Homeschool Students and Public School Access
Some Maine homeschool families choose to access their local public school for classes, programs, services, etc. Maine law gives homeschooled students the ability to request access to public school co-curricular, extracurricular, and interscholastic activities.
Be sure to review the full Homeschool Access Law.
Before You Decide to Access the Public School
There are many situations and factors that lead families to choose to access the public school. Before making the decision, here is some food for thought:
12 Things to Do and Consider before Deciding to Access Local Public Schools for Classes, Special Services, or Extra Curricular Activities or Programs
Special Note Concerning Special Education Services at the Public School
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal program authorizing state and local aid to students in need of special education and related services from birth to graduation (or age 21, whichever comes first). Under IDEA, schools are required to "identify, locate, and evaluate" any child within their district with a suspected disability. According to IDEA information provided by the U. S Department of Education, this includes children whose parents have chosen to homeschool them or place them in private schools. The school district where the child’s parents reside is responsible for conducting these activities, including initial evaluations and reevaluations, for children who are homeschooled.
Federal law provides a small amount of money, distributed through local public-school districts, that is specifically directed for use with private school students who have disabilities. However, in Maine, homeschooled students are not considered private school students for purposes of the special education law. Unlike public school students, both private and homeschooled students with disabilities do not have an individual right to special education services. The federal law only requires that the public schools "meaningfully consult" with private school administrators to determine the special education needs of private school students with disabilities who are placed by their parents in private schools within the district's geographic boundaries. It is then up to the public school to decide how to spend the federal money directed to private school students with disabilities, and which private school students receive which services.
* Please contact HOME for more information, questions, and to aid in your understanding of the homeschool access law in this state. All inquiries are answered free of charge.