Home Instruction

Home School information. Review requirements, documents and process to home school in Talbot County.

Home Instruction Overview

Parents of students ages 5 – 18 (include compulsory attendance document) may choose to educate their child at home, rather then enrolling them in a traditional public or private school.  Talbot County Public Schools supports Home Instruction in accordance with the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A.10.01

Parents choosing to educate their child at home must:

1. Notify the local public school system of their decision to instruct their child(ren), every year.  Parents must keep the local public school system informed of their decision to continue or discontinue home schooling.
Home Instruction Notification Form

2. Teach their child a regular, thorough instruction from the parent in each of the following subjects:

  • Reading/Language arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Health (May be incorporated through science or physical education)  
  • Students in grades 9-12 may substitute alternative electives of choice for art, music, and physical education. (link to the portfolio review form Kindergarten checklist & 18-19 Portfolio Review Form)

3.  Be supervised, either by the local public school system or by a private organization approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. List of Nonpublic Entities Registered to Supervise Home Instruction of Maryland Students.

For your reference please review the Maryland State Department of Education Frequently Asked Questions regarding Home Instruction in Maryland:  Home Instruction FAQ.

Enrollment

Enrolling a student in home instruction requires contacting the Home Instruction Office and the school the student is currently attending.  It is necessary to follow the steps listed below to ensure students are properly enrolled.
Parents enroll their children in home instruction by completing the Home Instruction Notification Form and submitting it to Talbot County Public Schools, attention:  Jennifer Vogel, Home Instruction Coordinator. 

  1.  Complete the notification form completely for each section.  Section I - Fill out general information about each child. Section II - Check whether or not you want your child to take standardized tests administered by the public school. Section III: Select whether you want your Home Instruction program to be supervised by Talbot County Public Schools (Option A) or by a private organization approved by the Maryland State Department of Education (Option B) For detailed information about how home instruction programs are supervised, see Supervision.  Approved programs for supervision. 
  2. There are three ways to submit a completed notification form: 1) email to jvogel(at)talbotschools.org  2) mail to: Talbot County Public Schools Attention: Jennifer Vogel, 12 Magnolia Street, Easton, MD 21601 or 3) Fax to: 410-822-3919 When the form is received, it will be stamp-dated, checked for completion, and signed by a staff member. Parents are sent a follow-up letter notifying them of their child's enrollment in home instruction. Please be sure to submit the notification form 15 days prior to the start of your child’s home instruction program to allow time for the approval process.
  3. If Home Instruction is your child’s first enrollment in school, you will need to provide Proof of Residency in Talbot County.  Please review what is required for Proof of Residence and submit with your Home Instruction notification form.
  4. As soon as the student is enrolled in home instruction, the student will be transferred from the public or private school that the student is currently attending. (This includes students attending a public school in Talbot County Public Schools.) Please contact the school directly to find out about student transfer procedures. Note:  **Home-schooled students are not enrolled in Talbot County Public Schools, it is important to understand that home-schooled students are not eligible to participate in public school courses, extracurricular activities, clubs, athletics, or competitions sponsored by the local public schools.
  5. TCPS ask that parents who are transferring to Home Instruction complete the Home Instruction Exit Survey and submit it with their Home Instruction Notification Form.  

Each year the parents of home-instructed students must update or verify whether or not the student is continuing on home instruction.  This may be done in writing with the Home Instruction Notification form or with the supervising organization.  

High School
Please keep in mind that if you decide to transfer your child to Home Instruction at anytime during grades 9-12, credits are not given if your child returns to public school unless Home Instruction is under Griggs International Academy or Calvert.  Therefore, all Home Instruction students (with the exception of those earning credits from Griggs or Calvert) that transfer back to public school in Talbot County must do all of the following:

  1.  Show proof of the completion of courses they took on Home Instruction AND
  2. Pass all final exams in their home instructed courses in order to receive Talbot County high school credit AND
  3. Pass the PARCC or HSA assessed courses that correspond to the courses they completed while on Home Instruction. 

As a reminder, Home Instructed students do not earn a diploma from Talbot County Public Schools.

Home-instructed students who are at least 16 years old may test for a Maryland GED if they have completed their Home Instruction program. GED applications require a department seal and a signature from TCPS Home Instruction Coordinator.  Forms require 3-5 days to process and may be sent to the Home Instruction Office in one of three ways:

  1. Mail or drop-off to:  TCPS Home Instruction Coordinator, 12 Magnolia Street, Easton, MD 21601
  2. Fax to 410-822-3919
  3. email to jvogel(at)talbotschools.org

MVA Learners' Driving Permit
Home instructed students seeking a driver's license begin by downloading and printing the MVA Learners' Permit Application.  The application process requires that this form be signed and sealed by the TCPS Home Instruction Coordinator. Forms should be sent to the TCPS Home Instruction Coordinator via USPS mail, email, fax, or drop-off.  Please allow 3-5 days for processing.

Supervision

A.   By the Local Public School
To ensure compliance with COMAR state regulations, TCPS conducts two annual reviews of every student's program who is supervised by TCPS. A review is like a conference in which the parent meets one-on-one with either the Home Instruction Coordinator or designee for approximately 30 minutes per child. These reviews are typically conducted at the end of the first semester (late January/February) and at the end of the school year (June). 

Parents are informed of the dates and locations by mail and may select a date and time most convenient for them, (it is first come first serve). Students are welcomed, but not required, to attend. In conducting reviews, TCPS follows COMAR regulations. 

The reviewer is looking for documentation of regular thorough instruction during the school year in the curricular subjects usually taught in the public school to students 5-18 years old. The curricular subjects required for elementary students include: 1. Language Arts/Reading (English) 2. Mathematics 3. Science 4. Social Studies 5. Art 6. Music 7. Physical Education 8. Health 

Secondary students are required to study the four core subjects--English, math, science, and social studies, as well as three electives of choice. The parent must show concrete evidence that instruction in these subjects occurs on a regular basis during the school year and be of sufficient duration to implement the instructional program. To provide evidence of regular, thorough instruction, parents prepare a portfolio that includes dated, relevant materials.

Kindergarten Checklist and the Portfolio Review Form

Keep in mind that the purpose of the review is not to judge the quality of your instruction, but to document evidence of compliance with COMAR. During the conference the review will complete the Portfolio Review form that documents the evidence parents present. If there are any deficiencies noted during the first review, the parent will be asked to provide the needed documentation at the second review.  Please come prepared for the review with the Portfolio Review Form parent sections completed. Portfolio Review Preparation 

B.     By a Non-public Supervising Entity

Church Exempt Fact Sheet

Testing

Standardized Testing
In Maryland, home-instructed students are not required to take any MD State tests.  If the parent chooses, the student may participate in the standardized testing conducted in TCPS.  Currently, this includes PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) MISA & HSA.

Home-instructed students may take these tests at the public school to which their home address is assigned.  Parents who elect for their child to participate in MD State Testing will be notified by the local public schools testing coordinator of the test date & times.  When you enroll your child in home instruction, the local, public school is informed if you have chosen to participate in standardized testing.

Special Education Testing
At the parent's request, TCPS will assess a home-instructed child for special education needs.  If the formal evaluation determines that special education services are needed and appropriate for the student, an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is prepared.  If home-instruction is continued, it is the parent's responsibility to provide those services or seek those special educational services outside of the school system.