooling
The state of Maine requires homeschool parents or guardians to submit a written notice of homeschooling to your local superintendent (who is the head of the schools in your district) and the state of Maine within ten calendar days of the beginning of the school year.
The letter must include a template to meet the state’s requirement: Letter of intent – State of Maine.
Before September 1st of the following year, you must send a letter notifying your desire to continue homeschooling. And enclose a copy of the annual assessment of the student’s academic progress.
There are two options for this assessment;
- The child can take a standardized test to grade their progress. It could either be at the local school or purchased from the available companies.
- The 2nd option is a portfolio review, meaning a certified Maine teacher reviews the student’s work and accepts the progress made during the homeschooling year. (To learn about this possibility, you can reach out to the superintendent since the district has dedicated individuals that offer portfolio reviews)
It is essential to highlight that the reviewers are not assessing grade level or offering educational advice; they only want to identify practical homeschooling.
Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum
Many companies offer different options when it comes to education curriculums; these could also be obtained through the local superintendent.
Maine requires that the curriculum cover the following:
- Language Arts
- Social studies
- Health education
- Computer skills.
- And that is presented with at least 175 days of instructions per school year.
However, regardless of the route you take, there are some established standards you should take into consideration when finding the right one:
- The grade level should be your starting point since homeschooling students have different grades of understanding depending on the subjects; therefore, once the grade level is identified, you could begin finding an exciting curriculum that fits the student.
- Take the time to review curriculums that match your child’s age and personality; some students require more stimulation to direct subjects and may require different visual programs.
- It would help if you accommodated the curriculum to your student’s learning style because homeschooling allows you to tailor it to your student’s abilities. You must get familiarized with the type of learner they are and adjust to their needs.
Here’s a provider’s curriculum catalog http://discoveryk12.com/dk12/curriculum/ for you to paint a better picture of what you should expect. School House Teachers offer various classes and subjects based on age, interest, and grade level for early childhood education through high school.
Record Keeping For Homeschooled Students
For reporting and efficient documentation, the state of Maine suggests the student’s portfolio is created at the beginning of the school year since the state requires submitting an assessment at the end of the year from a standardized evaluation or a stamp of approval by a certified advisor or teacher. Applecore, Homeschool Tracker, and Homeschool Panda are record-keeping programs that maximize tracking and scheduling efficiency.
Structure the child’s work samples at the school year’s beginning, middle, and end. Although you might think everything needs to be filed, that is not the case. It would be best if you were on the lookout for:
- A record of attendance can serve as a strong ally.
- Keep a list of all the subject areas you covered per assignment with its publisher or your chosen curriculum provider.
- Keep a couple of map tests or evaluations made.
- Take pictures of science projects or activities.
- Keep track of books read throughout the school year.
- Even on a field trip, please take note of it and save some pictures.
- If an online tool is what you opt for to track down the process, take screenshots and save PDFs that show the results.
Homeschooling and Special Education Services
Maine offers the possibility for special needs students to experience proper homeschooling that works for them.
The process will be similar to the average experience; the differences lie in keeping the student’s documentation. The standard of documentation is higher for students with unique needs. Goals need to be shown through progression charts demonstrating that homeschooling is effective.
In addition to extra documentation, the class portfolio or curriculum is particular and tailored to fulfill a successful learning journey for the student.
Field Trips For Homeschooled Students
Maine boasts a diverse range of field trip options. Homeschooling affords families more flexibility; they can engage in more hands-on learning activities than they might in a typical classroom.
Here you’ll find examples of field trip locations in Maine that nurture specific subjects;
Maine Home School Field Trips. Here are a few of our suggested learning stops:
- Herring Gut Learning Center – This facility offers detailed information on aquaculture and marine science.
- The Maine State Aquarium – Although this aquarium may be temporarily closed due to covid, it offers a wide range of species your kids could learn about.
- Maine Maritime Museum – Maine has a lot of maritime history on its hands, and this will be an excellent place to help give your kids a better picture of the state’s past.
The dynamic will be more personalized. It would just come down to proper documentation and ensuring that the location adds value to the child’s learning process.
Homeschool Associations, Groups, and Co-Ops
Because homeschooling in Maine is controlled at the state level, finding local homeschoolers is vital.
There are numerous homeschool support groups throughout the state to pick from. Tutors are prone to find a Maine homeschool community that follows your family’s aims and values, despite where you stay or how you homeschool.
Here you can find multiple support groups aligned with the state’s standards and that are within the state of Maine;
Guardians/tutors are also encouraged to initiate support groups and find opinions to make their student’s education courses the best.
Graduation for Homeschooling Students?
When homeschooling, you can’t help but think about what would come next after high school.
Graduation isn’t too concerning since Maine doesn’t have specific credits or requirements besides meeting the standard curriculum. As a result, the tutor determines that the plan will meet their needs during high school and be evaluated regularly.
To sum it up, Maine has a very straightforward approach to homeschooling.
Their expectations are clearly defined and easy to find, besides the fact that local educational resources are keen to assist. By fully understanding the curriculum’s requirements, the teacher will go from novice to expert and provide students with optimal results. Documentation is critical; sticking to a schedule and creating a routine will be detrimental to the outcome of homeschooling.