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August 24, 2011

Protect Your Privacy: Use Only the State Form

Maryland homeschool regulations require families to file a notice of consent—on a form prepared by the state—the first year they start homeschooling a child. But the state Department of Education stopped posting the correct form on its website a couple years ago, giving county school systems tacit approval to cook up their own forms to offer families.

But the forms individual school systems have developed often call for information that is not required. For example, the form Prince George’s (PG) County Public Schools offers to families asks for a birth date. The state form asks for only the month and year of birth. The PG form asks what public school your child would attend. The state form does not.

The PG form refers to itself as an “application.” But you are not “applying” for anything. You are merely filing a notice.

The PG form says you must give a copy to your child’s public school “for official withdrawal.” There is actually no such requirement. Under the regulations, the notice goes only to the superintendent. (We recommend a very simple letter to the principal if a child is being withdrawn.)

The correct form—the one developed by the state Department of Education—is available on the public section of the HSLDA webpage for Maryland. To protect your family’s privacy, use this form rather than the one your county may offer you.