Homeschooling in Maine & Homeschool Laws

Homeschooling in Maine & Homeschool Laws

You may be considering homeschooling in Maine, but don’t know where to start regarding Maine homeschool laws. This guide will walk you through what you need to know to successfully set up your own homeschool Maine program. We’ll cover the history of homeschooling in Maine, Maine homeschool laws, required notifications and filings, curriculum and testing choices, high school transcripts, extracurricular activities, graduation requirements, and special education services.

History of Homeschooling in Maine

In Maine, early homeschoolers faced resistance from local school boards. Maine homeschool laws were established in 1981, leading to inconsistent approval processes across districts, causing hardships for many families.

During this time, families had to be resourceful, creating their own materials and forming support groups. In the face of legal uncertainties and occasional accusations of abuse, homeschoolers persisted, often facing public scrutiny and challenges in gaining approval since they were not traditionally schooled students.

In 1982, Maine’s attempt to regulate private church schools sparked the Bangor Baptist Church v. Maine case, allowing non-approved schools to operate under specific guidelines. This led to the emergence of Registered for Attendance Purposes (RAPS) private schools, providing an alternative for homeschoolers to meet the compulsory attendance law.

The movement gained momentum with events like the 1983 conference featuring John Holt, a prominent advocate for homeschooling. In 1984, proposed Maine homeschool laws sparked uproar, culminating in a heated hearing with over 300 homeschoolers in attendance. Following public backlash, a committee negotiated the “Chapter 130” Maine homeschool laws by 1985. history of homeschooling in Maine.

Current Maine Homeschool Laws and Regulations

Here is a link to the current Maine homeschool laws under the Home Instruction Law: M.R.S. 20-A §5001-A(3)(A)(4)

Within 10 calendar days of commencing home instruction, the parent must provide written notice simultaneously to the school officials and to the commissioner of the Maine Department. This notice must include:

  • Name, signature, and address of the student’s parent;

  • Name and age of the student;

  • Start date of the home instruction program;

  • Assurance that the program will offer a minimum of 175 days of instruction annually, covering English, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, and, in one grade from 6 to 12, Maine studies. Additionally, computer proficiency will be demonstrated at one grade level from 7 to 12;

  • Assurance of determining academic progress based on annual assessments, using one of the assessment methods.


By September 1st of each subsequent year, the parent must submit a letter to the school officials, confirming the intention to continue home instruction. According to Maine homeschool requirements, the letter must include one of the following forms of annual assessment of the student’s academic progress:

  • Standardized achievement test administered through the student’s administrative unit or approved by the commissioner;

  • Test developed by the administrative unit’s school officials, agreed upon before submitting the notice of intent;

  • Student’s progress reviewed by a Maine certified teacher;

  • Student’s progress reviewed by a Maine homeschooling support group, including a Maine certified teacher or administrator;

  • Student’s progress based on a local advisory board selected by the local superintendent, consisting of one administrative unit employee and the home instruction tutor (2), agreed upon before submitting the notice of intent.

How to Set Up a Homeschool In Maine

Maine homeschool laws provide two options you can use to homeschool your children: home instruction and private schooling.

Option 1: Homeschooling under Maine’s home instruction: 

If you choose to provide your child with home instruction, you’ll need to follow these requirements:

File a one-time notice of intent: You must send a one-time written notice of intent to your local school superintendent’s office. This notice needs to be sent within 10 days of you starting to homeschool your student. Get the form here.

Your notice of intent must include the following information:

  • name, address, and signature of the student’s parent or guardian,

  • student’s name and age,

  • the date that home instruction will begin,

  • a statement that you will provide instruction for at least 175 days a year,

  • a statement that you will cover the required subjects, and

  • a statement that you will submit a year-end assessment for your student to demonstrate proficiency.

  • Maine law says that you must keep a copy of this notice of intent for your records.

Each year thereafter, by September 1, you need to send a letter to the local school superintendent’s office. This letter needs to include the following according to Maine homeschool laws:

  • your student’s year-end assessment, and

  • a statement that you intend to continue your student’s home education.

Maine law says that you must keep a copy of each annual letter, and a copy of each year-end assessment, for your records. If the commissioner of education asks to see the letter or the year-end assessment, you must provide it according to Maine homeschool laws.

Provide the required days of instruction and teach the required subjects. You are required to teach your child for 175 days annually under Maine homeschool laws.

According to Maine homeschool laws, you must teach all of the following subjects:

  • Language Arts.

  • Math.

  • Science.

  • Social Studies.

  • Physical and Health Education.

  • Library Skills.

  • Fine Arts.

  • Maine studies (at least one grade level between grades 6 and 12), and Computer Proficiency (at least one grade level between grades 7 and 12).

Under Maine homeschool laws, you must submit a year-end assessment to your local superintendent. For your child’s year-end assessment, you can:

  • Submit the official standardized test results.

  • Submit the results of a test developed by local school officials.

  • Submit a letter stating that your student’s progress has been reviewed and is acceptable. This can be a teacher review letter from a Maine certified teacher, a support group that has a Maine certified teacher helping to conduct your child’s review, or an advisory board that includes two homeschool teachers and one school official that you arrange with your school district before the school year begins. This assessment is due by September 1st under Maine homeschooling laws. 

Option 2: Homeschooling as a student of a private school:

According to Maine homeschool laws, parents have the option to form a school that the state acknowledges as providing equivalent instruction. By enrolling your child in one of these recognized schools, you can comply with Maine’s compulsory attendance law.

Among the requirements for recognition under Maine homeschooling laws is the mandate that the school offers instruction in the following subjects:

  • Language Arts.

  • Math.

  • Science.

  • American History.

  • Maine History and Geography.

  • Government.

  • Health.

  • Fine art.

Additionally, submit the following required paperwork required by the state of Maine homeschool requirements: 

  • Notice to Commissioner of Establishment of Recognized as Equivalent School (REPS).

  • Annual Letter to School District for Recognized as Equivalent School (REPS).

  • Annual Letter to Parents for Recognized as Equivalent School (REPS).

Maintaining Your Maine Homeschool

To maintain homeschooling in Maine, follow these steps:

  • Comply with Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with Maine homeschool laws outlined in M.R.S. 20-A §5001-A. Ensure you meet all obligations such as filing a notice of intent and providing an annual assessment.

  • File Notice of Intent: Within 10 days of starting homeschooling in Maine, submit a written notice of intent to your local school superintendent and the commissioner of education. Include necessary details such as parent information, student’s name and age, primary teacher, start date of homeschooling in Maine, and assurances regarding instruction and assessment

  • Provide Instruction: Offer instruction covering required subjects, including English, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies, and computer proficiency.

  • Maintain Records: Keep thorough records of attendance, subjects taught, educational materials, and samples of your student’s work. Retain copies of all correspondence with educational authorities.

  • Submit Annual Letter: By September 1st of send a subsequent year letter to the local school superintendent and the commissioner, indicating your intent to continue homeschooling in Maine.

  • Conduct Assessments: Choose an approved form of assessment, such as standardized tests, child’s progress review by a currently certified Maine teacher, or review by a home education support group. Ensure the assessment covers your child’s progress.

  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on any changes to Maine homeschool laws. Join homeschooling Maine associations to connect with other families and access resources and support.

  • Engage in Continuous Learning: Tailor your homeschooling in Maine approach to suit your child’s learning style and interests. Explore various curricula and educational resources to provide a well-rounded education.

By following these steps and remaining dedicated to your child’s education, you can start homeschooling and successfully maintain homeschooling in Maine while complying with Maine homeschool laws.

Maine Reporting Requirements

Here are the reporting requirements for homeschoolers in Maine:

  • Notice of Intent Filing: Parents must file a Notice of Intent annually. The school year runs from July 1 to June 30. For parents beginning home instruction in the first school year, the notice must be filed within 10 days of withdrawing from school or by September 1 if starting with the new school year.

  • Annual Assessment Results: Annual assessment results are required only for students enrolled who completed the previous school year in home instruction in Maine. These results must be submitted by September 1, along with the Notice of Intent. Assessments should be attached to the paper notice and sent certified mail or uploaded to the Home Instruction Portal during the submission process.

  • End-of-Year Assessment for Exiting Students: If a student completes the school year in home instruction but will not continue in the subsequent year, annual assessment results are still necessary. Parents should include a note with the assessment results, indicating the student’s exit from home instruction and the date of withdrawal. 

In addition to the state-required records, it’s essential to maintain the following important documents for your homeschooling in Maine, regardless of whether you’re utilizing Option 1 or Option 2:

  • Attendance Records: Keep track of your student’s attendance to demonstrate compliance with the required number of instructional days.

  • Textbooks Information: Document details about the textbooks and workbooks used in your in homeschool curriculum to provide insight into their educational materials.

  • Samples of Schoolwork: Preserve samples of your student’s work to showcase their academic progress.

  • Correspondence with School Officials: Retain any ongoing communication exchanged with school authorities regarding your homeschooling in Maine.

  • Educational Portfolio and Test Results: Compile a homeschool portfolio containing your student’s projects, assignments, and assessments, along with any test results, to illustrate their educational growth and performance.

  • Additional Documentation: Maintain any other relevant documents demonstrating your child’s receipt of a suitable education in adherence with Maine homeschool laws. 

Ensure that you retain these records for a minimum of two years. Moreover, retain your student’s high school records and evidence of compliance with Maine homeschool laws throughout their high school years indefinitely. This includes any notices or filings submitted to state or local officials regarding your home education program.

Homeschool Testing In Maine

According to homeschool laws, Maine requires a standardized achievement test to be conducted either through the administrative unit where the student resides or via other approved arrangements by the commissioner, tailored to suit the specifics of the student’s home instruction program. If the test is facilitated by the student’s administrative unit, prior agreement by school officials of that unit is required before submitting the written notice of intent for home instruction, as outlined in MRS Title 20-A. EDUCATION, Section 303. 

According to Maine homeschooling laws, this test must gain approval from the school officials of the administrative unit before the submission of the written notice of intent for home instruction.

Funding Your Maine Homeschool

Maine does not currently have any sources of direct public funding, reimbursements, or tax credits for families who homeschool. All costs related to homeschooling in Maine, including homeschool curriculum, lessons, activities, technology, supplies, and other expenses are funded exclusively by the Maine homeschoolers’ family.

There are no provisions for families to receive a portion of the per-student public school funding allocation or reimbursements for qualified educational expenses. Homeschool families are ineligible for programs like online public school enrollment or public charter schools that are available in some other states.

Federal Tax Breaks

Homeschooling families may be eligible for certain federal tax benefits to help offset educational expenses. One option is a Coverdell Education Savings Account, which allows money to grow tax-free when used for qualified education costs. Homeschool parents might also be able to deduct a portion of mortgage interest or rent if part of the home is used regularly and exclusively for homeschooling. Finally, tax credits or deductions could be available for required books, supplies, equipment and curricula used for homeschool instruction. To learn more about these potential tax advantages, homeschooling families should review the information and resources provided by the IRS.

Maine Immunization Requirements

In Maine, homeschooled students who do not engage in any school-related activities such as sports or extracurriculars are exempt from the state’s immunization laws. However, if a homeschooled students participate in extracurricular activities at a public school, they must adhere to the immunization requirements outlined in Title 20-A MRS § 5021. Similarly, virtual schools covering grades PK-12 are also subject to the same immunization regulations.

Maine State State Graduation Requirements

State law and the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) does not establish standardized benchmarks for home instruction, consequently refraining from issuing grades, credits, diplomas, transcripts, or letters of course completion or grade level promotion. Parents are encouraged to directly communicate with post-secondary institutions, military recruiters, or prospective employers to ascertain the prerequisites for acceptance, admission, or employment. See reference here

Many Maine homeschool families partner with private umbrella schools, university model schools, or distance education programs that can provide an accredited high school diploma once the student has completed their program’s requirements. But these pathways are not accessible through the public system.

Other homeschooling families choose to have their student take an equivalency exam like the HiSET or pursue admission to colleges, trade schools, or careers directly without seeking a standard high school diploma. Public schools may accept some transfer credits or programs, but it varies between districts. There are no graduation protocols specifically for homeschooled students established at the state level.

Maine Homeschool Charters

Maine Virtual Academy (MeVA) is a virtual public school based in Augusta. Established in September 2015, MeVA became the second virtual public school in the state. Today, it serves students from over 100 school districts across Maine.

Charters are considered public schools, so students must meet enrollment requirements, follow state graduation standards, participate in annual standardized testing, and receive instruction from a currently certified Maine teacher. At the same time, the instruction occurs primarily at home. Charter school model varies considerably, so most parents need to research individual programs closely before enrolling.

Local Maine Homeschooling Resources

While Maine state funding and programs for homeschoolers are limited, there are a number of active community-based homeschooling support groups and resources around the state:

  • Homeschoolers of Maine: Recognizing the importance of fostering connections and providing support, this is a non-profit ministry aimed at catering to the academic needs of homeschooling families across Maine.

  • Maine Christian Homeschool: This group is dedicated to supporting Christian homeschooling families residing in Maine.

  • Secular Homeschooling and Unschooling Families of Maine: This is a vibrant community welcoming parents in Maine who are actively homeschooling or unschooling, considering these educational paths, or simply intrigued to learn more about them. 

While Maine has limited government-sponsored support groups, these grassroots organizations provide valuable resources and support for homeschoolers statewide. They aim to fill gaps and allow families to connect with each other and access additional enrichment opportunities which may even provide legal advice regarding homeschool laws in Maine.

Looking at other states can provide ideas for services homeschooling families in Maine may wish to advocate for in the future, like online public school options, a home instruction tutor, education savings accounts, or tax credits. But for now, community-based support groups are the best resources to support homeschool programs in Maine.

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