Where to Begin
To homeschool in Howard County, you'll need to understand Maryland law, submit a notification form of intent to homeschool, and choose a monitoring method.
Maryland requires that homeschool students be monitored and prescribes various models - either monitoring through your county public school system or through a registered umbrella group (which can include a registered academy or hybrid program). For more info on these options, click below:
• Howard County Public Schools System
• Registered Umbrella Groups and Non-Public Entities
Maryland’s regulations for homeschooling:
▪ require evidence that the student receives instruction in English, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health and physical education.
▪ do not require that parents have teacher certification in order to homeschool.
For complete Maryland homeschool law, see Education Article §7.301, Annotated Code of Maryland, Compulsory Attendance and the Code of Maryland Regulations regarding Home Instruction (COMAR) 13A.10.01. Check the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) website for updates, and read the MSDE Fact Sheet. Remember that the regulations for all homeschoolers are contained within the Maryland law. A local school system may not impose additional requirements for home instruction programs other than those in these regulations.
For a very good overview of your options and analysis of Maryland's law, see the summary on the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website.
In addition to choosing a method for monitoring, you also might want to consider joining a homeschooling cooperative group, or “co-op”. This is an informal group of homeschooling families that get together for fun, academic enrichment, and socializing. It’s important to remember that most co-ops are NOT registered umbrella groups and generally do not meet Maryland’s requirements for monitoring--they are for socializing and academic enrichment.
Before you begin, prep yourself by obtaining a few homeschooling guides or books. Although there are many good reads on the market today, allow yourself a few weeks, if not months, to soak up information and plan your child's educational goals accordingly. See some suggestions below.
Before purchasing curriculum, consider the teaching method you might feel most comfortable with in your homeschool. Perhaps a blend or mixture of a few styles? Not sure? There are many different approaches to homeschooling, ranging from "school at home" to "unschooling."
Check out the suggestions of one local homeschooler in an Intro to Homeschooling. Another homeschooler outlines a variety of different homeschool methods here. Do you have a different approach you'd like to share? Let us know---we'd love to hear from you!
Also, if you are interested in our series of articles on a History of Homeschooling in Maryland, submitted by Nancy Stempel at the Learning Community International, see the articles here:
A Brief History of Homeschooling in Maryland, Part 1, Part II, and Part III and Part IV.
Finally, if you'd like some advice on how to approach high school homeschooling grades, credits, and transcripts, we have posted a free recorded webinar on this subject from Lee Binz, The Homescholar for your convenience.