Homeschooling under your state laws in Maryland

Are you considering homeschooling your child? You can do it! As you get started, it’s important to make sure you comply with the education laws where you live. This page helps you understand how to homeschool legally in Maryland —step by step.

Maryland compulsory school attendance age

Compulsory school attendance begins when your child turns 5.

If your child turns 5 during the school year, you can have him or her excused from the attendance laws for that school year. To do that, send your superintendent of schools a written request before that school year begins.

Once your child turns 17, he or she is no longer required to follow the school attendance laws. However, this is changing! Beginning July 1, 2017, children must follow the school attendance laws until they turn 18.

A child who has completed a program of regular, thorough instruction in the studies usually taught in public schools to children of the same age is not subject to compulsory attendance.

HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Maryland law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver's license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security b​e​n​e​f​i​t​s​. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.

Withdrawing your child from his or her current school

If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.

We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members are also eligible to use the sample letter of withdrawal for Maryland available in Member Resources, to correspond with school officials.

We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.

Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.

Complying with Maryland’s homeschool law

There are three options for you to homeschool legally in Maryland.

Option 1: Homeschooling under the portfolio option:
To homeschool under this option, you’ll need to follow these guidelines.

Your child could be considered truant if you withdraw him or her from school without immediately filing this form. The form is available to HSLDA members here.

On the form, select the legal option under which you are homeschooling (the portfolio option).

The required subjects are math, English, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education.

You must provide regular, thorough instruction in the required subjects. This instruction must be “of sufficient duration” to implement your instructional program.

You must maintain a portfolio of your educational materials. This should include instructional materials and reading materials, as well as examples of your child’s writing, worksheets, workbooks, creative materials, and tests.

The local superintendent can review your portfolio at a mutually agreeable time and place. He or she can do this only three times a year. (In practice, this usually happens once or twice a year.) HSLDA strongly recommends that you not bring any of your children to the portfolio review.

If you do not feel comfortable during your portfolio review, for subsequent reviews consider dropping off your materials and using a phone call to discuss them rather than doing it in person. This can be a bit awkward, but some portfolio reviewers treat parents quite badly and it can be worth it to avoid a face-to-face meeting.

If the superintendent reviews your portfolio and determines that your child is not being educated in accordance with the regulations, he or she must notify you of these deficiencies in your program. You will have 30 days to provide evidence that you have corrected these deficiencies—otherwise you will have to stop homeschooling.

You can appeal a decision of the superintendent to the school board within 30 days. You can then, if necessary, appeal the school board's decision to the state board of education within 30 days.

Local school systems cannot impose additional requirements for your homeschool, other than those listed in Maryland’s regulations.

Option 2: Homeschooling under the church umbrella option:
To homeschool under the church umbrella option, you’ll need to find a church umbrella. This is a school or institution that offers an educational program operated by a bona fide church organization.

Some homeschooled students have encountered significant problems when applying for law enforcement jobs in Maryland with a diploma issued by a church umbrella. The Department of Education takes the position that an umbrella program cannot issue a valid diploma because it is not a school.

You will need to pick out and join one of the many available church umbrellas before submitting your Notice of Consent, since you will need to identify the name of the umbrella you joined on the notice.

The church umbrella program must be properly set up, as follows. The church umbrella must send to the Maryland Department of Education:

  • a completed church-exempt registration form, and
  • documentation that establishes its bona fide church status (either proof from the Internal Revenue Service, or the church’s articles of incorporation, or evidence of traditional church practices).

Your child could be considered truant if you withdraw him or her from school without immediately filing this form. The form is available to HSLDA members here.

Church umbrella programs provide some level of supervision of and support for the home instruction of their members. Most umbrella programs charge a fee. Generally speaking, the more services an umbrella provides, the higher the fee it charges.

The church umbrella must supervise the instruction with

  • pre-enrollment conferences,
  • textbooks and lesson plan review,
  • an annual visit to the site of instruction, and
  • periodic conferences with parents (these can be done by phone).

Note: You can take care of the pre-enrollment conference, textbooks and lesson plan review, and annual visit to the site of instruction all in the same meeting.

You must annually verify to your church umbrella that you are going to stay involved in the program. You must also notify your umbrella if you move, stop homeschooling, or switch from one homeschool option to another. Your umbrella program will provide various types of information to the local superintendent based on these communications.

Option 3: Homeschooling under the state-approved school umbrella option:
To homeschool under the state-approved school umbrella option, your local school must assign a school-based teacher to assist the home teacher and to issue progress reports, mark papers, and grade tests.

Your child could be considered truant if you withdraw him or her from school without immediately filing this form. The form is available to HSLDA members here.

On the form, select the legal option under which you are homeschooling (the state-approved umbrella school option).

You must annually verify to your school umbrella program that you are going to stay involved. You must also notify them if you move, stop homeschooling, or switch from one homeschool option to another. The program will provide various types of information to the local superintendent based on these communications.

The importance of recordkeeping

You can find Maryland’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.

These records should include attendance records, information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used, samples of your student’s schoolwork, correspondence with school officials, portfolios and test results, and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law. You should maintain these records for at least two years. You should keep your student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.

Home School Legal Defense Association is a national advocacy organization that supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. We are dedicated to protecting the legality of your homeschool while equipping you to successfully teach your children.

HSLDA members have 24/7 phone and email access to our staff of attorneys and legal assistants, who can help you understand the homeschool law in your state and will go to bat for you if a school official or other authority challenges your homeschool. Our 80,000 members—families like you!— also receive personalized advice on everything from homeschooling a high schooler to teaching a child with special needs from our team of education consultants.

Join HSLDA! Visit:

Please note: The information on this page has been reviewed by an attorney, but it should not be taken as legal advice specific to your individual situation.

Last updated July 15, 2016

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