How many times have I heard, “Homeschool? Me?”
The summer is gone and children are starting to go back to public school. Your child makes it through the first week and is struggling. You want to try homeschooling to see if it will be a better fit for your child. How do you do it in Maine?
In Maine there are 2 options to homeschool, both have their advantages and disadvantages. So today I will just explain the options and leave the advantages and disadvantages for another day.
For option 1 you as the parent send in a letter of intent (LOI) to your local superintendent stating that you will be homeschooling your student(s). You also send a copy to the Dept. of Education. You must send in this LOI within 10 days of the student turning the age of 7. So, should I turn it in at the beginning of the year that they turn 7 or wait until they are actually 7? Wait, every year the legislature tries to lower the compulsory attendance requirement. Many of us fight this battle every year, the more people that send in the LOI prior to the 7th birthday the harder it gets to keep the committees from lowering that age. 7 is plenty early enough to have to report, keep records, and file an assessment.
So I have filed my LOI, now what? You school your child(ren) and keep records, you can either do a portfolio review, a standardized test or a letter from a certified Maine teacher. There is a great post at www.mainehomeeducation.com on how to put together a portfolio here: http://www.mainehomeeducation.com/assessment-options/. You choose your curriculum, plan field trips and activities. You can do this joining others or on your own. There are many options and it can be overwhelming. Choose your curriculum and stick with it for the whole year. Use it as a tool, tweak it, delete from it, add to it, etc. Do not let that curriculum run your homeschool, you are in charge.
Option 2 is much different, your students would be considered private schoolers enrolled in a RAPPS (Recognized for Attendance Purposes Private School). There are many of these “schools” around the state. Each school sets their requirements, these requirements can include fees, curriculum, testing, graduation requirements, and more. The RAPPS administrator reports all the students to the appropriate superintendent and you just do the educating in your home or in a brick and mortar building depending on the school.
Do the research and determine which options is right for your family. If you would like to talk more about homeschooling in Maine you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text to 207-717-7619. I would be happy to set up a video conference or a personal meeting or phone conversation.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle, I believe that anyone can do it, there are some obstacles that you may have to work around but if you have a desire to educate your children in your home environment there are lots of resources out there. Lots of veteran homeschooling families are available to help you and guide you. I have since graduated all my children and continue to help homeschoolers through a RAPPS and my experiences as a homeschooling mom and helping others. There are ups and downs but in the end it was the best thing we could have done for our children.
Comments are welcome and encouraged!