Information and Resources for Homeschooling Families
Welcome! Are you new to or about to begin your homeschooling journey in Maine? At Through the Trees, many of our staff are homeschooling parents, and we can tell you that while it may feel a little daunting at times, it is also one of the most rewarding things you may do with and for your child(ren) - and it's really not that difficult. The Maine homeschool law requirements are not extensive, and showing that you have met the requirements at the end of each schoolyear is simple.
Many new homeschooling families feel overwhelmed and believe homeschooling is more complicated than it actually is. Even full time working parents can homeschool their children successfully. One of the first things we suggest letting go of is the idea that as a parent you must teach your child everything. The beauty of homeschooling is that it offers children the opportunity to explore their interests in unique and creative ways that support their individual needs and strengths. We are lead to believe that a quality education develops through worksheets, memorization, tests, and hours in a formal school environment, but this very often isn't the case. In fact, many children and teens thrive on alternative types of education, and in many homeschooling families the kids design their own education with support from parents.
Additionally, Maine offers many opportunities for homeschoolers to socialize including co-ops, classes, enrichment programs, and athletics. There are endless curricula available, however, many families spend only a small amount of time following curriculum (if at all), and instead focus on self or student-led education (also referred to as unschooling). It's amazing to see how much children will learn when left to explore the world as they naturally feel inclined. However you and your child decided to engage in the homeschooling world, know that it's important to make it work for your family and adjustments can always be made as you go.
We have provided various resources below. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like additional support or have questions!
Alliance for Self-Directed Education
7 Simple Steps to Start Homeschooling
Harnessing Children's Natural Ways of Learning
The Foundations of Unschooling
The Truth About Deschooling That Will Blow Your Mind
Ideas for Fun Outdoors (Childhood by Nature)
How Children Learn by John Holt
Teach Your Own by John Holt
So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel
Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves by Alison McKee
Free To Learn by Peter Gray
Wild and Free by Ainsley Armet
The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child’s Classroom by Mary Griffith
Requirements & Forms (Maine)
As mentioned on the PDF Homeschool Requirements form at the link above, a letter of intent form is required each year. We offer three form options below. The first is the online form for Maine Department of Education. The second is the printable form from Maine DOE. The third includes forms through HOME (Homeschoolers of Maine). The online and printable forms available at the Maine DOE exceed the requirements of the law and ask for more information than homeschoolers are legally required to give. You may use these or as HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) recommends, use the forms from HOME, which do not exceed Maine law and help preserve homeschool freedoms. Read more from HSLDA.
Maine DOE Online Portal for Letter of Intent Form (submit online)
Maine DOE PDF Letter of Intent Form to Homeschool (print, complete and mail)
HOME PDF Letter of Intent Form (print, complete and mail)
College Scholarships for Homeschoolers