Homeschooling is an excellent way to educate children at their own pace.
What Is Home Education?
Home education means educating your child(ren) at home instead of sending them to a traditional classroom or private institution like a daycare center or preschool.
Maryland has strict laws regarding who can homeschool, what you need to do to get started, how long you must teach each subject, and even where you may live.
To start homeschooling in Maryland, follow these steps:
- Research and familiarize yourself with the homeschooling laws and regulations in Maryland.
- Notify your local school district of your intent to homeschool by submitting a notice of intent.
- Keep records of your child’s homeschooling progress and provide them to the Maryland State Department of Education upon request.
- Provide instruction in specific subjects as required by Maryland state law.
- Meet the attendance requirements as set by Maryland state law.
- Register with a homeschooling organization or program if desired.
- Follow any additional regulations or laws set by your local school district or state.
- Start homeschooling and keep records of your child’s progress.
- Be aware that Maryland requires annual assessments for homeschooled students, which can be done through a standardized test, portfolio evaluation, or evaluation by a certified teacher.
- Remember that Maryland allows for different homeschooling options. You must check with your local school district or the Maryland State Department of Education for specific guidelines.
It’s important to note that Maryland requires parents to submit an annual assessment of their child’s progress. Submitting assessments can be done through a standardized test, portfolio evaluation, or evaluation by a certified teacher. It is vital to keep records of instruction, attendance, and assessment and provide them to the Maryland State Department of Education upon request.
Why Homeschool in Maryland?
Maryland’s compulsory school age law requires all children between ages 5-18 to attend public school unless they meet one of several exemptions outlined by the State Department of Education (MD Code Annotated Title 5 Subtitle 1 Article 16 §6-202 (2016)).
This requirement aims to provide children with adequate access to quality education so they graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education, employment, or military service.
Maryland also provides additional opportunities for students to achieve academic success through charter schools, vocational/technical schools, and private schools.
How Do I Get Started?
To start homeschooling in Maryland, file a Notice of Consent form with your superintendent. This document allows you to register your intent to homeschool your child(ren).
Once accepted into the homeschool program, you will begin teaching the required subjects: math, English, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education.
You must then determine which curriculum you will use to teach these courses. If you purchase a homeschool curriculum, many low-cost community-based resources are available to help you find one.
If you prefer to learn independently, some families create homeschool curriculums using online learning tools such as Khan Academy and YouTube videos. Others opt to use existing textbooks to supplement their lessons.
Regardless of your choice, it is crucial to ensure that the coursework you provide meets minimum standards set forth by the Maryland State Department of Education (MD Code Annotated Title 5 Subtitle 1 Article 16 §6-205 (2016)).
There are three ways to homeschool in Maryland legally. Each state sets its policies and procedures for homeschooling. Some states have no requirements, while others want parents to submit certain forms and follow specific guidelines.
Are You Sure It’s Legal?
Before you enroll your child(ren) in a homeschool program, it is essential to understand that although homeschooling is legal in Maryland, it is not necessarily easy. As mentioned above, each state sets its regulations governing homeschooling, so if you move to another state, you might have to adjust your approach accordingly.
In addition, because homeschoolers are not part of the general public, you cannot expect every interaction you have with teachers, administrators, and other school district members to go smoothly.
It is also important to remember that homeschooled children often face scrutiny and skepticism when interacting with others outside the homeschool community.
Despite these challenges, homeschooling offers numerous advantages over traditional public education.
The Homeschool Curriculum Choices
When choosing a homeschool curriculum, consider the cost and the level of support each company provides. Many companies offer free trial periods during which you can try their products before deciding whether to buy. Also, look for companies that provide supplemental materials, interactive activities, and other types of support.
Some companies offer online classes and tutorials designed specifically for homeschoolers. These classes can be helpful for those who need extra guidance along the way.
Homeschooling groups and organizations can also be beneficial resources. A group of parents sharing common interests can provide valuable information about homeschooling issues and answer questions concerning homeschooling laws and regulations.
As with any educational decision, we are weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling is important.
While homeschooling gives kids more control over their lives, it does limit their ability to interact with peers outside of the homeschool environment.
For example, many teens enjoy participating in extracurricular activities their school districts offer. However, homeschooled teenagers typically cannot participate in sports teams or clubs due to a lack of transportation.
Another potential drawback to homeschooling is that it takes time away from work. Parents who depend on the income earned from jobs often struggle with giving up days off to spend hours teaching their children.
However, given the increased flexibility homeschooling offers, developing a schedule that works for everyone involved is possible.
Getting Help From Your Local School District
Many believe that once they enroll their children in a homeschool program, they are responsible for everything related to their education. While this is true to a certain extent, you should never underestimate the value of working closely with your local school district.
Parents who fail to collaborate with their local school district risk losing their right to homeschool altogether. Even if you don’t plan to send your child(ren) to a traditional classroom, it is still important to maintain contact with your school district.
This helps ensure your child receives appropriate services and accommodations throughout their academic career.
Additionally, many local school districts offer tutoring sessions, after-school programs, and other enrichment activities that can significantly improve your child’s educational experience.
Finally, you should always seek advice from a qualified professional whenever you encounter problems or difficulties.
Starting Homeschool Year One
Once you have filed the necessary paperwork and enrolled your child(ren) in a homeschool program, you are ready to begin homeschooling!
Your first year of homeschooling will likely involve a lot of reading, writing, and math practice. This is normal, but take breaks to allow your child(ren) to discover new topics and explore their interests.
Because homeschooling involves constant learning, it is vital to establish clear rules and boundaries early on. It is also essential to communicate these expectations clearly to your child(ren), so they know what is expected of them.
Remember that homeschooling is just as much fun as going to school. There are plenty of things to do together besides studying. You could visit museums, go hiking, or watch movies together. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something your child enjoys doing.