June 26, 2003

Maryland Board Adopts New Homeschool Regulations

On June 24, the Maryland Board of Education adopted changes to the homeschool regulations. Items 1 through 4 below are changes that apply to all homeschoolers:

  1. It is even clearer than before that the Notice of Consent for a child only needs to be filed once-not every year. If you previously filed a Notice of Consent for your child, you do not EVER need to file a new or "updated" one.

  2. Every year after filing the Notice of Consent, the family must communicate with either their supervising church umbrella or the local superintendent as to whether the child will continue in a home instruction program. This can be done in person, by a phone call or letter, or any other method. Some form of written verification is preferable so you can document compliance.

  3. If parents who are operating under county supervision decide to switch to operating under a church umbrella, they must notify the local superintendent.

  4. If parents who are operating under a church umbrella decide to switch and operate under a different church umbrella or under the supervision of the local superintendent, the parents must notify their current church umbrella.

In addition, items a. and b. below are changes that apply if you are involved in a church umbrella.

  1. Each year the church umbrella must tell the local superintendent the names of the homeschool students whose instruction will start, continue, or be discontinued, under its supervision;

  2. The church umbrella must notify the local superintendent if its instructional supervision for a homeschooled student ceases during the year.

Read the full text of the changes:

During this period of transition, we must be especially vigilant to protect our freedom. Regulation F of COMAR 13A.10.01.01 prohibits local school systems from imposing requirements on homeschoolers other than those in the regulations. Regulation .01.B requires that the notice of consent be on a form prescribed by the state.

Some local school systems violate these regulations by imposing requirements outside the regulations. Others violate the regulations by requiring families to use a consent form the county developed on its own, rather than the prescribed state form. Some homeschoolers do not understand their rights and succumb to pressure and intimidation from officials.

This hurts us all in the long run. It encourages officials to take advantage of people who do not know better or who find it hard to say "no" to an official.

Other homeschoolers know their rights and refuse to give in to unlawful demands. This annoys county officials, but they always back down because they know that what they are doing violates the regulations.

If you are not confident what your rights are, take a few moments and read the up-to-date regulations for yourself at: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/nonpublicschools/nplegal/comar/comar_13a_10_01.htm. Our revised summary of Maryland law will be available soon.

If you believe an official may be violating the regulations, please contact us right away. We are here to help you as you do your part. Thank you for being part of the team that is ready to do what it takes to protect homeschool freedom in Maryland.

See also: Maryland Board Retreats from Annual Notification Plan (3/12/03)

New Maryland Homeschool Regulations Delayed (11/14/02)

Maryland Board of Education Tries to Change Homeschool Regulations (11/14/02)