Homeschooling vs. Distance-Learning
Though homeschooling and online schooling have similarities, and many people tend use these terms interchangeably, there are certainly some differences between the two.
Homeschooling is when a parent or other caregiver is physically present in the home and actively teaching the student. It is home education and the biggest difference is that the caregiver is the full-time instructor/primary educator.
Distance learning, also known as online schooling, is any form of remote learning where the student is not present at school but is being taught through communication with the school/teacher. With this type of learning students are asked to complete work that is similar to the work they do in the classroom. Students are expected to check-in with their teacher, complete structured assignments, and continue to meet learning objectives.
Homeschooling is regulated by the state rather than the federal government; this means that laws and regulations differ from state-to-state. You will need to look at the laws and regulations specific to Maine. Please visit the Maine’s Department of Education website.
How to Start Homeschooling in Maine
The steps to start homeschooling in Maine are the following:
1. File a written notice of intent to homeschool with your local school Superintendent. This notice of intent is a one-time thing, and must include the following information:
- The name, address, and signature of the parents (or guardian.)
- The student’s name and age.
- The date that home schooling will begin.
- A statement that says the parent/guardian will provide their student with at least 175 days of instruction per year.
- A statement that says the parent/guardian will cover the required subjects. (See below)
- A statement that says the parent/guardian will perform and submit a year-end assessment for each student. (See below)
- Keep a copy of this notice in your personal records. It must be available for view if the commissioner of education requests to see it.
The Notice of Intent form can be submitted in 2 ways :
a.) Manually – Print, fill out, and send (or drop off) a signed copy to your local Superintendent or the Home Instruction Consultant:
RSU 11/MSAD 11 Superintendent Details:
Name: Patricia Hopkins
Address: 150 Highland Ave.
Gardiner, ME 04345
Phone: (207) 582-5346
Fax: (207) 583-8305
(If your school is not part of RSU 11/MSAD 11 you can look up your superintendent information here: https://neo.maine.gov/DOE/neo/Supersearch/Supersearch/Town)
Home Instruction Consultant,
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station, Augusta, ME – 04333
b.) Electronically – Fill out and submit the form online
Each year thereafter, you will need to send a letter to the local school superintendent by September 1 which includes the following: a. a copy of the student’s year-end assessment, and b. a statement that you intend to continue homeschooling. Maine law dictates that a copy of the student’s year-end assessment, and the annual statement that you intend to continue homeschooling.be kept in your personal records. It must be available for view if the commissioner of education requests to see it.
2(e). Teach the required subjects.
You must teach all of the following subjects:
Computer Proficiency (one time class to be taught between grades 7 and 12)
English and Language Arts
Maine Studies (One time class to be taught between grades 6 and 12)
Physical Education and Health
3(f). Submit a year-end assessment.
For your child’s year-end assessment, you can:
1.) Submit the official results of any national standardized achievement test.
2.) Submit the results of a test developed by local school officials.
3.) Submit a review and acceptance of progress letter by: 1.) a Maine certified teacher; 2.) a homeschool support group that includes a Maine certified teacher or administrator who has reviewed a portfolio of the student’s work; or 3.) a local advisory board appointed by the superintendent composed of two homeschool teachers and one school official (this must be arranged with the school district before the school year starts).
For more information please visit the Maine’s Department of Education website: https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/schoolops/homeinstruction/requirements
We’ve built a small collection of the most highly utilized or highly reviewed free and paid educational resources for homeschooling and/or supplemental learning.
FREE HOMESCHOOLING RESOURCES
The A2Z Homeschooling website has rounded up a large collection of free: websites, videos, games, printables, projects, field trips and more that cover language arts, math, social studies, science, fine arts, health & fitness, foreign languages, and computer literacy to help make homeschooling easier, cheaper, and fun.
Website: A2Z Homeschooling
AmblesideOnline is a free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s classically-based principles. AO’s detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources allow parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child
Website: Ambleside Online
The Big History Project:
The Big History Project is a free, online social studies course for middle- and high-school students. Run the course over a full year or semester, or adapt it to your child’s needs. Use teacher-generated lessons or create your own using the content library. Everything is online, so content is always available, up to date, and easy to download. The Big History Project helps users meet Common Core ELA standards from the ground up, starting with the learning outcomes, and including assessment and lesson activities.
Website: The Big History Project
Chrome Music Lab
Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Educators are able to use Chrome Music Lab as a tool to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more.
Website: Chrome Music Lab
CK-12 is committed to providing free access to open-source content and technology tools that empower students as well as teachers to enhance and experiment with different learning styles, resources, levels of competence, and circumstances.
The Core Knowledge Curriculum Series™ provides comprehensive, content-rich learning materials based on the Core Knowledge Sequence. Student readers, teacher guides, activity books, and other materials are available for Language Arts and History and Geography.
Website: Core Knowledge
Discovery K12 Offers a free non-Common Core, traditional, secular curriculum that integrates STEM and the Arts without the use of any textbooks and requires no lesson planning for grades K-12. Their lessons cover 7 standard subjects including Reading/Literature, Language Arts, Math, History/Social Studies, Science, Visual/Performing Arts and Physical Education, and their Extra Curriculum includes Spanish 1, HTML Coding, Healthy Living, Personal Finance, Business Apps, and Business 101. (*There is the option of creating a teacher/parent account for $99 per year, however it is not required.)
Website: Discovery K12
Easy Peasy is an all-in-one elementary homeschool curriculum’s lesson plan/printables website. Easy Peasy uses only free resources to cover reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, math, history/social studies/geography, science, Spanish, computer, music, art, PE/health, and logic.
Website: Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool
Funbrain is a site created for kids in grades Pre-K through 8, Funbrain.com has been the leader in free educational games for kids since 1997, offering hundreds of games, books, comics, and videos that develop skills in math, reading, problem-solving and literacy
HippoCampus.org is a core academic website that delivers rich multimedia content–videos, animations, and simulations–on general education subjects free of charge to students in middle-school and high-school. While HippoCampus is not a credit-granting organization, and therefore does not monitor, grade, or give transcripts to anyone using the site, it is still used by many home schooling families as content to supplement or guide their home curriculum. – The website covers subjects such as Math, Natural Science, Social Science, and Humanities.
There are hundreds of free government resources that homeschoolers can take advantage for lesson plans, activities and more The Home Educator website has broken down resources by grade levels and categories that include health, biology/nature, earth science, astronomy, economics, American government/history, fine arts, and more.
Homeschool Buyers Co-Op
The Homeschool Buyers Co-Op website has put together a database of free curriculum and other educational resources such as websites, videos, games, printables, projects, online interactive lessons, and virtual tours. These curriculum/resources include the subjects of language arts, math, social studies, history, science, art, and music.
Website: Home School Buyer Co-Op
Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computing, history, art history, economics, and more, including K-14 and test preparation (SAT, Praxis, LSAT) content.
Website: Khan Academy
Maine Connections Academy is the state’s first virtual public charter school for students grades 7-12. The program combines certified teachers, an award-winning curriculum, technology tools, engaging electives, and social experiences to create a supportive and successful online learning program for students and their families. As a public school there are no fees to attend, no tuition charges and no materials fees. MCA virtual school classes meet and exceed all national and state standards.
Website: Maine Connections Academy
Maine PBS and WGBH have partnered to create PBS LearningMedia, a trusted source for PreK-12 classroom resources. It offers free and easy access to thousands of lesson plans, videos, interactives, and curated content collections to help you create one-of-a kind learning experiences for your students. Browse by age/grade, subject, and resource type.
Website: PBS Learning Media
SAS Curriculum Pathways is available at no cost and used by thousands of educators in all 50 states. SAS Curriculum Pathways provides academic instruction of English, mathematics, social studies, science and Spanish. Social studies materials include an interactive atlas. In math, an interactive tool helps students develop basic algebra skills. Enhancements to the award-winning Writing Reviser in the English module help students master sentence fundamentals. Spanish materials help students develop reading and listening skills in real-world situations.
Website: Curriculum Pathways
The Sheppard Software website has hundreds of free, online, learning games (solitaire, brain teasers, puzzles, memory/matching games, etc.) for kids in a variety of subjects such as: math, science, language arts, health, nature/animals, geography, and more.
Website: Sheppard Software
The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, creating content with online tools, and sharing in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning.
Website: Smithsonian Learning Lab
Starfall Education offers activities for kids in pre-k through 3rd grade.Starfall activities are research-based and align with Individual and Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics. The program emphasizes exploration, play, and positive reinforcement—encouraging children to become confident and intrinsically motivated. (*There is the option of creating a $35 annual membership provides additional activities, however it is not required.)
The WeAreTeachers website that has tons of resources for learning at home. The website will point users in the direction of fun websites, games, apps, virtual field trips, and hands-on activities to assist and extend the distance learning for student’s K-5. (*The website also provides a list of Children’s Authors doing online read-alouds & activities. You can view their list here: We Are Teachers Virtual Author Activities)
Website at: We Are Teachers
PAID HOMESCHOOLING RESOURCES
Pre K – 6th $19.99 per year
8th – High school, and/or Special education materials $39.98 per year.
edHelper is an online subscription service that provides printable worksheets for teachers and homeschooling parents. edHelper offers a wide range of materials, including math, language arts, reading and writing, social studies, science, foreign language and more.
$15.99 per month or $119.88 per year.
Education.com caters to grades K-5 and has 30,000+ digital and printable learning resources. The websites offers both digital and printable worksheets and workbooks, digital games, interactive stories, lesson plans, weekly recommendations, and more.
(There is a Basic (free) membership allows users to access three free content downloads each month.)
Power Homeschool Services
$25 a month – 7 courses
Power Homeschool is a program intended to aid parents in homeschooling their student. Power Homeschool course materials are standards-based and provide a full online learning experience in each subject area. Each student may take up to seven courses simultaneously and the selection of courses may be adjusted at any time. Power Homeschool allows students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. When a student struggles, the system provides additional instruction and practice as needed.
Website: Power Homeschool Services
Pre K – 8th $19.95 per month / Highschool $30 per month
Time4Learning is an online, interactive curriculum for students in PreK-12th for homeschool, afterschool, and skill building. Time4Learning’s award-winning, comprehensive program offers a variety of math, language arts, science, social studies, electives, and foreign language through a combination of a 1000+ animated lessons, printable worksheets and graded activities.
Website: Time 4 Learning
Some of our recent family friendly and educational blogs are linked below.
Virtual tours of: Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, National Parks, Historical Places/Landmarks, NASA Research Centers, and more!
Outdoor/Animal Webcams of Wildlife, Farm Life, Zoo Life, Iconic Landmarks, Lake Life, Ocean/ Sea Life, and more.
Apps for learning about: Wildlife, Birds, Bugs, Trees, Flowers/Mushrooms, Weather, The Night Sky and more.
As well as educational (and/or entertaining) apps and streaming services for both children and adults.