Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the New York Department of Education website for updates.
Are you considering homeschooling in New York? If so, you will want to start your journey by understanding New York state homeschool laws. How do you notify school districts that you want to begin homeschooling? What documentation is required throughout the year? Do you have to complete standardized testing? As you will quickly realize, New York homeschool laws provide stricter guidelines than many other states, and the amount of information may be overwhelming, but we can help!
New York Homeschool Law
Parents’ legal right to provide home instruction to their children is captured in New York Education Law section 3212 (2). Specifically, legal requirements for homeschooling in New York are found within the Part 100 Commissioner’s Regulations, Section 10.
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
Although there are no degree requirements for parents, New York requires that parents be “competent” in order to homeschool in the state.
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
In New York, switching from public school to homeschool requires that paperwork be filed in a timely manner. Even parents who have homeschooled the previous year must submit the following documents annually:
- Letter of Intent: By July 1 or within 14 days of starting home instruction, parents must submit a Letter of Intent to the school district in which they live. Upon receiving the Letter of Intent, the school district must respond within 10 days and provide two documents: 1) the Commissioner’s Regulations 100.10 and 2) a blank template for an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP).
- Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): By August 15 or within 4 weeks of receiving the school district response to the submitted Letter of Intent, whichever is later, parents must submit a completed IHIP for each child that will be homeschooled. Each child’s IHIP must include a list of syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks, or plans for instruction for each of the required subjects (listed below), as well as dates for submission of quarterly reports, among other required information. Upon receiving the IHIP, the school superintendent must review the IHIP and respond with a letter stating whether compliance has been achieved. This must be done by August 31 or within ten days of receiving the IHIP, whichever is later.
If a letter of non-compliance is received by the school district, parents must submit a revised IHIP within 15 days or by September 15, whichever is later. School districts then have until September 30, or 15 days following receipt of the revised IHIP, to review and notify parents of the compliance of the revised IHIP.
New York Homeschool Requirements
What are the requirements for homeschooling in New York? When compared with other states, New York has a significant number of requirements. For example, New York specifies that students be homeschooled for a minimum of 180 days (5 hours a day, for a total of 900 hours for grades 1-6 and 990 hours for grades 7-12) within a school year spanning from July 1 to June 30.
According to New York’s homeschool law (CR 100.10), homeschoolers also have to follow specific requirements for curriculum (with 1 unit equal to 108 hours):
- Elementary School (grades 1-6): “arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the English language, geography, United States history, science, health education, music, visual arts, physical education, bilingual education and/or English as a second language where the need is indicated.”
- Middle School (grades 7-8): “English (two units); history and geography (two units); science (two units); mathematics (two units); physical education (on a regular basis); health education (on a regular basis); art (one-half unit); music (one-half unit); practical arts (on a regular basis); and library skills (on a regular basis). The units required herein are cumulative requirements for both grades seven and eight.”
- High School (grades 9-12): “English (four units); social studies (four units), which includes one unit of American history, one-half unit in participation in government, and one- half unit of economics; mathematics (two units); science (two units); art and/or music (one unit); health education (one-half unit); physical education (two units); and three units of electives. The units required herein are cumulative requirements for grades 9 through 12.”
In addition, United States history, New York history, and the Constitutions of the United States and New York State must be taught at least once during the first eight grades, and the following subjects must be covered during grades K-12: patriotism and citizenship; health education regarding alcohol, drug, and tobacco misuse; highway safety and traffic regulations, including bike safety; and fire and arson prevention and safety.
To provide evidence of compliance with New York State homeschool regulations, paperwork must be filed throughout the school year according to dates specified on the IHIP:
- Quarterly Reports: Each quarter, parents must submit a report showing attendance and academic progress by subject area. Reports must include the number of instructional hours for that quarter, a description of material covered per subject, a grade or narrative of progress per subject, and an explanation in the event less than 80% of planned material was covered in any subject.
- Annual Assessment: By submission of the third quarterly report, parents must determine the annual assessment that will be administered. Results of the annual assessment are then submitted with the fourth quarterly report. In addition to statewide tests, New York State has determined a list of approved annual assessments for homeschooled students. Alternate evaluation methods are also available for students in grades 1-3 and every other year for students in grades 4-8.
If a homeschooled student’s progress is deemed inadequate by the school district, the homeschool program will be placed on probation.
Other New York Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following New York homeschool law and meeting New York homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
What happens if you find yourself enrolling in public school after homeschooling in New York? Homeschooled students can return to public school at any time, but you will need to register and communicate with your public school. Knowing how to transfer from homeschool to public school in New York can reduce the possibility of misunderstandings between you and the district.
If you do not know how to enroll a homeschooled child in public school in New York, you may find the process of determining grade levels and credits to be confusing. You will need to provide records of your child’s progress and current levels, and the school principal will determine a grade level based on those records. Homeschooled students entering public school may also have to take placement assessments so that the school district can determine appropriate coursework levels and award any credit.
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
Homeschooled students in New York State do not receive a graduation diploma. Parents will want to check with postsecondary institutions, employers, and the military to find out admission/eligibility requirements for their homeschooled children.
You can find more information on homeschooling in New York on the New York State Education Department’s Home Instruction, Key Laws and Regulations Relating to Home Instruction, and Home Instruction Questions and Answers pages.
Connect With Local Homeschoolers
Luckily, there have been many who have walked the path before you. Take advantage of the opportunity to network with local homeschoolers, and you will learn quickly how to navigate New York homeschool regulations. Experienced New York homeschoolers can not only share their personal experiences with how to legally homeschool in New York, they can also offer practical advice on the day-to-day details of homeschooling.