How to Start Homeschooling in New York State

Overview of the rules and regulations and common questions

How to Start Homeschooling in New York State

Homeschooling has become increasingly popular recently, especially in New York State. Unfortunately, the state has particular laws and regulations surrounding homeschooling, which can be daunting for families considering homeschooling for the first time. However, with the proper preparation, planning, and support, homeschooling can be a successful and fulfilling option for families in New York State.

Researching Homeschooling in New York State

Before starting the homeschooling process in New York State, it's essential to do your research. Many resources are available to homeschool parents, including local support groups and online communities.

The New York State Homeschooling Regulations website is an excellent resource for parents who are just starting out. The website provides detailed information on the legal requirements for homeschooling in New York State.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling in New York

Before diving into the specifics of homeschooling in New York State, it's essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this educational option. Homeschooling offers the flexibility to create a customized curriculum tailored to a child's needs and learning style. Homeschooled students can also learn at their own pace, leading to more tremendous academic success and a love of learning.

Homeschooling can also provide a safer and more nurturing learning environment, free from bullying and negative social pressures. Additionally, homeschooling allows for a stronger family bond as parents are heavily involved in their child's education and daily life.

However, homeschooling also has its disadvantages. Homeschooling can be a lot of work for parents, primarily if they work full-time or have multiple children. Homeschooled children may also have limited opportunities for socialization, which can be detrimental to their social and emotional development. Finally, homeschooling can be expensive, as families are responsible for purchasing their curriculum and materials.

Understanding Homeschooling Laws in New York State

In New York State, homeschooling is legal if parents follow specific guidelines and regulations. Homeschooling in New York State is governed by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Homeschool Regulation Act. This is documented under Section 100.10 of the NYS Commissioner of Education Regulations.

Under the law, parents must submit a written notice to their local district superintendent that includes the following:

  • Annual notice of intent (NOI) to homeschool to their local school district by July 1st or within 14 days of beginning homeschooling. The information must include the child's name, age, grade level, and a description of the proposed curriculum. Click here to view an example NOI.

  • Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) within four weeks of the start of homeschooling. The IHIP must outline the curriculum and materials used for the year and a plan for assessing the child's progress. Click here to view an example of iHIP.

  • Four quarterly reports during the school year that include your instruction dates. Click here to view an example Quarterly Report.

  • Annual assessment of their child's progress. The evaluation can be a standardized test or a written narrative. The specific requirement is dependent on grade level.

School districts are expected to push back and require specific forms or additional information beyond these regulations. However, you are not required to complete their particular forms or provide any additional information other than what is listed on the NYS Homeschool Regulations website.

Notes on Quarterly Reports

When completing the quarterly reports, I always use a few cheats. For example, I always take the total number of required hours of learning, divide it by four (one for each quarter), and put it at the top of each report. I do not microanalyzer hours of education - in reality, kids are learning all day long. It is impossible to track formal (following a math curriculum) and informal (going on a walk and discussing nature) learning hours.

I also do not provide grades. In all our subjects, we work towards mastery. So we always correct, revise, and redo until we have mastered a topic. Therefore, my kids always reach a "satisfactory" level. If we need high school transcripts, they will receive As in each subject, except for dual enrollment classes at the local community college, where they will be graded accordingly.

THIRD QUARTERLY REPORT

In your third quarterly report, you must indicate the annual assessment method you will use for your child. Again, the school district will be required to acknowledge your assessment choice and let you know if there are any concerns.

In grades x-x, you may alternate between a written narrative and a standardized test such as the California Achievement Test each year.

In grades x-x, you must complete an annual assessment each year.

Fourth Quarterly Report

Your fourth-quarter report will include the results of your annual assessment. Detailed results are not required, just the final composite score from the test.

Year End Assessment

New York homeschooling regulations and laws require the completion of a specific assessment; however, in my research, these assessments need more data that help diagnose or aid in the curriculum selection. I encourage the kids to do their best. Still, we complete them simply as a requirement and do not consider the results informative.

Common Questions on New York Homeschooling Laws

What are the required Subjects and curriculum for homeschooling in New York State? Do I have to follow my local school district's curriculum materials?

New York State requires that homeschooled children receive instruction in certain subjects, including English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. * Parents providing home instruction must also teach their children the New York State learning standards for these subjects.

However, homeschooling allows for flexibility in curriculum, and parents can choose curriculum materials that work best for their child's learning style and interests.

You do not have to follow your local district curriculum and plans. You can explore whatever subjects you want if you meet the New York State requirements. However, submit them on your individualized home instruction plan to ensure your home instruction program and curriculum selections meet the requirements.

Do parents have to be certified teachers to homeschool? Who completes evaluations and assessments for homeschooling in New York State?

Parents of homeschooled students must provide an annual assessment of their child's progress to their local school district. The evaluation can be a standardized test or a written narrative. Parents do not have to be certified teachers to homeschool their children.

How do you create a homeschool curriculum plan?

One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to create a customized curriculum that meets the needs and interests of your child. Parents should consider their child's learning style, interests, strengths, and weaknesses when creating a homeschool curriculum plan.

There are so many options available to you as a homeschooler. You can choose all-in-one curriculums that are entirely online, take classes from local teachers, and buy a curriculum for each subject. You can even make your own curriculum from books and movies at your local library. The sky is the limit! You can create and submit your selections via your individualized home instruction plan.

How do you plan a homeschool schedule and routine?

One of the keys to successful homeschooling is having a consistent schedule and routine. Parents should create a plan allowing enough time to cover all required subjects and any additional topics or activities their child is interested in.

Parents should also consider their child's natural rhythm and energy levels when creating their homeschool schedule.

We start later (10am) in our house and work about 3-4 hours a day. Fridays are more manageable workloads. We school almost year-round (usually only taking the month of June off entirely) with LOTS of time off throughout the year.

How do I enroll (or re-enroll) my child in homeschooling for this school year?

The first step to removing your child from their public or private school is to submit a letter of intent to your local school district. This can be completed anytime - in the middle of the summer or the middle of the school year. Once submitted, your school district will respond and request your individualized home instruction plan.

Can You Still Access Public School Facilities and Activities While Homeschooling in New York?

Accessing school facilities, services, clubs, sports teams, etc., is at the school district's discretion. New York State law does not mandate public schools to allow homeschooler participation. Therefore, my current school district does not allow homeschoolers to participate in school-sponsored club activities or sports teams.

What if I moved or no longer home school my children?

When you move, you must contact your new district superintendent to inform them of your intent to begin homeschooling (or if you are continuing to homeschool).

What proof is required for homeschooling in New York?

When your child reaches compulsory age, or you move to a new district, you may be asked for a residence certificate for your family.

What if I want to enroll my children back in public school?

If you decide to stop homeschooling and re-enroll in public school, you must contact your district office and re-enroll.

In 2021, one of my daughter's decided that she wanted to "try" school again. To do so, we had to resubmit proof of residency, physicals, etc., to re-enroll her. The process took about two weeks. She then returned to school for two weeks before deciding to continue homeschooling. I then resubmitted a new Notice of Intent to return to homeschooling.

New York Homeschool Graduation Requirements

Homeschooling high school students in New York is no more intimidating than other grade levels. If you follow the NYS requirements, you can issue your child a homeschool or high school diploma or request a high school equivalency diploma from your district superintendent. As long as you follow the curriculum plans on your individualized home instruction plan, you should not have an issue meeting the requirements to graduate your child.

Additionally, homeschooled students can dual enroll at a local community college, where they may complete both the high school education requirements and college classes and obtain a NYS High School Equivalency Diploma issued by the college.

Can homeschool graduates get into good colleges?

Homeschool graduates can apply and gain college admission just like any other student. However, college admissions counselors typically seek evidence that students can complete college-level coursework, such as a course transcript or SAT scores.

Homeschoolers without specific transcripts may be required to take additional tests to prove their readiness for college courses. Additionally, some schools offer homeschooled students special consideration when reviewing applications because they often excel academically and bring unique perspectives to their classes.

Finding Homeschool Community in New York

Finding a homeschool community in New York is easy. Many local homeschooling networks offer parents and students support and resources to help them navigate the process of homeschooling, including finding social events, academic resources, and more.

Additionally, many local libraries offer classes specifically for homeschoolers, allowing students to connect with one another and learn in a hands-on environment.

With so many opportunities to find a homeschool community, it's easy for New York homeschooling families to find the right fit for their needs.

What homeschool groups exist?

Homeschool coops are an excellent way for families to get involved in their local homeschooling community. These groups typically consist of several families meeting regularly and sharing resources, teaching, and activities. Coops are often organized around topics or age groups, providing an excellent opportunity for parents and students to collaborate on projects or socialize with their peers. Additionally, coops can be a great source of support for those who need them, as they offer the chance to connect with like-minded people.

Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in New York?

New York homeschooling requirements mandate standardized tests. The good news is that the parent or guardian can issue these tests home. Standard tests include the Iowa Basics Skills Test and the California Achievement Test.

Can I get money from the state for homeschooling in New York?

Unfortunately, homeschooled students are not eligible for money or grants from New York. As a homeschooling family, you are expected to fund your homeschooling resources.

The good news? There are many free and low-cost resources for homeschooling available online as well as at your local library. Homeschooling is available for all budgets.

Do I have to pay school taxes if I homeschool?

Yes, homeschool families in New York must still pay their local district school taxes. The state does not officially recognize homeschooling, meaning parents and guardians are responsible for educating their children and paying the associated fees.

Am I qualified to teach my child?

Parents are usually well-equipped to homeschool their children because they are passionate about their children's future and want to ensure they receive the best possible education. You do not have to be a certified teacher or have teaching experience. Parents often have unique insight into their child's strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles that can help tailor a homeschooling experience just for them.

Furthermore, many parents already have a wealth of knowledge on different academic subjects from years of participating in the educational field or having professional experiences related to the subject material. This allows parents to create an individualized learning curriculum based on what works best for their child's education.

New York Homeschooling

Homeschooling in New York State can be a challenging but rewarding experience for families willing to put in the time and effort to create a thriving homeschooling environment. With a solid understanding of the legal requirements and a well-planned curriculum and schedule, parents can provide their children with a high-quality education that meets their needs and interests.

While homeschooling can come with its own challenges, many resources and support networks are available to help families navigate the homeschooling process. By staying organized, staying motivated, and taking advantage of available resources, parents can create a successful and fulfilling homeschooling experience for their children.

Join the conversation

or to participate.