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The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only. It is not considered legal advice.

NOTE: Maryland enacted a new compulsory school age law on July 1, 2012 which raises the age which a child must attend school until 18. Find out more about how this law will be phased in over the next five years.


Maryland Compulsory School Age law requires all children between the ages of 5 - 16 to be enrolled in school or to be receiving instruction in accordance with homeschool regulations. These regulations require, in part, that a parent submit to an annual review (up to three times a year) that demonstrate they are providing "regular and thorough instruction" in subjects normally taught to a child in the same grade.

A debate has long brewed within the homeschool community as to whether or not parents should continue to review with their county liaison after they child turns 16. Legally, parents have the right to stop reviewing if they wish. However, there are a few consideration worth taking before a parent makes a final decision.

REASONS to END COUNTY REVIEWS

  • End the Hassle: Some county liaisons attempt to impose additional requirements on homeschool parents by insisting that tests must be a part of the portfolio, for example. For unschooling families and those with children who learn differently, it is easier to remove that stress and simply focus on their children's education.
  • Just Get a GED and Move On: Some families prefer to end their high school homeschool experience as soon as possible by simply taking the GED exam. With a GED, rather than a high school diploma, many former homeschoolers feel confident and ready to get a job, go to community college, attend trade school, or join the military (after they turn 18). While this option works successfully for many people, a GED occasionally carries the stigma of a high school dropout who has gone back to clean up their act, so to speak.


NOTE: Homeschoolers who choose to discontinue county reviews after their child turns 16 are NOT considered high school dropouts. The county simply stops reporting that child in their total head-count of homeschool children statistics.


REASONS to CONTINUE COUNTY REVIEWS

  • Building a Transcript: College bound homeschoolers will need a parent-constructed transcript when they apply to schools. Continuing to review with your county or umbrella group helps parents to stay organized. It is much easier to build a child's transcript as you move through the years, rather than try to scramble and put it all together during senior year.
  • College Admissions: Some colleges require homeschool applicants to submit documentation that they are in compliance with their state's homeschool laws. What this documentation looks like varies with different colleges. However, some schools are looking for a letter or a form from a county administrator indicating that the homeschool applicant has completed four years of high school. Your signed county review form could serve this purpose.
  • Returning to Public School: In the event that a teen would like to enroll in public school after they turn 16, documentation from county reviews will assist in the placement of that child in the high school system.


NOTE: In the past, the Maryland Department of Education has advised county liaisons to request a notarized letter from the parent that they are electing to discontinue their county reviews after the age of 16. Parents may want to consider adding language to such a letter that indicates they intend on continuing to homeschool throughout graduation but are only opting to discontinue the reviews - if this is to be the case for their family.


The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only. It is not considered legal advice.
                 

 
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August 20, 2017

 

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