Homeschooling in Maryland: Rules and Resources to Start Strong

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Homeschooling in Maryland? Once you understand your options, you can make the best choice for your family. Here’s a look into the Maryland homeschool law, plus resources to get you started on the right track.

As a Maryland homeschooling parent, I was rather intimidated by the rules of the state. I’d first stumbled upon Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and researched the legal requirements for homeschooling in Maryland. I was concerned that it was one of the most restrictive states for homeschooling.

Once I saw the options broken down, though, it was easier to make a wise decision for us. Let’s take a look at the law requirements for homeschooling in Maryland, and then dig into some other helpful resources.

Homeschooling in Maryland?  Once you understand your options, you can make the best choice for your family.  Here's a look into the Maryland homeschool law, plus resources to get you started on the right track.

Homeschooling in Maryland: The Law

Notice of Consent

From age 5-18, children are under the compulsory attendance law and must begin attending school or begin homeschooling. When you begin homeschooling in Maryland, you’ll need to contact the superintendent of schools for your county to notify them that you are planning to homeschool your child. You can see a list of Superintendents here.

You’ll want to do this 15 days before you officially begin homeschooling. You can download the homeschool notification form here.

Portfolio Option or Umbrella School?

When homeschooling in Maryland, you have 4 options to choose from regarding how to run your homeschool.

  • Portfolio Option You are required to teach math, English, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education, and provide regular, thorough instruction to your kids. You’ll be expected to keep a homeschool portfolio of artifacts that demonstrate learning (such as writing samples, assessments, worksheets, etc.) and respond to requests by the Superintendent to review your portfolio.
  • Church Umbrella Option – Under this option, you’d join a church umbrella program which would supervise your instruction. Umbrella schools provide services to homeschooling families (usually for a fee) such as supervising instruction and help with transcripts and progress reports (although each school will vary in the services they offer). Umbrella schools in Maryland must be registered with the Department of Education, and you’ll want to research them to find the best fit for you.
  • Church-Exempt School Umbrella Option – Similar to the church umbrella option, except you’ll want to find a church-exempt umbrella school.
  • State-Approved School Umbrella Option – For this option, your local school needs to assign a school-based teacher to assist you and issue progress reports, and grade papers and tests.

You can find a detailed list of Umbrella School Programs for Maryland here.

Recordkeeping and Testing

If you choose the portfolio option, you’ll be keeping all of your homeschool records yourself. If using an umbrella school, you’ll have the convenience of that organization assisting with recordkeeping and issuing progress reports.

You have the option to access standardized testing from public schools, but it is not required that you administer them.

Homeschool Graduation Requirements

In Maryland, there are no specific graduation requirements since the state does not issue a high school diploma to homeschoolers. Therefore, you have the ability to choose the courses your child takes and how you’ll assign credits.

You’ll want to take into consideration any college requirements for a school your child might want to attend, and make sure those are covered on your transcript.

Resources for Homeschooling in Maryland

Maryland has many different counties. Each county supports homeschoolers differently. In Anne Arundel County where we used to live, there was a large amount of support from the school board who had one person that managed homeschoolers.

Unfortunately, as a homeschooling student, kids aren’t allowed to participate in public school sports or extra-curricular activities. However, the superintendent will notify their homeschooling families of certain opportunities that will accommodate homeschooled students.

Maryland Homeschool Support Groups

Here is a list of some wonderful support groups for Maryland Homeschoolers:

Maryland Homeschool Co-Ops

Joining a homeschool co-op is a great way to meet other families, take enrichment classes, and team up for field trips and outings. This is not an exhaustive list of homeschool co-ops in Maryland, but a good place to begin your search:

My Experiences Homeschooling in Maryland

As a Maryland homeschooling family, we decided to homeschool using an Umbrella school. We searched the few offered and found one that was mostly hands off, but had quarterly events for the homeschooled kids and documentation training and review. Many Paths of Natural Learning accepted home educators that taught their kids in many ways. They acted as an advocate for many of us and provided a wealth of support for the small fee they charged. My kids got to participate in a graduation and other events sponsored by the Umbrella school.

I’d love to hear from you: do you homeschool in Maryland? Do you use an umbrella school or participate in a group or co-op? Let us know what your favorite resources are in the comments!

And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):

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Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.

About the Author

LM Preston

Author of Homeschooling and Working While Raising Amazing Learners, LM Preston is an author, engineer, former college professor, and working mother who’s been married for over twenty-five years. She homeschooled 3 of her 4 children from elementary school and beyond while she and her husband worked outside their home. Three of her kids graduated with degrees by the age of 17 years old.

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this!

  2. Thanks for all of your information here. I am in Cecil County , MD and unfortunately, there are basically no homeschooling groups that I’ve been able to locate after spending a whole lot of time researching online in an attempt to locate one for my daughter n I to join. It’s been such a bummer because I expected to be able to find something….and found nothing. I don’t feel like I’m seasoned enough as a homeschool mom to start up my own group as this school year will only be my 2nd year homeschooling. I am also a tad bit frightened and nervous about potentially starting up a homeschooling group by myself. Maybe I’ll do some research on how to do this to get some inspiration to maybe do this ….we will see!

  3. We’re so excited to begin our homeschool journey!

  4. Darlene Clark says:

    Thank you! Love homeschooling!

  5. I’m going to save this page, thanks so much for all the information! Definitely a lot to think about and consider…

  6. Thank you so much for this information!

  7. Brittany Petrosik says:

    I would not have considered homeschooling if a global pandemic hadn’t brought to light (for me) all of the resources that are available to us! I’m going into my second official year of homeschooling. If you aren’t far from Annapolis, check out Rivers Edge Forest Play for a completely outdoors drop-off program a day or two a week with child development specialists. If you’re near Baltimore, Irvine Nature Center offers homeschool classes and Notchcliff is a co-op. We go to Rivers Edge and are trying Irvine out this fall. I do go through an umbrella only because I wanted to feel like I was reviewing with the same person every time and that that person is on my side, wanting to see us succeed.

  8. I’m headed into my 7th year homeschooling!! That is interesting to hear you say there are not specific high school requirements. My kids are not there yet, but all the moms in our co-op are always talking about the credit requirements and the number of hours to count the class. This is definitely something I will be looking into! Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. I started homeschooling my 5- and 8-year-old last year. This upcoming year will be my second with them. They are now in 1st and 3rd grade, respectively. I have enjoyed the ups and downs and in-between of the journey, but my biggest issue has been how to find places and spaces where the kiddos can meet other kids and socialize. My 5yo is a social butterfly, and unfortunately, due to hurricanes and floods (we dealt with in Louisiana in 2020 and 2021) and then moving to Baltimore and dealing with the pandemic, social interaction has been hard to come by.

  10. Heading into year 3 of homeschooling my 8 and 5 year. Looking forward to a great year!

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