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Homeschooling: Getting Started

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  • Before making the commitment to homeschool, it’s beneficial to read and research homeschooling (in books or on the Internet) to help make the decision, and to learn about the various methods of educating children at home.
  • For a wealth of information on home education, order “The Fine Art of Homeschooling” booklet from MDHSA –  This booklet details how to homeschool, and is helpful for beginners as well as veteran homeschoolers.   See the “Home” tab, then “Publications” page for further information and ordering instructions.
  • Often, homeschoolers subscribe to at least one homeschool magazine each year for encouragement, new ideas, and to keep abreast of trends and legislation. Rotating magazine subscriptions until you fine a favorite is an economical approach, and will be far less overwhelming!
  • Learn your state homeschool law and comply with it.

In Pennsylvania, one parent must have a high school diploma or its equivalent (a GED, for example) and no adult living in the home may have been convicted of specified crimes within the five years preceding the beginning of the home education program. (Parents who do no have a diploma may enroll in Charter Schools, however). **It is important that Pennsylvania homeschoolers understand the PA Homeschool law.  The MDHSA booklet, “Homeschooling and the Law can be found on this website, and is a great place to learn about what the law does and does NOT require.  (Visit the “Purchase” tab, then “MDHSA Publications” for a free PDF version of this booklet, or for instructions on ordering a hard copy.)

In Maryland, there is no such requirement – any parent may homeschool.

For legal information on other states, click on the “Home” tab, then “Links” page.

  • Consider joining a locate support group.

Mason Dixon Homeschoolers’ Association, Inc. has been in existence since 1986, and includes families with varying approaches to education. MDHSA serves families in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Viriginia.  MDHSA has worked legislatively and locally as an advocate for homeschoolers in Pennsylvania, and has served hundreds of families, both locally and statewide. Search the Internet to find a support group near you.  If there is none available, consider starting one on your own by posting notices in the local library (homeschoolers go there all the time!) or other facility that is frequented by youngsters and their families.


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Homeschooling Young Children


I’m interested in homeschooling my child(ren).….

How do I get started?

Reading and researching homeschooling (and the various methods) are available not only in books, but also on the Internet.  However, often there is so much information available, that sorting through it all can be quite overwhelming.  MDHSA’s senior members have compiled an informative booklet titled, “An Introduction to the Fine Art of Homeschooling,” which is available for purchase on this website.  This 63-page booklet contains topics that include making the decision to homeschool, methods and approaches to homeschooling, curriculum, record keeping, resources, and so much more.  “An Introduction to the Fine Art of Homeschooling” is useful to both “new” AND veteran homeschooler.

 How can I meet other homeschooling families?

MDHSA began as a Local Support Group for area families who were homeschooling their children, often “underground” before the PA Homeschool law was passed in 1988.  It has since grown to over 100 member families.

Currently, there is no single specific meeting or gathering of the MDHSA Membership for the sole purpose of socialization.  However, MDHSA offers other options for families to meet and get together with each other:

  •  Many member families interact with other area homeschoolers through attending one of the MDHSA sponsored Co-Ops.  (See the Local Support Group tab; MDHSA Co-Ops page for complete details).
  • Opportunities for get-togethers and field trips are offered throughout the year, and are featured in the MDHSA Newsletter, published 10 times per year.  The Newsletter also features independent classes from local instructors, information on local community events, and helpful articles from MDHSA Members.

Membership in the MDHSA Local Support Group is required to participate in Co-Op, receive the MDHSA Newsletter, or for participation in other MDHSA-sponsored events.  (See the Local Support Group tab; Membership Info page)

Can my child(ren) participate in extracurricular activities or band?

PA Homeschool law requires school districts to permit homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities (including band) for which the student otherwise meets the requirements.  There is no provision for this in the MD Homeschool law.

 My child is young – not yet “school age” – what can I do to begin “homeschooling” now?

Enjoy the early years!  While children are young, start doing fun and educational activities, encouraging their natural curiosity and development.  Daily activities, such as setting the table, sorting laundry and matching socks, colors and shapes at the store, songs, and reading are just a few ways in which you can “educate” your child daily.  (The list is truly endless!)


For answers to other specific questions not addressed on this website, please email mdhsaadmin@pa.net.

MDHSA does not discriminate against families on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin.

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