School systems across Maryland occasionally claim that no one but a parent can teach a homeschooled child, or that parents must teach a certain percentage of their child’s classes. Now this off-again, on-again tussle has prompted a concerned lawmaker to file a bill.

The Maryland statutes don’t say anything about who delivers homeschool instruction. Code 7-301(a) says only that children not in a school must be “otherwise receiving regular, thorough instruction.”

As is obvious from these plain words, what is mandated is what children must receive. There is no mandate as to whom they receive it from. Parents alone decide whether the child receives the instruction from the parents themselves or someone else in whom they have confidence.

Let Parents Choose

While school district representatives sometimes bully parents, they know deep down that they cannot prevent you from picking whatever instructors you want. I have assisted Maryland families for over 15 years, and there has never been a single case where a parent was actually prevented from picking teachers from outside the home.

Furthermore, the school system doesn’t even have the authority to require you to tell them who your child’s teachers are! There is nothing in any statute or regulation that requires you to tell anyone the names of those who teach your child. So how could they possibly tell you that no one outside your family can teach your kids

A number of constituents who had been bullied approached Delegate Mike Smigiel, a supporter of homeschooling. He wanted to help them, so he filed House Bill 944, which if enacted, would create a law related to parents using private tutors. I had a long conversation with the delegate, and he has come to agree that the solution is not a new law. He will be withdrawing the bill.

The solution is for parents to understand their rights. We have all seen that if a bully gets his way one time, it encourages him to bully others. But the opposite is also true: if people stand up to the bully, he will stop. Likewise, if all parents stand on their rights portfolio reviewers will stop telling parents that they cannot use any teacher other than a parent.

You can be part of the solution. You can protect the next homeschool family by politely but firmly refusing to be bullied yourself.

Protect Your Family

If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now.

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Maryland. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

Courtesy HSLDA. Used with permission. Visit HSLDA.org.

Publication date: March 12, 2014