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John Huber


What’s the Deal With all of These Online K-12 Schools? 

Can you send your child there instead of a Maryland K-12 school?  Do they cost anything?  The answer is not too complicated.

Over the past decade, there has been an incredible increase in the number of these online schools.  Many offer completely online services, and some offer hybrid.  These online schools can offer both asynchronous (student does the work on his own) and synchronous (all students in the class meet at the same time) learning.

The rise of these schools is due to increased demand because of one or both of two reasons.  The first is dissatisfaction with the K-12 school system for a variety of reasons such as lack of academic progress, bullying, school safety and more.  The other involves pandemic related concerns.  The demand for these new online schools can most certainly be traced to a combination of any or all of these.

Does this mean you can simply enroll your child in one of these schools and disenroll him from the public school?  The short answer is yes.

While the state of Maryland does not publicize its homeschooling laws, the fact is, Maryland is a very homeschool friendly state.  Maryland’s compulsory attendance law is very plain and clear as is the homeschooling law.  The compulsory attendance law simply states that all children between the ages of 5 and 18, who live in Maryland, are required to attend school. The homeschooling law is equally as simple; students may be exempt from the compulsory attendance law if he or she “is receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school year in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age.”  That’s it.

The law goes on to list a few requirements for parents such as notifying the school system of homeschooling and the general procedure to be followed by the system to oversee it.  The key here is to understand that it is the parents and parents alone that are responsible to deliver the schooling.  This is where the online schools come in.

Maryland is not in the business of approving or disapproving homeschooling curriculums.  They do, however, make it clear that the parent is responsible.  Essentially, if the parent chooses to homeschool the child, the choice of curriculum is strictly up to the parent.  Online schools fill that gap.

It’s that simple.  A parent has had enough with the public schools and withdraws the student following the procedure prescribed by the law.  The parent then enrolls the child in an online school and indicates to the school system how the child will be educated.  The parents are then required to meet the system’s requirements in terms of progress in the curriculum.  In other words, it is incumbent upon the parents to see to it that the child makes satisfactory progress in the chosen curriculum or online school.  If the child does not, it is the responsibility of the parents and not the online school.  If children do not attend or progress satisfactorily in the chosen program, the system will hold parents accountable and not the school.

So, if you are considering taking your child out of the public schools, it has never been easier.  Any and all of these online schools are allowed in Maryland, but you, as the parent, are ultimately responsible.  You must, however, make sure you follow the rules.

Oh, and by the way….. Yes, most of them cost.

If you have any further concerns on want more information, please contact Maryland K-12.

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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.

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