Maryland Homeschool Questions: Moving and Starting to Homeschool Mid-Year

by jenn
(madison, maryland, dorchester)

Maryland Homeschool Questions and Information

Maryland Homeschool Questions and Information

New home educator has questions about Maryland homeschool laws, umbrella schools, how to start homeschooling in the middle of the school year and more...

Hi there, we live in Virginia and are moving to Dorchester or Talbot co. in MD in March. Do I just submit my intention letter to the MD school board? How do I know where to start/pick up where my child left off in her old middle school?

I would like to purchase an approved curriculum as I’ve never done this before. This would relieve some of my anxieties. Then, hopefully, for 8th grade, I will have a feel for what I’m doing and be able to successfully follow a teaching style that works for us without purchasing a curriculum. I don't, however, want to spend a lot of $ just for the remaining few months of the 7th grade year. But if I don’t, I am concerned I won’t teach her what is needed to receive a passing grade for 7th grade.

Public students need to have all their shots/vaccinations up to date before they can attend school. Are these vaccinations/shots still required if a child is homeschooled? Is it law? What are your thoughts on an umbrella school/organization? Exactly how do they help homeschoolers?

FEEDBACK FOR YOU: I have researched many homeschool sites. Yours is the first one I’ve been comfortable enough with to interact/ask questions. You offer many resources too. Your opening/welcoming paragraph immediately put me at ease. I know homeschooling my daughter will be an exciting, frustrating, fulfilling, difficult and totally worthwhile journey.

Thank you for being so generous with your time in offering guidance and resources to those in need. You are truly appreciated. Be blessed. J

Hi Jenn!
First off, I would like to say thank you for your kind feedback. I still remember the struggle I went through when faced with the homeschooling decision and want to help others. I also know what its like to raise a family on a limited budget and want to help other homeschooling save money. Homeschooling was a hard decision for me – I envy young parents of infants, who already know that they are going to homeschool. I never thought I would homeschool; it was a long process of God showing me things and slowly changing my heart. I am so glad I made the decision to homeschool my children!

Okay, now for your questions…
Yes, you will want to submit your "Notice of Consent" to the district superintendent now. According to Maryland homeschooling laws, a "Notice of Consent" needs to be submitted at least 15 days prior to starting. You will find information on Maryland homeschooling laws Maryland's Dept of Education website. You can also find a short Maryland homeschooling summary compliments of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association).

There are a couple ways to know where your daughter is academically. An easy way is to choose a curriculum that has placement tests. A placement test will tell you exactly where your child will need to start in that particular curriculum. If you choose a curriculum like Alpha Omega homeschool curriculum (LifePacs), you will only need to purchase the workbooks that your daughter will need to complete to finish the year. There are other curriculum companies who offer placement tests: I'm just using AOP as an example of what to look for and how to save money. :)

Another way is to find out what a typical student learns in a specific grade. Most states now have adopted the Core Curriculum Standards. You can use that as your guide to finish this year if you want; to ease your concerns and help you feel more comfortable.


You can download a free ebook from Core Knowledge that lists everything students learn in every grade/subject.

I would like to add that many homeschoolers do not (have to) follow these core standards.

With my younger children, we do a lot of unit studies and sometimes go on a tangent or spend more time on a certain topic because my child wants to learn more. If my child is interested in learning about a topic, we take time to study and learn about it. We are free to learn what we want to learn, and when we learn it.

Because of this, homeschooled children can do more in depth studies and/or cover material in different grades than typical public or private school students. You may study the solar system in third grade and the public schools don't cover it until fifth grade.

Most traditional homeschool curriculum will follow the typical scope and sequence of US school districts. Using this type of curriculum makes it easier for parents who are homeschooling for a short time and want to re-enroll their students back into school after homeschooling for a year or so.

Don't worry about using only accredited homeschooling curriculum; find one that works with your family. There's a lot of great non-accredited homeschool materials available that might be a better choice for you and your children. (If you are looking for a great unit study type curriculum for middle school/grades 4-8, check out a A World of Adventure. We used this homeschool unit studies curriculum with my two oldest years ago, and LOVED it! Every day is laid out for you – with lessons, questions and lots of fun hands-on learning, cooking, etc. My second oldest loved it so much (she was in third grade when she first went through it), she asked to go through the first volume again in eighth grade.)

About vaccinations:
No, as a homeschooling parent you are not required to vaccinate your child like public school students. As far as I know it is not a law... yet!

(Public and private schools should provide parents a waiver to sign for those who are against vaccinations or don’t vaccinate for religious reasons. In Michigan I had the option; not sure about all states though.)

Umbrella schools and organizations provide a valuable service to homeschooling families. While many states have great homeschooling laws, there are others who are stricter and make homeschool families "jump" through "multiple hoops". If you feel more confident and at ease by joining or enrolling in one, then by all means do it!

Your state gives you the option of homeschooling under your school district, or an approved organization. If you would rather not deal with school officials, then you have the option of joining an umbrella organization.

Thanks for posting your questions! I am glad you felt comfortable enough to ask for help; our conversation will help other parents who also have the same homeschool questions and concerns as you.

If you need anything else, please do not hesitate to let me know; I’d be happy to help! Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling! Enjoy every moment with your daughter; it will go by fast.
Blessings,
Heather


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