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

On July 1, 2012, a new Maryland law went into effect raising the compulsory school age. This law redefines the beginning and ending age for when a child must attend school. Once a child reaches the maximum age defined by the compulsory school age law, they may elect to drop out from school.

The new law staggers implementation of this drop-out age change over a number of years.

This Law Applies To Any Child Who Is:

16 years old on or after July 1, 2015
17 years old on or after July 1, 2017

If your child will be 16 years old on June 30, 2015 - or any date before that, this new compulsory school age law does NOT apply to them. The minimum age for starting school continues to be five.

What This Means for Homeschoolers

After lengthy debate and much lobbying from Maryland families, led by Maryland Hand In Hand Homeschool, lawmakers agreed to include a number of provisions that protect homeschooling rights and provide for a general exception to the higher compulsory school age.

The portion of the law that relates to homeschoolers states:

(A) This section does not apply to a child under the age of 17 years who:

      (1) has obtained a Maryland high school diploma, an equivalent out-of-state high school diploma, or a GED;

      (2) is a student with disabilities and has completed the requirements for a Maryland high school certificate of completion;

      (3) is receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school year in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of same age;

      (4) has completed an instruction program under paragraph (3) of this subsection;

In other words, if a family files their Notice of Intent to Homeschool and is in compliance with Maryland homeschooling regulations, then their child is not required to attend public school.

A question remains on how Section (A)(4) will apply to homeschoolers. The Maryland State Department of Education has informed Hand In Hand that they requested the Attorney General's office to provide MSDE with advice on how to guide each county homeschool liaison with implementing this new law. A response is expected by September 2012.

In the meantime, families should remember that the new law does not change any county or umbrella review obligations until July 1, 2015.

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


May 22, 2018

What our clients say about Hand In Hand:

"I wanted to thank you for your tireless advocacy for homeschooling families in Maryland. I am so glad that the bills were defeated, due in no small part to your hard work!"

~ Kris S. in Maryland

Thank You
Del. Ron George

Special recognition goes out to Del. Ron George from Anne Arundel County for his tireless work on the House Ways and Means Committee with this bill.

Without Del. George's commitment to homeschool families and their right to choose the best homeschool options for their children, the new compulsory school age law would have placed more restrictive parameters on Maryland families.


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