Complying with Maine's Homeschool Statute... It's Easy!
by Ed Green, HOME President
In May 2003, Governor John Baldacci signed into law a complete overhaul of Maine's homeschool law. Since then our law has provided great relief to homeschooling families throughout Maine. The process has been so easy that many of you have been wondering if you were neglecting something! Here is an outline of what is required.
Under the law, those wishing to begin homeschooling a child for the first time in Maine must file a written notice of intent within the period 10 days before or after the beginning of the child's home instruction program. This includes children taken out of public school anytime during the school year, or a child who moved into Maine during the school year. If the child is currently enrolled in a public school, it is advisable (though not required) to file the notice of intent before the child is withdrawn.
The notice of intent must be filed simultaneously with the local school administrative unit and with the commissioner of education. It must include:
the full name, signature, and address of the parent or guardian,
the full name and age of the student,
the date home instruction will or did begin,
a statement of assurance that instruction will be provided for at least 175 days annually and will cover the following subjects: English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (in at least one grade between grades 6 and 12); and that the student(s) will demonstrate proficiency in the use of the computer (in one grade between grades 7 and 12).
a statement of assurance that the parents will submit a year-end assessment. (See page 14 for options of assessments.)
Each subsequent year by September 1, the family must file a subsequent letter of intent to homeschool with the commissioner and the school administrative unit. The letter must state whether the student's home instruction program will continue. It should be signed by the parent or guardian, and include the parent or guardian's full name and address, and, of course, the child's full name. The family must enclose a copy of the previous year's annual assessment results for the child. (Options for the annual assessment can be found on page 14 and include portfolio evaluations by a Maine certified teacher or standardized testing.)
Both the one-time notice of intent and the subsequent letter to homeschool should be clear and legible, or you may be inconvenienced by an official contacting you for clarification. For examples of a notice of intent and a subsequent letter to homeschool go to www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/
The law requires you to keep copies of all items that must be submitted until the homeschool program concludes (it is advisable to keep them longer). They must be made available to the commissioner upon request.
When mailing documents to the school administrative unit or commissioner, we strongly recommend using certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can prove that you sent the required documents, if that ever becomes necessary. Carefully file the green postal receipts.
Rest assured. It is as simple as that! Please thank God for our hard won freedoms. Pray that He will continue to preserve homeschool freedoms in Maine for all those presently homeschooling and for all homeschoolers in the generations to come.