Homeschooling FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Homeschooling



1. Where and how do I begin?

Begin by reading the Getting Started section at the HOME website and follow the steps listed. Also, check the Events section of the website and plan to attend the next scheduled Getting Started in Homeschooling workshop. Contact the HOME Office to receive a Basic Information package, as well. Plan a visit to the office, too, for some one on one support and to review curriculum options.



2. Where, when and how do I file a notice of intent?

A notice of intent must be filed within ten days of withdrawal from school if you are starting during the school year. We recommend filing immediately upon withdrawal to avoid any confusion about absence from school. If you are starting at the beginning of the school year, a notice of intent must be filed by September 1st. The notice must be filed with the State Department of Education in Augusta and your local school superintendent. It is recommended that you send it with a return receipt request, so that you will have proof that your notice has been received by both offices.



3. How do I find out my local superintendent’s address?

Contact your town office to request the correct mailing address. You can also find your local superintendent's name and address at this website: http://www.msmaweb.com/unit-list.html



4. Do I need to file a notice of intent for my 5 year old?

A notice of intent should not be filed until a child reaches the date of his or her 7th birthday.



5. What is a Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private School?

Maine has two legal options for homeschooling, both of which fulfill the compulsory school attendance law. In Option 2, the parents of at least 2 unrelated students may form a home-based Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private School for the purpose of meeting the requirements of the law. Visit HERE for more information.



6. Where do I get my materials?

Contact the HOME Office to schedule a free appointment for an informative overview of curriculum options. Attend a homeschool convention where curriculum vendors are available with products for sale and can answer questions. Check the Homeschooling Resources section to begin a search online.



7. What will be the cost of purchasing materials?

Most families spend an average of $400 to $500 per student over the course of a year for materials and resources. This amount can vary, depending on the age of the student and the materials chosen for use.



8. What about obtaining materials from the school?

Public schools may provide materials to homeschoolers if they are available. They are not mandated to do this. Keep in mind that materials from the public school will most often not include support materials, such as, teacher’s guides, answer keys and testing resources. Materials that are designed for homeschool use do include this kind of support, are more user friendly, and can often be adapted to many grade levels and abilities.



9. Are homeschoolers eligible to receive laptops through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative?

This program is not available to homeschooled students.



10. Where do I get used or free materials?

HOME offers an annual Used Curriculum Sale in the spring. This event provides homeschoolers with the opportunity to both purchase and sell used curriculum materials. Used curriculum materials are also available for purchase at the HOME Convention. For more information regarding these two events, please consult the Event Calendar. During the year, the HOME Office has a limited amount of used resources available, as well. Also, there are many avenues for free resources and supplements listed at the Free Curriculum section of our website.


11. What is the “best” curriculum?

The “best” curriculum depends on your child and their individual style of learning, your budget, and the unique characteristics and circumstances of your family. There is no single right or best curriculum.



12. How do I determine my child’s learning style?

There are several resources including, but not limited to, 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum by Cathy Duffy, The Big Book of Learning Styles by Carol Barnier, and The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. Contact the HOME Office for more information on obtaining these titles. Also, read Unlocking Your Child's Learning Strengths.



13. What am I required to teach for each grade level?

The notice of intent states that you must cover English, language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, and in at least one grade from 6 to 12 Maine Studies, and at one grade level from 7 to 12 the student will demonstrate proficiency in use of computers. However, there are no specific curriculum standards or requirements for Maine homeschoolers. What you choose to use and how you choose to teach these subjects is up to you as the parent.



14. How many hours a day are required?

A total of 175 days are required. There is no hourly requirement per day. Non-approved private schools have the option of completing 175 or 875 hours.



15. How do obtain an annual assessment?

Options for annual assessments include standardized achievement testing or portfolio reviews by a Maine certified teacher. Both of these services are provided by Homeschoolers of Maine. For more information, visit the Assessment section of our website.



16. How do I keep a portfolio?

Visit the Assessment section of our website for lots of helpful information.



17. What about achievement testing?

Standardized achievement testing is one method of annual assessment that fulfills the annual assessment obligation under Maine homeschooling law. Standardized testing is available to students and families throughout the year at the HOME Office in order to assist families with grade placement, determine gaps in learning, and provide annual assessment results.

For more information see the Standardized Testing section of our website.



18. If I choose achievement testing as means of annual assessment, must I submit the actual results?

No. Test results can be reviewed by a Maine certified teacher, and a letter of review signed by the certified teacher can be submitted instead of the actual results.



19. When are assessment results due, and to whom?

Assessment results are due by September 1 along with a Subsequent Year Letter of Intent to the State Department of Education in Augusta and your local school superintendent’s office.



20. If my child is enrolled in a distance learning program, do I need to file annual assessment results?

Yes. A Notice or Letter of Intent and Annual Assessment Results are always required, even if your child is enrolled in a program outside of the state.



21. What is required for graduation?

There are no specific graduation standards or requirements for homeschoolers. The parent decides what is required for graduation. Admissions requirements for any post high school programs of interest should be reviewed and considered when planning a high school program for a homeschooled student.



22. Will my child need a GED?

No.



23. Who grants the diploma?

The parent grants the diploma upon completion of the homeschooling requirements set forth by the parents.



24. Will my child be able to get into college?

Yes. In fact, many colleges are now recruiting home educated students, because they are often better prepared for the learning environment at the college level than traditionally schooled children.



25. What is a credit?

A credit may be awarded based on mastery of content in the subject area. Traditionally, one credit is equal to 80 hours of course work completed in any high school level subject. Credits may be granted whenever and at whatever age and grade level a student completes a high school level course.



26. How do I create a transcript?

Transcripts are important for all students, even if they do not plan to attend college. For more information on creating a transcript, visit

http://www.hslda.org/highschool/academics.asp#transcripts

or contact the HOME Office.



27. Where do I find support?

Homeschoolers of Maine has Regional and County Representatives available and willing to provide information and support for those who are new to homeschooling. These individual’s know of other homeschooling families, support groups and homeschooling activities going on in your area. Visit HERE and get connected!



28. Can I access the public school?

Public schools are permitted to partially enroll homeschooled students into classes or extra-curricular activities that are available at the school as space and resources allow. They are not mandated to do this. Please read what the Access Law has to say.


29. Can I access the public school if I am enrolled in a Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private School (RAPPS)?

The Access Law only applies to homeschoolers who have filed a notice or letter of intent to homeschool. It does not apply to students enrolled in Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private Schools.



30. What about special education services for my child through the public school?

Those filing letters of intent to homeschool (Option 1) have little to no chance of receiving special education services through the public school.  Students in Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private Schools (Option 2) do have access to special education services. 



31. Will the public school accept my homeschool credits if my child returns to school?

Acceptance of coursework or credits is at the discretion of the individual school, whether public or private. This is the case for all students who are transferring, whether they were homeschooled or not.



32. Can I provide driver’s education for my child?

No. In Maine, Driver’s Education must be provided by a state certified driver’s education teacher for all students who are under the age of 18. Driver’s Education instructors offer both private lessons and group instructions. Check with your local high school or the local phone book for driving instruction programs available near you.



33. Where do I get a work permit for my child?

Work permits are issued by local public school superintendents. See all requirements of Maine labor laws for minors at www.maine.gov/labor/posters/childlabor.pdf 

Keep in mind that the requirements can be complicated when it comes to homeschoolers, since homeschoolers are not actually enrolled in a traditional school, and homeschool schedules do not necessarily coincide with the traditional school year schedule. HSLDA membership is highly recommended.


34. Can someone else teach my child?

From time to time, most homeschool families employ the assistance of private instructors in specialty areas such as music, sports, and the arts. Some hire private tutors for areas where parents feel students need more instruction or support than they are able to provide. However, parents always remain responsible for overseeing and directing the education of their children.



35. What if my spouse is not supportive?

A unified family commitment is vitally important when choosing to homeschool. Sometimes one parent may need more time and information in order to process the idea of homeschooling, and make a final decision. To assist in this process, be sure to include your spouse in all aspects of the planning and decision making. Attend a workshop or convention together; pray, read and talk together; and plan to attend a curriculum planning meeting at the HOME Office together. Ongoing communication and involvement are key!!



36. What if my ex-spouse is not supportive?

Sometimes an ex-spouse just needs to feel more included and involved. Be sure to attempt to include your ex-spouse in all aspects of planning. Encourage attendance at a convention, book sale or workshops, curriculum planning sessions or consultations at the HOME Office, etc.



37. What is HSLDA, and why should I join?

Home School Legal Defense Association exists to protect your right to homeschool and to defend your family if necessary. A lawyer is on-call 24/7.

HSLDA works to preserve homeschool freedoms by promoting homeschooling and working at the federal level and with state homeschooling groups, such as Homeschoolers of Maine, to get better laws and stop bad laws.

You are part of the cause. Not everyone lives in a state where it's easy to homeschool. It's important to stand together to keep homeschooling free, for this and future generations

To join, please visit www.hslda.org



38. What about socialization?

Most parents are concerned about the proper socialization of their children. It is important to consider the kind of socialization you want for your child. Socialization in the traditional school setting can be negative and counterproductive. The teaching of social skills within the context and setting of a family is more natural and more conducive to learning. Parents are on hand and accessible in every social situation. This allows them to teach and provide the proper teaching of social skills at every available opportunity.