Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 7 through 17.
A child receiving home instruction that complies with state requirements is excused from attending school. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20A, §5001-A, sub §3A.(4).
Groups of homeschooled students, not individual homeschooled students, can be organized, and that organization may then qualify, under Maine law, as a private or church school. This type of organization is a legitimate alternative for a group of homeschooled students.
The student's parent or guardian must provide a written notice of intent "to the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides and to the commissioner within 10 calendar days of the beginning of home instruction." Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20A, §5001, A sub §3A.(4).
The notice of intent must include 1) the name, signature and address of the student's parent or guardian; 2) the name and age of the student; 3) the start date of the home instruction program; 4) a statement of assurance that the home instruction program will provide annually at least 175 days of instruction in the following subject areas: English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (in one grade level between grades six and 12), and demonstrated proficiency in the use of computers (in one grade level between grades seven and 12); and 5) a statement of assurance that the home instruction program will include an annual assessment of the student's academic progress. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20A, §5001, A sub §3A.(4).
The student's parent or guardian must file a letter with "the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides and the commissioner" on or before September 1 of each subsequent year of home instruction. The file must state the intent to continue the home instruction program and include forms of the annual assessment of the student's academic progress. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20A, §5001, A sub §3A.(4).
The following forms of annual assessment meet state requirements: 1) a standardized achievement test administered through the administrative unit in which the student resides or through other arrangements approved by the commissioner; 2) a test developed by the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides and agreed to by the school officials of the administrative unit prior to submission of the written notice of intent that is appropriate to the student's home instruction program; 3) a review and acceptance of the student's progress by an identified individual who holds a current Maine teacher's certificate; 4) 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-area homeschooling support group whose membership for this purpose includes a currently certified Maine teacher or administrator; or 5) 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 that includes one administrative unit employee and two home instruction tutors. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20A, §§5001-A sub 3A (1)(4)(b).
A student's parent or guardian must keep copies of the notice of intent to provide home instruction and the file submitted each year, including the forms of annual assessment, until the home instruction program concludes. The records must be made available to the commissioner upon request. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20A, §§5001-A sub 3A (1)(4)(c).
A private school student is eligible to participate in public school cocurricular, extracurricular, and interscholastic activities at the discretion of the public school principal and if the private school is not a member of a statewide association that promotes, organizes, and regulates statewide interscholastic activities in both public and private schools.
Attendance at a private school satisfies the compulsory attendance requirement only if the private school is approved for attendance purposes or is recognized by the State Department of Education as providing equivalent instruction. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §5001-A.
A private school may operate as an approved private school for attendance purposes (basic school approval) if it meets hygiene, health, and safety standards, and is either currently accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools or meets applicable state requirements.
Accreditation is one option a school may use to obtain approval for attendance purposes. Schools choosing the accreditation method of approval for attendance purposes must make accreditation reports to the commissioner of education on a timely basis and notify the commissioner of any determination made that the school is not accredited or is on probation. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §2906.
A second option a school may choose to obtain approval for attendance purposes is to comply with applicable state requirements regarding 1) immunization provisions; 2) English as the language of instruction; 3) courses required by law; 4) instruction in the basic curriculum established by the commissioner; 5) certified teachers; and 6) any additional approval requirements adopted by the state board and the commissioner. In addition, private secondary schools applying for approval for attendance purposes must meet the following requirements: a minimum school year; a sufficient school day length; a student-teacher ratio of not more than 30 to one; not fewer than two consecutive grades; and adequate maintenance for safely protecting records. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §2902.
A private secondary school approved for the purposes of attendance must have at least 175 instructional days. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §4801.1
Private schools approved for attendance purposes must provide instruction in the basic curriculum established by rule by the commissioner, including minimum time requirements and performance standards. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §§2902.4, 4704.
Private elementary schools approved for attendance purposes by the department must provide instruction in career and education development, English language arts, world languages, health education and physical education, mathematics, science and technology, social studies and visual and performing arts, as described in the parameters for essential instruction and graduation requirements subject to the schedule specified in section 6209. In addition, instruction in American history, government, citizenship and Maine studies requirements must occur and follow section 6209 specifications. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §§2902.3, 4706, 4711.
Private secondary schools approved for attendance purposes by the department must provide instruction in English, social studies, history, including American history and Maine studies, mathematics, science, fine arts, health, and physical education, and computer instruction. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §§2902.3, 4706, 4722, 4723, 4724.
English is the basic language of instruction in all schools except that, subject to the commissioner's approval, schools may provide transitional instruction using bilingual techniques for students of limited proficiency in English and providing proficiency in English as a second language. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §4701.
By April 15 and October 15 of each year, the principal of each private school must report to the commissioner the number of students attending the school. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §6004.
A student is credited with attendance at a private school only if a certificate showing the name, residence, and attendance of the student at that school has been signed by the school administrator and filed with the school officials of the local administrative unit. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §5001-A.3.A.(2).
Chief administrative officers shall keep uniform records of the immunization status of each student. The records shall be part of the student's permanent records. By December 15 of each year, each chief administrative officer shall submit to the director of the Bureau of Health, on a form provided, a summary report of the immunization status of the students entering school. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. title 20-A, §6353.5.
State of Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
August, ME 04333-0023
A Notice of Intent must be filed annually by the parent or legal guardian. A school year starts July 1 and ends June 30. For parents in the first school year of home instruction, file the notice within 10 days of withdrawal from school. If you are starting a subsequent school year of home instruction, a Notice of Intent must be filed by September 1, together with the annual assessment.
A home instruction parent can provide age, defined in years, instead of date of birth.
Both the parent (if a valid email address is provided) and Superintendent receive acknowledgments when a parent submits home instruction information via the Home Instruction Portal. Maine DOE home instruction designees may access portal information.
After the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction has been received, the parent will receive a letter or notice via email, provided the parent has supplied a valid email address.
The Paper form: Maine Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction (PDF) can be used instead of filing online. Present the form to the local superintendent's office. You can find your local school superintendent's address Maine Superintendent Search webpage.
You may provide the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction in a different format, provided it contains all required information, listed here:
1) Applicable School Year
2) Parent/Guardian Full Name
3) Physical Address, City, Zip Code; and Mailing Address (if different)
4) Child’s Full Name
5) Child’s Date of Birth or Age Expressed in Years
6) Indicate First or Subsequent Year of Home Instruction
7) Date Starting Home Instruction (if First Year)
8) First Year Assurance. The home instruction program will provide at least 175 days annually of instruction and will provide instruction in the following subject areas: English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts and, in at least one grade from grade 6 to 12, Maine studies. At one grade level from grade 7 to 12, the student will demonstrate proficiency in the use of computers. The home instruction program will include an annual assessment of the student's academic progress that includes at least one of the forms of assessment described in 20-A M.R.S. § 5001-A (3)(A)(4)(b).
9) Statement of Intent to Continue Providing Home Instruction (if Subsequent Year): SUBSEQUENT YEAR HOME INSTRUCTION PARENT STATEMENT. I intend to continue providing home instruction and enclose the prior year annual assessment of the student's academic progress as outlined in 20-A M.R.S. 5001-A(3)(A)(4)(b).
11) Date of Signature
12) A valid email address if parent would like an acknowledgment
The Maine Home Instruction Portal is for parents who wish to submit the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction online.
Please contact the DOE when a verification or change in home instruction status is needed or when an error is found that needs to be corrected. The school administrative unit’s student information system is not connected to and does not communicate to or retrieve information from the home instruction portal.
There are no specific curriculum standards for Maine home instruction.
Subjects must include English, language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine Studies (in at least one grade from 6 to 12), the student must demonstrate proficiency in the use of computers (at one grade level from 7 to 12).
A total of at least 175 instructional days are required (waived during the COVID-19 state of emergency). There is no hourly requirement, per day or per year. The number of days that the student attended school prior to beginning home instruction can be deducted from the 175 instructional day requirement.
Assessment results are due by September 1st, sent or submitted together with the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction. These may be attached to the paper notice or uploaded to the Home Instruction Portal. Notices that are submitted without annual assessment results will be flagged for followup.
Every year after the first year of home instruction. In the event that the student will not be participating in home instruction in the subsequent year, annual assessment results are still required. However, it would be helpful to include a note along with the assessment results stating that the student will no longer be participating in home instruction.
If home instruction ceases and the child is still of compulsory school attendance age, parents must comply with attendance laws in some other way. As a courtesy, please notify the Superintendent.
A parent cannot retrieve or edit their home instruction information, except through request to the school administrative unit or Department of Education. Because of privacy, all requests must be made by the parent who submitted the Notice (or by the former student) and are subject to signed release and verification.
There are no standards of achievement for home instruction in Maine, the state does not issue grades, credits, diplomas, transcripts, letters of course completion or letters of grade level promotion. Parents are advised to contact post secondary institutions, the military recruiter or potential employer to inquire about what will be required for acceptance, admission and employment.
The local school may provide textbooks to students participating in home instruction as long as extra copies are available. The local school is not required to provide additional instructional materials such as workbooks, lesson plans, computers, etc.
Home instruction students are not eligible to receive laptops through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.
Source: Maine Department of Education
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