Public School Access Law

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


  1. Keep in mind that individual school policies, including vaccination, will apply and must be adhered to. 
  2. Research alternatives to meeting your needs through public schools (HOME programs, YMCA, local recreation departments, private schools and classes, and homeschool groups).
  3. Remember that organizations grow by providing support and meeting needs. Allowing the homeschool community to meet your needs will strengthen that community and homeschooling overall.
  4. Consider whether the influence of the public school may be detrimental to your desire to continue homeschooling in the future.
  5. Consider the message you will be sending your child about public education when choosing to access public schools.
  6. Be prepared for hostilities. Homeschoolers may or may not be well accepted by classmates, teammates and/or their parents, teachers or coaches.
  7. Be prepared to deal with the attitudinal and behavioral changes in your child as a result of time spent in public school classrooms and programs.
  8. Consider the loss of time for more important homeschool lessons and experiences.
  9. Request a copy of the local public school's policy regarding access for homeschoolers. More may be required of you than you expect.
  10. Be aware that if you are using the public-school access law, then data will be collected on your child. Records may then be made available to any number of government agencies without permission being granted.
  11. Be sure that your Home School Legal Defense Association membership remains current.

 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.