Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Maryland Proposes updates to the Homeschool Regulations

December 10, 2015
Here are my comments on the proposed homeschool regulation changes.  I have included the regulations that I wish to point out, writing in italics my comment below each one.  

.01 Home Instruction Program
I would recommend that some additional wording be added here to confirm the breadth of the definition for the word program :  “ such as but not limited to textbooks, unit studies, online courses, parent-constructed curriculum, tutors, dual-enrolled college classes (full or part-time), and or other instructional options chosen by the parent or guardian.”

C. Instruction Program.
 (2) The home instruction program may include enrollment on a part-time or full-time basis in
 courses offered by accredited or unaccredited colleges.
This is welcome clarification. Though redundant if included in .01 program definition. 

D. Educational Materials.
2) A parent or guardian who chooses to enroll his or her child under § C (2) of this regulation
shall provide to the local superintendent or the superintendent’s designee a copy of a report
card or transcript from the accredited or unaccredited college at the conclusion of each
semester of the accredited or unaccredited college in lieu of a portfolio of materials for the
courses in which the child is enrolled.
While it might be easier to simply show a copy of a transcript, I would prefer parents have the option of continuing to show work/educational materials etc and not grades or credits to the superintendent.   And so  it should say “ may use a copy of grade reports or transcripts or continue. .  .” Also, why at the completion of each semester? Why not at the usual review time along with the rest of the portfolio? This entire section should be deleted, if college classes are part of the home school program option no special treatment ought to be needed.     

By the way, will the superintendent be documenting the grade/ credits or merely checking off a box that this form of evidence was presented? [This should be made clear in the regulations so that counties do not add to the intent of the changes] That would make a great difference, because prior to the increase in compulsory attendance age, homeschoolers generally were no longer required to report to the county by the time they graduated and therefore, the matter of transcripts and credits were rarely  brought up. Is this a small step to regulating the graduating of homeschoolers? Something we’ve been independently doing quite successfully for decades?  The fact that the MDSE has refused to clarify how the increased compulsion will  specifically affect homeschoolers graduating prior to reaching the age rising requirement has made me mistrustful of how it will eventually be handled.   

.05 Home Instruction Under Supervision of Nonpublic School or Institution.

B. The home instruction program may include enrollment on a part-time or full-time basis
 in courses offered by accredited or unaccredited colleges with the approval of the supervising
 nonpublic school or institution described in § A of this regulation

While C (2) was a welcome clarification, this idea of Approval being required is absolutely not.  We have a constitutional [ie natural right] to direct the education of our own children and do not need permission. If  C (2) is true, why do we need approval from anyone to implement this?  This is where a broad definition for “Program” needs to be given as above.  If it is specifically stated that a home instruction program may include anything from parent created materials to college classes, then this section is unnecessary.    


  1. I reviewed these and feel the same way. I wonder how they are going to implement things now. They don't seem to do so at this time.

    1. No, they don't. They say they are going to deal with the age increase issues at a later date. As of right now, it looks like they will address almost all of our concerns with the current wording. The vote is January 26 and I hope to publish an update then. -deborah