In Maryland, traditional homeschool families are assigned a “school-based” teacher to oversee the instruction of their children.

History

Located in the southern United States, Maryland legalized homeschooling in 1987 and amended its policies in 2021.

Regulation

In Maryland, parents who homeschool their children, from ages 5 to 18, must notify their local district by completing an online form. There are several options for how to classify the homeschool, including through another school or church organization. Parents homeschooling without an affiliation with another school are assigned a school-based teacher to oversee their instruction, assign grades, and issue progress reports. There are no attendance requirements, but the state recommends that instruction occur “on a regular basis.” Instruction in subjects “usually taught” in public schools is required. There are no minimum education requirements for the parent, who remains “ultimately responsible” for home instruction, but others may provide instruction either inside or outside the home. This instructor flexibility opens the door to participation in microschools and other emerging models that blend more traditional homeschooling with alternative modes of education. Parents must keep records and a portfolio of student work. Homeschooled students may take the state assessment, but there is no requirement to take that or any other test.

Maryland provides no access to public school educational offerings such as courses, sports, and extracurriculars for nonpublic students, including homeschooled students. This restricted access includes access to special education services.

State Data

Maryland provides publicly available information on homeschool participation by county and by district. In 2000, districts across the state reported nearly 17,000 homeschooled students. By 2015, that number had increased to 27,000. In 2022, reported homeschool enrollment reached almost 45,000 students.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in Maryland from 2000 to 2023, with rates steadily increasing from 2000 to 2019, though dropping slightly in 2010, spiking in 2020 and 2021, and then dropping again to pre-pandemic numbers in 2022.

The 2020 U.S. Census estimates tell a similar story. 4.4% of Maryland families reported homeschooling in the spring of 2020, and 6.1% by fall. Considering the 2022 and 2023 school years, the U.S. Census found that 3.7% of K-12 students in Maryland, on average, were homeschooled during this time.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

During the 2019-20 academic year, 2.6% of Maryland’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Similarly, only 2% of Maryland students attended a charter school. Homeschool and charter participation in the state was much lower than 12% of private school students. In 2021-22, 4% of Maryland’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Charter and private school participation held steady at 2% and 12%, respectively.

A pie chart showing home, charter, private, and traditional public school percentages in Maryland in 2021-22

School Choice Context

Maryland does not offer open enrollment (inter- and intra-district choice) in its public school system, and families cannot send their children to schools outside their district without approval. Maryland has few charter schools, limiting charter school enrollment in the state, and some magnet schools. The state also has a small—both in participation and value—private school choice program that serves about 3,000 students and provides a $3,000 credit per student annually. However, homeschooled students are not eligible.

Commentary

Maryland could improve our understanding of homeschool participation in the state by reporting more detailed information about their homeschool population using information they already collected. For example, data on the age or grade of homeschoolers in the state could help us better understand growth in the sector. The state could improve educational access for all students by allowing nonpublic students the same educational offerings provided to students in the local public schools. National trends are moving in this direction, and Maryland is one of a handful of states that does not provide access to these offerings.

Last updated December 2023.