Homeschooling in Maryland: Guidance for Getting Started

Is your child nearing school age? Or are you unhappy with your current public or private school in Maryland? If homeschooling in Maryland is on your radar, this guide will get you started with the basics of the homeschool laws and requirements, what you’ll need, first steps for enrolling as a homeschooler, and how much it could cost you.

Homeschooling in Maryland: Guidance for Getting StartedHomeschooling in Maryland: Guidance for Getting Started

DISCLAIMER: Please note this Maryland homeschooling information is not written as legal advice. Check with your local school board and official Maryland laws before making decisions about educating your children.

Is it easy to homeschool in Maryland?

Although homeschooling is regulated in Maryland, it’s considered a low-regulation state by the Home School Legal Defense Association. So great news! Compared to stricter states, you are given quite a bit of freedom as a Maryland homeschooler to decide your own school calendar, choose the length of your school days, select your own  materials and methods, and add extras to the eight required subjects.

The M. Family, Sonlighters from Germantown, MDThe M. Family, Sonlighters from Germantown, MD
The M. Family, Sonlighters from Germantown, MD

Requirements for Maryland Homeschooling

Learn the rules for homeschooling in Maryland so you can reassure yourself just how doable homeschooling actually is in the Free State. Maryland homeschooling laws aren’t onerous at all. You’ll need to file some paperwork to get started and keep records through your year—nothing that you can’t manage even if you tend to be a bit disorganized!

How many days are required to homeschool in Maryland?

Although a number of days is not specified, Maryland law dictates that homeschool instruction “must take place on a regular basis during the school year and be of sufficient duration to implement the instruction program.” There are no Maryland homeschool hour requirements either. 

Do parents need qualifications to homeschool in Maryland?
Do you have to be certified to homeschool in Maryland?
Who is eligible for homeschooling in Maryland?
Is unschooling legal in Maryland?
Can I homeschool someone else's child in Maryland?
The H. Family, Sonlighters from Berlin, MDThe H. Family, Sonlighters from Berlin, MD
The H. Family, Sonlighters from Berlin, MD

What are homeschool requirements in Maryland?

There is a required letter of intent for homeschooling in Maryland. This form is called the Home School/Home Instruction Notification Form and must be submitted 15 before you begin homeschooling. You can get a copy of this form from the Maryland State Department of Education here. This form needs to be filed annually for each year you are homeschooling.

This form asks basic information about your student, your contact information, and asks which of two methods you’ll use to homeschool: 

  1. Maintaining your own portfolio of student work under the supervision of your local school district.
  2. Offering home instruction under the supervision of a Nonpublic Entity Registered to Supervise Home Instruction of Maryland Students, sometimes called an umbrella school.

What proof is required for homeschooling in Maryland?

Besides the Home School/Home Instruction Notification Form, homeschoolers must keep a portfolio that demonstrates “regular, thorough instruction in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age.” Source

Suggested items to include are 

  • instructional materials
  • reading materials
  • examples of the child’s writing
  • worksheets
  • workbooks
  • creative materials
  • tests

Visit the Maryland Association of Christian Home Educators for tips on keeping a homeschool portfolio and how to document the trickier subjects like PE or music.

These portfolios are reviewed at least twice per school year, usually at the end of each semester, with a maximum of three reviews per school year. Check with your school district about scheduling these assessments and any forms you may need to fill out. For example, Anne Arundel County Public School System has a Portfolio Review Form to submit

The B. Family, Sonlighters from Hanover, MDThe B. Family, Sonlighters from Hanover, MD
The B. Family, Sonlighters from Hanover, MD

Do you have to have a curriculum for homeschooling in Maryland?

Maryland homeschool law does not specifically require a curriculum. But it does outline eight topics homeschoolers must cover in their studies:

  1. English
  2. mathematics
  3. science
  4. social studies
  5. art
  6. music
  7. health
  8. physical education

The state (or local school system) does not provide any teaching materials for homeschool families in Maryland. Parents are given liberty to craft an instructional plan as they see fit—in terms of both materials and methods. 

So although you aren’t mandated to have a curriculum or tell on your letter of intent what curriculum you’ll be using, a curriculum certainly makes homeschooling easier! (Your portfolio review process will likely include questions about the curriculum you’ve chosen.) 

You could try to wing it with off-the-cuff lessons and spontaneous internet explorations. But keeping a portfolio of such a loose style of homeschooling is quite a bit more challenging than sticking to a well-planned program.

For these reasons, most Maryland homeschoolers opt for a homeschool curriculum that provides them a solid base for their weekly and daily lesson plans and gives them tangible materials for a homeschool portfolio. 

For the ultimate ease in homeschooling, buy a Sonlight All-Subjects Package that combines all you need in a single program. An ASP is the best curriculum for homeschooling in Maryland because you know your children are meeting—and surpassing—the Maryland state requirements. 

When you’re shopping for homeschooling programs in Maryland, you may wonder about online homeschooling. While digital resources absolutely have their place in a child’s education, there’s no replacement for real books. Learn the incredible advantages of Sonlight’s literature-based approach here 

What do I need to homeschool my child in Maryland?

Once you’ve filed your letter of intent, you’ll want to gather these homeschool necessities and equip your home for learning adventures:

A Homeschool Curriculum

Choose a program (or a combination of various programs) that covers all of the eight required topics: English, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education. Talk to a Sonlight Advisor if you need help customizing the perfect curriculum.

A Homeschool Planner for Yourself

Homeschooling is pretty much a full time job, and to stay on top of it, you’ll want a planner that shows you at a glance what your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily plans are. The Sonlight homeschool planner is a pretty, 3-ring loose leaf organizer that was designed by homeschoolers who know what you’ll need to record throughout your school year (even if you aren’t quite sure yet).

A Place or System for the Homeschool Portfolio Contents

Each student needs a portfolio that will be evaluated at least twice per academic year. Prepare a bin or cart for physical items. Or set up online cloud storage where you scan or photograph work for digital safekeeping.

Spots for Reading, Writing, and Doing

Homeschooling doesn’t require a homeschool room at all! You can use your house in new ways to serve as your learning center.

For example, if you choose a literature-based curriculum like Sonlight, you’ll spend lots of time together reading books. A couch and a living room rug are perfect places to sprawl out and enjoy your read-alouds and then discuss them afterward. For the table subjects like math and language arts, you can repurpose your kitchen or dining room table as a school desk. And for science experiments and history crafts, you can clear off a kitchen counter or island!

A Shelf, Cart, or Cabinet for Books and Resources

As your materials arrive, organize them so that the daily necessities are handy and the long term resources are safely stored for future use. Watch these two videos for tips:

Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in Maryland?

One of the questions on your Home Instruction Notification is whether your not you’d like your child/children to participate in the standardized testing program. So you have this option, but it’s not required. 

Getting Starting with Homeschooling in Maryland

Are you convinced of the benefits of homeschooling in Maryland and ready for your first steps? Here’s how homeschooling works in Maryland.  

How do I start homeschooling in Maryland?

Maryland has a great system for getting details about how to get started as a homeschooler since each school system has a designated home instruction program coordinator. Find who to contact in your local area on the state DOE site here.

Your main first step is to file that official form stating your intent to homeschool. Then you’ll want to devise a plan for how to cover the eight required subjects, allocate a method to keep student work for the required portfolio, and organize your at-home learning spaces. 

Here are two official introductory videos created by Anne Arundel County Public Schools to help you get started with homeschooling in Maryland: 

 

At what age is school mandatory in Maryland?

School is compulsory for all children ages 5-18 in Maryland. So children in this age range must either attend public school, private school, or be homeschooled. 

Can you skip kindergarten in Maryland?

Since mandatory schooling starts at age 6 in Maryland, yes, you can skip kindergarten and start formal homeschooling with first grade at age 6. Or you can provide preschool or kindergarten at home without filing an intent to homeschool.  

Homeschooling kindergarten or preschool in Maryland can be done at home with ease by using one of the three excellent programs below.

Read more here to figure out which one is best for your child. And reach out to an Advisor for free assistance if you’re still unsure.

  1. product-img
    Pre-Kindergarten Package
    $406.84
    $478.64
  2. product-img
    All-Subjects Package K
    $780.65
    $975.81