Maryland Homeschool
Law

Maryland Homeschool Law

Maryland law provides families with four different options for homeschooling: 

01

Portfolio Option

02

Church Umbrella Option

03

Church-Exempt Umbrella Option

04

State-Approved Umbrella Option

Option 1: Portfolio Option

The homeschool must provide regular, thorough instruction in the required subjects and meet the following criteria:

1. Such instruction shall be of “sufficient duration to implement the instructional program.”

2. The parents must maintain a portfolio including “relevant materials such as instructional materials, reading materials, and examples of the child’s writings work sheets, workbooks, creative materials, and tests.” Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.01(D).

3. The portfolio must demonstrate that the child is receiving regular thorough instruction in the required subjects and must be reviewed by the local superintendent at the conclusion of each semester at a mutually agreeable time and place, but not more than three times a year.

4. Option 1 families are no longer required to allow a school official to “observe instruction” (i.e., to observe the child receiving instruction). This regulation was repealed effective August 12, 2019.

5. If a local superintendent determines after review of the portfolio that a child “is not receiving a regular, thorough instruction program in conformity” with the regulations, the superintendent shall notify the family of any deficiencies. The family then has 30 days to provide evidence that deficiency is remedied or they will have to cease home schooling.

6. An adverse decision of the superintendent may be appealed to the county school board within 30 days. An adverse decision of the school board may in turn be appealed to the State Board of Education within 30 days. Md. Educ. § 4-205(c)(3).

7. “A local school system may not impose additional requirements for home instruction programs other than those in the regulations.” Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.01(F).

Option 2: Church Umbrella Option

Under this option, the child’s “instruction is offered … under the supervision of:”

1. A church umbrella, which is an “institution offering an educational program operated by a bona- fide church organization.” To qualify as a “church umbrella,” a church need only:

a. Send a letter to the state superintendent declaring it is in compliance with the applicable requirements and is responsible for governing and operating the umbrella (Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 09.09.01(C)); and

b. Provide documentation that supports the bona fide church status (either proof from the IRS, or church’s articles of incorporation, or evidence of traditional church practices).

2. The church umbrella must supervise the instruction with:

a. Pre-enrollment conferences;

b. Textbooks and lesson plan review;

c. Periodic conferences with parents (phone conferences will satisfy).

Requirements a, b, and c may be satisfied at one time. Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, §10.01.05(A)(1)

The program should seek to be added to the Department of Education’s list of “nonpublic entities registered to supervise home instruction.”

The Department of Education refers to church umbrellas as “education ministries.”

Option 3: Church-Exempt School Umbrella Option

A school operated by a church that is exempt from state school approval requirements may operate an umbrella program. The requirements for setting up and operating a church-exempt school are not listed in this outline. After securing church-exempt school status, the school should seek to be added to the state’s list of non-public entities registered to supervise home instruction.

The church-exempt school umbrella must supervise the homeschool instruction with:

a. Pre-enrollment conferences;

b. Textbooks and lesson plan review;

c. Periodic conferences with parents (phone conferences will satisfy).

Requirements a, b, and c may be satisfied at one time. Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, §10.01.05(A)(1) Maryland MD-3

The program should seek to be added to the Department of Education’s list of “nonpublic entities registered to supervise home instruction.”

Option 4: State-Approved School Umbrella Option

Under this option, the child’s instruction is offered under the supervision of a nonpublic school with a certificate of approval from the State Board of Education and supervision includes textbooks, lesson materials, and other instructional materials or equipment to be used by the pupil and assignment of a school-based teacher to assist the home teacher and to assist the pupil by issuing progress reports, marking papers, and grading tests. Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.05(B).

The program should seek to be added to the Department of Education’s list of “nonpublic entities registered to supervise home instruction.”
Filing and Notices: Parents must file a one-time “Notice of Consent” form prescribed by the State Department of Education at least 15 days before the home instruction program begins (the 15-day requirement is probably unenforceable). Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.01(B)(1). It does not need to be refiled annually.

THIS ANALYSIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE GIVING OF LEGAL ADVICE.

Maryland law provides families with four different options for homeschooling: 

01

Portfolio Option

02

Church Umbrella Option

03

Church-Exempt Umbrella Option

04

State-Approved Umbrella Option

Option 1: Portfolio Option

The homeschool must provide regular, thorough instruction in the required subjects and meet the following criteria:

1. Such instruction shall be of “sufficient duration to implement the instructional program.”

2. The parents must maintain a portfolio including “relevant materials such as instructional materials, reading materials, and examples of the child’s writings work sheets, workbooks, creative materials, and tests.” Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.01(D).

3. The portfolio must demonstrate that the child is receiving regular thorough instruction in the required subjects and must be reviewed by the local superintendent at the conclusion of each semester at a mutually agreeable time and place, but not more than three times a year.

4. Option 1 families are no longer required to allow a school official to “observe instruction” (i.e., to observe the child receiving instruction). This regulation was repealed effective August 12, 2019.

5. If a local superintendent determines after review of the portfolio that a child “is not receiving a regular, thorough instruction program in conformity” with the regulations, the superintendent shall notify the family of any deficiencies. The family then has 30 days to provide evidence that deficiency is remedied or they will have to cease home schooling.

6. An adverse decision of the superintendent may be appealed to the county school board within 30 days. An adverse decision of the school board may in turn be appealed to the State Board of Education within 30 days. Md. Educ. § 4-205(c)(3).

7. “A local school system may not impose additional requirements for home instruction programs other than those in the regulations.” Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.01(F).

Option 2: Church Umbrella Option

Under this option, the child’s “instruction is offered … under the supervision of:”

1. A church umbrella, which is an “institution offering an educational program operated by a bona- fide church organization.” To qualify as a “church umbrella,” a church need only:

a. Send a letter to the state superintendent declaring it is in compliance with the applicable requirements and is responsible for governing and operating the umbrella (Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 09.09.01(C)); and

b. Provide documentation that supports the bona fide church status (either proof from the IRS, or church’s articles of incorporation, or evidence of traditional church practices).

2. The church umbrella must supervise the instruction with:

a. Pre-enrollment conferences;

b. Textbooks and lesson plan review;

c. Periodic conferences with parents (phone conferences will satisfy).

Requirements a, b, and c may be satisfied at one time. Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, §10.01.05(A)(1)

The program should seek to be added to the Department of Education’s list of “nonpublic entities registered to supervise home instruction.”

The Department of Education refers to church umbrellas as “education ministries.”

Option 3: Church-Exempt School Umbrella Option

A school operated by a church that is exempt from state school approval requirements may operate an umbrella program. The requirements for setting up and operating a church-exempt school are not listed in this outline. After securing church-exempt school status, the school should seek to be added to the state’s list of non-public entities registered to supervise home instruction.

The church-exempt school umbrella must supervise the homeschool instruction with:

a. Pre-enrollment conferences;

b. Textbooks and lesson plan review;

c. Periodic conferences with parents (phone conferences will satisfy).

Requirements a, b, and c may be satisfied at one time. Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, §10.01.05(A)(1) Maryland MD-3

The program should seek to be added to the Department of Education’s list of “nonpublic entities registered to supervise home instruction.”

Option 4: State-Approved School Umbrella Option

Under this option, the child’s instruction is offered under the supervision of a nonpublic school with a certificate of approval from the State Board of Education and supervision includes textbooks, lesson materials, and other instructional materials or equipment to be used by the pupil and assignment of a school-based teacher to assist the home teacher and to assist the pupil by issuing progress reports, marking papers, and grading tests. Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.05(B).

The program should seek to be added to the Department of Education’s list of “nonpublic entities registered to supervise home instruction.”
Filing and Notices: Parents must file a one-time “Notice of Consent” form prescribed by the State Department of Education at least 15 days before the home instruction program begins (the 15-day requirement is probably unenforceable). Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A, § 10.01.01(B)(1). It does not need to be refiled annually.

THIS ANALYSIS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE GIVING OF LEGAL ADVICE.

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