TN 1 (01-07)

PS 08005.022 Maine

A. PS 07-048 Maine Home School

DATE: January 12, 2007

1. SYLLABUS

Maine recognizes home schooling, and an individual who is taught in a home instruction program that meets Maine's statutory requirements is excused from attending public school.

A parent of a home-schooled student in Maine must, within 10 days of beginning home instruction for a student, file a notice of intent with both the local superintendent and the Commissioner of Education. The notice of intent must contain:

The name, signature, and address of the parent or guardian;

The name and age of the student;

The date home instruction did or will begin;

A statement assuring that instruction will be provided for at least 175 days annually and that the instruction will cover English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies in at least one grade between grades 6 and 12, and in one grade between grades 7 and 12, proficiency in the use of computers; and

A statement assuring that the parent will submit an annual assessment of the student's academic progress.

Each subsequent year the parent must submit a letter to both the local superintendent and the state commissioner of education enclosing a year-end assessment of the student's academic performance and stating whether the parent intends to continue the student's home instruction. The annual assessment of academic performance must be one of the following:

A standardized achievement test; or

A test developed by local school officials; or

Review and acceptance of the student's progress by an individual who holds a current Maine teacher's certificate; or

Review and acceptance of the student's progress based on a presentation of an educational portfolio of the student to a local home schooling support group whose membership includes a currently certified Maine teacher or administrator; or

Review and acceptance of the student's progress by a local advisory board selected by the local superintendent and composed of one school official and two home instruction tutors.

2. OPINION

You have requested our opinion as to whether a home school in Maine is an educational institution for the purposes of paying student benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. As discussed below, we believe that the student is in full-time attendance in a home school situation that meets all requirements of Maine law.

The materials you submitted indicate that Morgan W~, who will become 18 years of age on January 28, 2007, was approved for child's benefits effective August 2002. Ms. W~ and her mother, Frances W~ (the certifying official and instructor), completed a Student Statement Regarding School Attendance, Form SSA-1372, in December 2006. On that form, the student and her mother certified that Morgan was enrolled in home-school for 25 hours per week. They also reported that the current school year began August 28, 2006, and will end June 20, 2007, when Morgan is expected to graduate. The prior school year had extended from September 6, 2005 through June 14, 2006.

Also submitted was a Letter of Intent to home school signed by Frances W~ in August 2006 and submitted to both the local Superintendent of Schools and the Maine Department of Education. The letter states that Morgan's home instruction program would commence on September 9, 2006 and continue for a minimum of 175 days. The file also includes an assessment of the student's progress prepared on July 19, 2006 by Glenna P~, a teacher in Cornville, Maine, stating that Morgan fulfilled her 11th grade requirements in a home-school setting and recommending that she be promoted to the 12th grade.

In order to be eligible to continue to receive child's insurance benefits, an individual who is 18 years of age but has not attained age 19 must be a full-time elementary or secondary school student at an educational institution. Social Security Act § 202(d)(1)(B), 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B).

The Commissioner's regulation at 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1) provides that an individual is a full-time elementary or secondary student if she attends a school which provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which it is located. Participation in secondary education at home in accordance with a home school law of the state of residence meets the requirements of the regulation.

The Program Operations Manual System (POMS) provides that student benefits are payable if the following criteria are met:

(1) the student meets the federal standards for full-time attendance (FTA); (2) the law of the state in which the home school is located recognizes home schooling as an educational institution;

(3) the home school the student attends meets the requirements of the state law in which the home school is located; and

(4) the student meets all the other requirements for benefits.

POMS RS 00205.275.

To meet the federal standards for full-time attendance, a student must be:

(1) scheduled for secondary level school attendance at the rate of at least twenty hours per week;

(2) enrolled in a course that is not a correspondence course; and

(3) enrolled in a course of study that is at least thirteen weeks in duration