Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular. But let’s be honest: homeschooling is confusing and daunting, especially if you’re new to homeschooling and don’t know where to start.
The good news is that homeschooling isn’t actually as complicated or difficult as it might seem!
Homeschooling also offers a handful of benefits for both you and your child – including the chance to give your child a more enjoyable and enriching education.
If you live in Maine or are moving to Maine in the near future, here’s a complete guide to homeschooling in Maine.
Below, we go over the pros of homeschooling, how to start homeschooling, and all the steps you need to take to homeschool your child in Maine.
The Advantages Of Homeschooling
There are many advantages of homeschooling – and these are indicative of why homeschooling is becoming more and more common!
If you’re considering homeschooling your child, here are the main benefits of homeschooling that are worth knowing:
- Customizable curriculum: Homeschooling gives you more control over your child’s education and the option for your child to focus on their academic interests.
- Schedule flexibility: Homeschooling provides greater flexibility with your daily schedule, such as saving time on school runs.
- Choose field trips and social activities: Homeschooling allows you to choose your child’s field trips and social activities based on both you and your child’s preferences.
- Religious or cultural teaching: Homeschooling lets you better tailor your child’s education to align with religious or cultural beliefs.
- Family bonding: Homeschooling can strengthen family relationships and parent-child bonding due to the increased time you will spend with your child at home.
- Safety and reduced peer pressure and bullying: Homeschooling can reduce the risk of peer pressure and bullying as well as increase the general safety of your child, including keeping them out of trouble.
- Special needs, learning difficulties, and disabilities: Homeschooling can be ideal for children with special needs, mental disorders, learning difficulties, and disabilities.
If the benefits of homeschooling appeal to you, then homeschooling your child is something worth considering.
How To Start Homeschooling In Maine
Homeschooling your child is much less daunting and complicated when you begin to understand how it works and the steps you need to take.
Homeschooling can start from any age that falls within the age of compulsory education, from kindergarten to grade 12.
Generally, the process of starting homeschooling involves:
- Researching state homeschool laws
- Setting learning goals
- Choosing a curriculum
- Deciding your child’s learning schedule
- Gathering learning materials and resources
- Joining homeschool organizations and support groups
- Setting up a dedicated learning space at home
- Filing a notice of intent to the local superintendent or local school officials
- Implementing field trips and social activities
- Monitoring your child’s learning progress and adjusting where necessary
As the responsibility of homeschooling falls on the parents, you will also need to be sure you are ready to dedicate the time, effort, and resources to managing and enhancing your child’s education.
Guidance For Homeschooling In Maine
Laws and processes for homeschooling can vary by state, so it’s important to understand these before committing yourself and your child to homeschooling.
Maine Homeschool Laws
Homeschooling in Maine can start between the ages of 6 and 17, although it can also be available to those outside the compulsory ages of education.
To begin homeschooling, you must file a notice of intent to the local superintendent or school officials within ten days of your child’s withdrawal from school.
You must also provide assurance that your child will receive the 175 required days of instruction.
Maine has compulsory subjects for homeschooled students, which include English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (one grade between 6 and 12), and computer proficiency (one grade between 7 and 12).
All homeschooled students in Maine must also participate in an annual assessment. This can be an age-appropriate national standardized achievement test, a local test developed by local school officials, or a portfolio review by a certified teacher, administrator, or local advisory board based in Maine.
Maine Homeschool Association, Organizations, And Support Groups
Although optional, joining and seeking support from the state homeschool association, homeschool organizations, and support groups in Maine can help you start homeschooling your child.
Members of these organizations and groups can point you toward recommended curricula, homeschool programs, local field trips, and extracurricular activities and provide general information on how to homeschool in Maine.
These organizations, support groups, and co-ops can also provide opportunities for you to meet, talk, and receive support from other parents who homeschool their children.
Maine Homeschool Programs
Since homeschooling is fully funded by the parent, accredited homeschool programs in Maine are an option you have to start your child’s home education.
Homeschool programs provide a choice of curricula, a learning schedule, online lessons, and the learning materials your child will need.
Some homeschool programs also offer tests and monitorable results to ensure your child is making progress and is prepared for annual assessments.
Although optional (as it’s possible to create your own homeschool curriculum), homeschool programs offer a convenient and sometimes more comprehensive method of homeschooling your child – especially if you lack time and want to ensure your child is learning from an accredited institution.
Maine Field Trips And Extracurricular Activities
Many homeschool organizations and homeschool programs in Maine will offer educational field trips and extracurricular activities that your child can participate in.
Although this is another optional aspect of their homeschool education, enrolling your child in field trips and extracurricular activities will enhance your child’s learning and also allow your child to socialize with other homeschooled students, which is something they might lack.
Your child can join individually organized field trips for homeschooled students in Maine or be enrolled through Maine homeschool programs and local homeschool organizations.
Maine Annual Assessments
Annual assessments are required by law in Maine. These annual assessments test all homeschooled students’ learning progress and serve as an official record of the assessment results.
In Maine, results must be submitted to a local superintendent’s office at the end of each school year before September 1.
There are various ways your child can undertake an annual assessment in Maine, which include standardized testing and portfolio evaluations.
Portfolios of the student’s coursework must be compiled over the year by the parent.
How Hard Is It To Homeschool?
The difficulty of homeschooling your child can depend on various factors, such as your teaching experience, how much support and educational material is available to you, the homeschool curriculum or program, and your child’s willingness to learn at home.
Since the responsibility of homeschooling largely falls on the parents, homeschooling is as much a commitment for parents as it is for students.
This makes it important that you are able to dedicate an ample amount of time and effort to your child’s education.
Despite the potential difficulties of homeschooling, homeschooling is also a highly rewarding experience for both children and parents.
It offers much more flexibility and the potential to strengthen parent-child relationships.
Is Homeschooling Right For You And Your Child?
If you’re undecided about homeschooling, the best way to decide whether homeschooling is right for you and your child is to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages.
While homeschooling offers many benefits, it can also offer some disadvantages.
Some of the possible drawbacks of homeschooling include decreased social interaction for homeschooled children, gaps in education, limited extracurricular activities, and increased responsibility for parents.
Despite that, considering the pros of homeschooling against the cons can help you decide whether homeschooling is the right decision. Of course, homeschooling is also worth it if it’s something both you and your child are interested in.
If you live in Maine or are moving to Maine in the near future, homeschooling your child isn’t as confusing or as difficult as it might seem.
In fact, like most states, the process involves familiarizing yourself with state homeschool laws, creating a curriculum or enrolling the student in an accredited homeschool program, and making sure the student participates in annual assessments.
Optional processes include joining homeschool organizations and groups for support as well as opting into field trips or extracurricular activities.
Overall, Maine is a homeschool-friendly state with moderate homeschool regulations.
Just make sure to follow Maine’s homeschool laws and take advantage of its homeschool associations and homeschool programs to make sure your child receives the best possible education.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Age To Start Homeschooling?
Homeschooling can start at any age that falls within the compulsory age of education from kindergarten to grade 12.
Just take note that some curricula and homeschool programs must begin at the start of the school year.
Homeschooling can begin after filing a notice of intent to a local superintendent or school official.
Is Homeschooling Good Or Bad For Kids?
Whether homeschooling is good or bad for kids depends on various factors.
There are many benefits to homeschooling, such as customized curriculum and schedule flexibility, but also disadvantages that include a lack of social interaction.
However, this can be rectified with field trips and extracurricular activities.