The road to homeschooling in Maine can offer many opportunities for young children to receive the benefits of a good education without the cost of attending a traditional private or public school. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), providing a better education at home is the number one reason parents and guardians opt to homeschool children. In Maine, it is no different, yet they are one of only a few states that do allow homeschooled children and their parents and guardians to utilize public school resources to enhance a learning style.
When the 121st Maine Legislature passed an act to benefit homeschooled children, new changes took place as to how newcomers and veteran teachers would apply to homeschool children in Maine. The biggest change involved how teachers would apply. Previously, teachers needed to fill out a state application for teaching at home. Beginning in 2004-2005, first-time teachers filled out a “Letter of Intent” to Maine’s Department of Education in Augusta. Any teachers that wanted to continue homeschooling children in previous years were to file a “Subsequent Year Letter.”
In either letter, there are five criteria that must be met for the application to be valid. The parent or guardian must provide a name, address and signature, as well as the students’ names and ages. The application requires the guardian to list a date as to when the homeschooling sessions will begin.
The guardian must also incorporate an intent to provide a minimum of 175 days of schooling in numerous subjects, including a requirement to teach Maine studies in at least one full grade level between grades 6 and 12, as well as computer skills in one grade level between grades 7 and 12.
Finally, the guardian must also provide assurance that there will be some form of method to assess on the progress of the homeschooled students in one of five ways. As provided by the State of Maine Department of Education website, assurance usually includes:
i. a standardized achievement test; or
ii. a test developed by the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides; or
iii. a review and acceptance of the student’s progress by an identified individual who holds a current Maine teacher’s certificate; or
iv. a review and acceptance of the student’s progress based on, but not limited to, a presentation of an educational portfolio of the student to a local areahomeschooling support group whose membership for this purpose includes a currently certified Maine teacher or administrator; or
v. a review and acceptance of the student’s progress by a local advisory board selected by the superintendent of the administrative unit in which the student resides.
These steps and these tips do become useful for anyone in Maine to get up and teach at home in the best possible way.
State of Maine Department of Education. http://www.state.me.us/education/hs/HomeStudyInfoSheet.htm