Frequently Asked Questions About Starting to Homeschool

The idea of homeschooling your children can be overwhelming and scary. Hopes and fears can battle in your mind. One moment you may think, “Gosh, anything has got to be easier than daily homework battles every night.” Then the next moment you may say, “But what if I fail and my kid can’t do division by the age of 18??!!??” Once you start researching how to start homeschooling, you then might find yourself wondering, “Do I even know where to begin!

You are not alone with your thoughts. Many parents have the same concerns you do, so I’ve put together a Frequently Asked Questions section to help you sort through your hopes and fears.

Parents must file a Notice of Intent form with their local county school board before they can begin to legally homeschool in the state of Maryland. Other states, such as Pennsylvania, have more requirements. For example, parents must file a notarized affidavit that include, among other things, a list of learning objectives for the upcoming year. States such as Texas, on the other hand, have much more lax laws and do not require any paperwork to be filed by families before they start homeschooling. Check with your state’s homeschool association for more information.

A homeschool parent’s required level of education varies by state. Some states require a minimum of a high school diploma, whereas others require at least some college. Maryland does not require any specific level of education by parents before they can begin to homeschool their children.

Parents should notify a child’s current school that the child will not be returning to class and will be transferring to homeschooling. Schools will update your student’s school file so your child will not be marked as truant. Completing formal withdrawal paperwork will vary by school district.

Yes. You can start homeschooling at any time of the school year.

Generally speaking, parents can hire tutors, teachers, and online school providers to assist with their homeschooling. In some cases where parents enroll their child in certain full-time online school, such as Connections Academy, the child is no longer legally homeschooling. In this case, the student is considered a nonpublic school student, even though they are learning entirely at home. Check with your state law and/or your online school enrollment administrator for more details.

No. Homeschool parents are not required to follow traditional school calendars. You do, however, want to be aware of your state’s specific law or regulation about consistency of instruction. In Maryland, for example, parents must provide their children with “regular, thorough instruction“.  Keeping a log of what you do each week and/or maintaining a portfolio of dated work samples can help to show the regular learning your kids are doing.

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Last modified on April 15, 2020