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August 25, 2017

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County Acknowledges Their June 2 Deadline is Baseless

SCOTT WOODRUFF Contact attorney for Maryland

School representatives in Prince George’s County, Maryland, recently sent many homeschool families a letter making a number of assertions and demands that fall outside the boundaries of state law.

Here are the problems with the letter.

  1. While addressed seemingly to all homeschooling families, parents who operate under the umbrella option never need to communicate with school officials—nor should officials ever try to communicate with them.

  2. Since the letter says the 2017-2018 form is “now” available, one might think the form changes every year. In fact, the authentic form was established by the Maryland State Department of Education long ago and does not change from year to year.

  3. While the letter says the “MSDE” imposes certain requirements, in fact the only requirements homeschoolers face are listed in the formal regulations. The Maryland State Department of Education has no authority to impose any requirement.

  4. The letter says that “parents” are required annually to verify the continuation of homeschooling by submitting a form to the public school system. This is incorrect. Only parents who operate under the portfolio option need to communicate their intent to continue homeschooling to public school staff. Families operating under the umbrella option communicate this intent to the umbrella program, only.

  5. The letter says that families must use a particular form to communicate their annual intent to continue homeschooling. This is incorrect. No form at all is necessary.

  6. The letter errs also in asserting that the annual verification must be submitted by June 2. Under the homeschool regulations, it is due instead before the first day of public school.

After an HSLDA member brought this situation to our attention, we contacted the school system representative. She quickly agreed that families were not required to use the form her office sent out, and that there is no June 2 deadline.

You should not, however, view the Prince George’s County website as a trusted source of information. It contains many errors.

If you are filing an annual verification, or your initial notice of consent, we strongly recommend that you use the documents available on the “Forms and Other Resources” page (for members only) of HSLDA’s Maryland web page.

• • •

Prince George’s County Letter: The Full Text

Dear Homeschooling Parent,

The 2017-2018 Homeschooling Notification Form is now available. Parents are required by MSDE to verify their continuation of home instruction annually. All homeschooling parents must submit an annual verification using the 2017-2018 Home Schooling Notification Form, by June 2nd.

Parents who plan to continue homeschooling for the upcoming school year should select the option “Annual Verification” on the Home Schooling Notification Form.

Parents who do not plan to homeschool for the upcoming school year should select the option “Change of Status” on the Home Schooling Notification Form.

In addition to confirming a change of status on the Homeschooling Notification form, parents who plan to enroll their child in a Prince George’s County Public School must complete the Admission to Public School Form (PS 48) and have it endorsed by the Homeschooling Office prior to the start of the school year. Parents can bring the completed Admission to Public School Form (PS 48) to their spring portfolio review conference to have the form endorsed at that time.

The 2017-2018 Home Schooling Notification form can be accessed on the Home Schooling website or using the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/hh1gLj7d322jR9ux2.