Homeschool: Getting Started
Arundel Homeschoolers Support Group volunteers enjoy helping by passing along information to others on homeschool journeys. It is important to know that information, resources, and opinions given by Arundel Homeschoolers Support Group volunteers may not fit every homeschool student, family, or situation. We encourage everyone to continue asking questions and seeking information to fit his/her homeschool journey. Arundel Homeschoolers Support Group is not responsible for an individual family's homeschool curriculum, resource, or activity choices. Please continue to consult your county's homeschool office and/or your umbrella, co-op, or tutorial for specific information related to your homeschool journey.
Maryland State Department of Education Home Instruction Please read COMAR - the Maryland regulations for homeschool.
Cathy Duffy Homeschool Reviews (Curriculum)
**Each county has a home instruction office, usually on the same website as the public schools for that county. These links were last updated July 9, 2020. Please let us know if these are not working or have changed.
Homeschool Notification Form
The Homeschool Notification form notifies the county that you are homeschooling your school-aged children. On the form, you will indicate whether you intend to
(a) report directly to the county for review (which costs you nothing); or
(b) join an umbrella group for this purpose (this will involve the payment of fees) or use an accredited correspondence-type school program with the teacher supervision option (this will involve the payment of tuition to the school).
On the Home School Notification form, there is also an option to participate in the standardized testing program through the county. Many homeschoolers prefer to organize their own ad hoc testing groups and a number of umbrella groups include the cost of standardized testing in their fees, but if you would like your child to be tested by the county, mark this box and the county will notify you at test time.
The Home School Notification form needs to be submitted 15 days prior to beginning your homeschool academic year, and many counties now accept electronic submission of the form. Note that the consent form is only necessary when beginning homeschooling in the county, if you add another child, or switch from direct county supervision (choice an above) to (choice b) or vice-versa.
In Anne Arundel County, kindergarten is required, so all five-year-olds must be registered unless you request a waiver (if you feel your child is not ready or has a late birthday, for example).
The COMAR regulations should be read very carefully and understood by all homeschooling parents so you are fully aware of what is legally required of you. Please find the regulations here.
An umbrella is an organization which has been approved by the state to review portfolios, to oversee homeschool families' instruction progress, and to communicate homeschool families' progress to the appropriate counties on behalf of the families. Many homeschoolers prefer to affiliate with and report to an umbrella group, which replaces the county in reviewing your portfolio. Umbrellas may or may not offer other services such as transcripts and classes. A great advantage to umbrella groups is that they are run by homeschoolers, so they are in agreement with your decision to homeschool and are there to help and encourage you. Umbrella groups differ in cost, services offered and educational philosophy. You will want to investigate to find the one that best fits your family.
Co-ops and Tutorials
Many homeschool families participate in co-ops and tutorials to supplement studies. Co-ops typically are groups of families which offer to teach their students in one or more areas on an ongoing, regular basis. Tutorials are typically groups of teachers who may or may not be homeschool parents who offer classes to homeschool students on an ongoing, regular basis. Like umbrellas, co-ops and tutorials have varying fees and costs.
Reviews and Portfolios
The homeshcool laws in Maryland require parents to undergo reviews each year, and typically parents provide a portfolio of each student's work. The review is a meeting with an oversight person - with the county or within an umbrella. The goal of the review is to show that instruction is occurring. The portfolio is a collection of work samples from the required subject areas.
Schedule and Routine
A homeshcool student's schedule is the timeline of learning on a daily or weekly basis. Each student's schedule will be different depending on the family's needs, preferences, curriculum, etc. A homeschool family's routine is the pattern of activities that comprise the learning experienced by the students. Routine can vary throughout the year based on season, group choices, curriculum, etc.
There is a lot of information in the local library and on the internet about different styles of homeshcool. You might start with this article Homeschool Styles by the Homeschoolmom.com to get a glimpse into the variety and flexibility that homeschool offers.
This information was last updated on July 22, 2020.