If you are a parent or guardian who wishes to provide the education for your child and not have your student enrolled in the local public school, you should be aware of Maine's home instruction requirements and laws, and make sure you submit the appropriate paperwork. The following information does not apply to families in remote or hybrid learning with their local schools during the COVID-19 emergency. Students in remote or hybrid learning programs should continue to participate in learning activities and ongoing communication with their local school.
Parents/Guardians of Home Instruction Students (as distinct from local school remote or hybrid learning students) must complete the requirements of M.R.S. 20-A §5001-A(3)(A)(4). As Home Instruction lies within the compulsory attendance law, truancy laws apply.
Home Instruction Law: M.R.S. 20-A §5001-A(3)(A)(4)
(a) The student's parent or guardian shall provide a written notice of intent to provide home instruction simultaneously 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. The notice must contain the following information:
(i) The name, signature and address of the student's parent or guardian;
(ii) The name and age of the student;
(iii) The date the home instruction program will begin;
(iv) A statement of assurance that indicates 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; and
(v) A statement of assurance that indicates that 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 division (b).
(b) On or before September 1st of each subsequent year of home instruction, the student's parent or guardian shall file a letter with the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides and the commissioner stating the intention to continue providing home instruction and enclose a copy of one of the following forms of annual assessment of the student's academic progress:
(i) A standardized achievement test administered through the administrative unit in which the student resides or through other arrangements approved by the commissioner. If the test is administered through the administrative unit in which the student resides, that administration must be agreed to by the school officials of the administrative unit prior to submission of the written notice of intent to provide home instruction; MRS Title 20-A. EDUCATION Generated 03.05.2020 Title 20-A. EDUCATION | 303
(ii) A test developed by the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides appropriate to the student's home instruction program, which must be agreed to by the school officials of the administrative unit prior to submission of the written notice of intent to provide home instruction;
(iii) A review and acceptance of the student's progress by an identified individual who holds a current Maine teacher's certificate;
(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 area homeschooling 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 that includes one administrative unit employee and 2 home instruction tutors. For the purpose of this subdivision, a "home instruction tutor" means the parent, guardian or other person who acts or will act as a primary teacher of the student in the home instruction program. This provision must be agreed to by the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides prior to submission of the written notice of intent to provide home instruction.
Requirements & Forms
How to Submit or Update the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction
- Online submission: Home Instruction Portal (one submission process for both first / subsequent year of home instruction)
Paper form: Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction (PDF updated as of October 2020) Submit to the resident Superintendent's office.
- Request to Update Home Instruction Record Has your student graduated or decided to go back to public/private school? Have you submitted your Intent to Provide Home Instruction but have a mid-year change of address, addition or correction for the file? Please let us know.
Stay informed and Subscribe to Email Updates about home instruction from the Department.
How to Begin Home Instruction
The Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction may be completed via the Home Instruction Portal, or by submitting a paper form or other notice that contains the required information (please see the Frequently Asked Questions for required information details). Parents that do not submit all of the required information will be notified by the school administrative unit of residence according to local policies. One submission of a home instruction Notice serves as notification to both the Maine Department of Education and the resident Superintendent, as required by law, and will prompt an acknowledgment to parents who supply a valid email address. A school year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30.
The parent/guardian who is beginning home instruction for a student for the first time must file a Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction within 10 days of withdrawal from school.
Each year thereafter, a Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction (with prior year assessment results attached - see below) must be filed by September 1.
Prior to submission ensure that copies of any required prior year assessments (parents must submit together with the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction for subsequent year students) are available for mailing or delivery, or scanned for upload if using the Home Instruction Portal input option.
The process allows parents to provide first/subsequent year notice “simultaneously to the school officials of the administrative unit in which the student resides and to the commissioner” in one of two ways:
- Enter information once annually directly on the new Home Instruction Portal, uploading any required prior year assessment information;
- Complete the paper form or other form/letter once annually and mail it or drop it off, with any required prior year assessments, to the Department of Education Office in Augusta.
Parents who supply a valid email address will receive an email acknowledgment.
- Home Instruction Access Law. Public schools are permitted to partially enroll home instruction students into classes or extra-curricular activities that are available at the school, as space and resources allow. In certain situations, students participating in home instruction may access certain public school programs. Read Sub-section 1-A: Equivalent Instruction Programs.
- Special Education & Home Instruction. Home instruction students are eligible to receive special education and related services at their resident school unit’s public school. The public school has an obligation to provide such services only in the event that the student elects to participate in classes at the school, and only to the extent that those services are necessary, due to the student’s disability, to enable the student to participate in those classes. On the Special Education Laws & Regulations page, click "State Regulation: Chapter 101" to download the document. See Section IV.4.H.
Standards for participation in public schools by students enrolled in equivalent instruction programs. A student receiving home instruction may participate in public school activities as outlined in Title 20-A, Section 5021. A school administrative unit is entitled to receive state subsidy for any student who receives instruction through one or more on-site academic courses from a public school but is not a full-time student. The rate of reimbursement must be established in increments of 0.25 full-time equivalent status up to 1.0 full-time equivalent status based on the average amount of time per day that a student receives on-site academic services from a public school.