Getting Started on Your Homeschool Journey
There is so much information about homeschooling that it can seem overwhelming. We've gathered information to help you make your homeschooling decision and to inform you about laws and other legal issues. Here you'll find research and statistics that support the notion that homeschooling provides specific advantages to children and families. And we'll help you take the first steps on the road of your own homeschooling adventure.
Why Homeschool?
The first step to homeschooling is making your decision to home educate your child. It is important to become informed and knowledgeable about some of the main concerns you may have. Explore these areas of our website to learn more about the initial decision to homeschool.
How to Begin
You've decided to homeschool your child! But what comes first? For many parents, knowing where to begin in the homeschooling process can be confusing. Although there seems to be so much information available, it may be hard to get your questions answered. We've put together some resources to start you on your journey, giving you the information and motivation you need to successfully begin to homeschool in Maine.
Legal/Homeschool Laws
Laws that regulate home education vary from state to state. It is important to understand the legal requirements in your state and to be aware of legislative and other legal issues that affect homeschoolers in your community. We've compiled resources that will help you become informed. Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and the vast majority of homeschoolers face no problems, you may find that you need legal assistance at some point in your homeschooling career. We've compiled a list of resources to help you find the support you need. And if you'd like to become more involved in working towards homeschooling freedoms, we discuss some of the issues facing homeschoolers that we hope you find compelling.
History of Homeschooling
How did homeschooling start? When did it become legal? Who were the key players in making homeschooling the social movement it is today? The story of the history of homeschooling in the United States is a compelling tale of dedication, innovative ideas, and personal conviction and sacrifice. We have put together a history of this educational and social phenomenon, hoping it will inspire you to learn from the early and more recent pioneers of home education in America.
What's Popular
Maine Department of Education
The Maine Department of Education provides this website as its official internet presence.
§5021. Participation in public schools by students enrolled in equivalent instruction programs.
A school administrative unit shall conform to the following standards in making public school resources and services available to a student enrolled in a home instruction program under section 5001-A, subsection 3, paragraph A, subparagraph (4) for a student otherwise eligible to attend school in that school administrative unit. [2003, c. 181, §2 (amd).] 1. Participation in regular classes. A student receiving home instruction may enroll in specific day school classes at the appropriat...
How to Withdraw Your Child from School in Vermont
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
Maine Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Maine. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Maine.
Home School Information Sheet
L.D. 160, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Home Instruction, was approved by the 121st Maine Legislature and signed by Governor Baldacci on May 16, 2003. This information sheet details the changes and how to comply with the law.
§5001-A. Compulsory attendance
1. Requirement. Persons 7 years of age or older and under 17 years shall attend a public day school during the time it is in regular session ... 3. Alternatives to attendance at public day school. Alternatives to attendance at public day school are as follows. A. Equivalent instruction alternatives are as follows. (1) A person is excused from attending a public day school if the person obtains equivalent instruction in: (a) A private school approved for attendance purposes pursu...
§5022. Admission to regular program.
1. Placement. A student who has been receiving home-school instruction and who seeks admission to the regular school program must be placed in a grade commensurate with the level of the student's academic achievement. Placement must be guided by the following. A. Grade level placement is determined by the locally designated appropriate school staff, based upon but not limited to such factors as the student's completed curricula and record of achievement, conferencing with the student's p...
§5023. Standards for participation when tuition payment is required.
When the local public school unit does not provide academic instruction for specific grade levels, the following applies for students enrolled in an approved program of equivalent instruction. [1995, c. 610, §1 (new).] 1. Class participation. The home-schooled student or the student's parent or guardian shall request authorization from the resident local school unit to apply to another school unit for permission to participate in classes or activities in that other school unit. [1995, ...
A History of Homeschooling in Maine
Homeschooling has been around since the beginning of time. During the early part of our nation’s history, homeschooling was the leading form of education. The 1970’s brought renewed interest in homeschooling throughout the nation for many reasons. Some parents were beginning to feel that traditional schools could no longer meet the academic, social, moral and/or spiritual needs of their children. It was a rare state where a law or court ruling explicitly permitted homeschooling. Most people cons...
2005-06 Subsequent Year Letter to Homeschool
This form is intended for use by the parents of children who were homeschooled in Maine during the previous school year. It is provided by the Depatment of Education for the state of Maine.
§5025. Compliance.
Appeals that question the local school unit's policy compliance with this subchapter must be made to the commissioner, whose decision is final and binding.
§5024. Local school unit policy.
Each school administrative unit shall develop and adopt a policy consistent with this subchapter. Establishment and administration of the local school unit policy is subject to the following. [1995, c. 610, §1 (new).] 1. Policy. Local school unit policy must be submitted to and placed on file in the department by January 1, 1997. [1995, c. 610, §1 (new).] 2. Implementation. Locally approved policy is implemented and administered by the local school unit. [1995, c. 610, §1 (ne...
Notice of Intent to Homeschool 2005-2006
Form provided by the Depatment of Education for the state of Maine.
Compulsory School Age in Vermont
The laws in Vermont state that you must enroll your child in school from the day he or she turns 6 years old until he or she turns 16. This HSLDA article details the Vermont state compulsory school age regulations. 
How to Comply with Vermont's Homeschool Law
Vermont law specifically refers to homeschooling in 16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(21) and 16 V.S.A. § 166b. To homeschool under this statute, you’ll need to follow these guidelines. Necessary steps include sending in a written enrollment notice, submitting a narrative describing the content to be provided in each subject area, obtaining acknowledgement of compliance, teaching the required subjects and assessing your child annually. 
Resources
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports involvement, learning disabilities, and boredom. Seeing a wide variety of successfully homeschooling families in action will give parents the confidence to make their own dream of home-based education a reality.
Kingdom of Children : Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)

More than one million American children are schooled by their parents. As their ranks grow, home schoolers are making headlines by winning national spelling bees and excelling at elite universities. The few studies conducted suggest that homeschooled children are academically successful and remarkably well socialized. Yet we still know little about this alternative to one of society's most fundamental institutions. Beyond a vague notion of children reading around the kitchen table, we don't know what home schooling looks like from the inside.

Sociologist Mitchell Stevens goes behind the scenes of the homeschool movement and into the homes and meetings of home schoolers. What he finds are two very different kinds of home education--one rooted in the liberal alternative school movement of the 1960s and 1970s and one stemming from the Christian day school movement of the same era. Stevens explains how this dual history shapes the meaning and practice of home schooling today. In the process, he introduces us to an unlikely mix of parents (including fundamentalist Protestants, pagans, naturalists, and educational radicals) and notes the core values on which they agree: the sanctity of childhood and the primacy of family in the face of a highly competitive, bureaucratized society.

Kingdom of Children aptly places home schoolers within longer traditions of American social activism. It reveals that home schooling is not a random collection of individuals but an elaborate social movement with its own celebrities, networks, and characteristic lifeways. Stevens shows how home schoolers have built their philosophical and religious convictions into the practical structure of the cause, and documents the political consequences of their success at doing so.

Ultimately, the history of home schooling serves as a parable about the organizational strategies of the progressive left and the religious right since the 1960s.Kingdom of Children shows what happens when progressive ideals meet conventional politics, demonstrates the extraordinary political capacity of conservative Protestantism, and explains the subtle ways in which cultural sensibility shapes social movement outcomes more generally.

Homeschool Open House
Personal insights from 55 families worldwide about a real day of homeschooling. Includes homeschool illusions, family culture, learning and family style, parenting strategies, chores and organization, family management, personal empowerment, decision making, change flexibility, resources, and questions to consider before deciding to homeschool. A private tour of homeschooling homes and reflective thoughts from families. Also includes five year follow-ups from families in HOMESCHOOLING: A PATCHWORK OF DAYS.
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

The Homeschooling Revolution
A readable, scholarly overview of the modern day homeschooling movement. Includes vignettes from homeschooling families, war stories, research information, media reaction, footnotes, and statistics.
They're Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate

For many people, their schooling was uncomfortable, tedious, and sometimes a waste of time and energy. This book offers the idea that the public school system is tragically flawed and that we are able to do better for our own children. Sam Sorbo, mom of three and wife of actor Kevin Sorbo, took the leap into homeschooling and found the joy and success she was seeking. Included are strategies for working parents, those who are scared to take the leap, and anyone who wants the best for their children. 

Should I Home School?: How to Decide What's Right for You & Your Child

Have questions about homeschooling? This book has the answers. The information in this book will help you decide if homeschooling is right for you and your child. 

Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home

The book that shows homeschooling in action!

What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book.

Real-Life Homeschooling

From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's needs while catering to his or her inquisitiveness and curiosity. See why the number of children being taught by their parents is growing nationwide -- at home, there are no overcrowded classrooms, no unknown dangers lurking in the halls, and no doubts as to the quality of the education.

Whether you are just contemplating homeschooling or are a veteran seeking fresh ideas and help in overcoming obstacles -- look no further: Real-life Homeschooling shows just how practical and rewarding it is to educate children and provide them with what they need most -- you!

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