Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the New Mexico Public Education Department website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in New Mexico? You may have many questions about topics like what you need to do to begin, what recordkeeping and testing is required, and how you need to interact with your local school district. You will want to start by understanding New Mexico homeschool law. You may feel overwhelmed as you start this process, but there are resources available and other homeschoolers who have already succeeded on this adventure!
Here is some information on New Mexico homeschool requirements to get you started:
New Mexico Homeschool Law
According to New Mexico Statute 22-12-2, “Except as otherwise provided, a school-age person shall attend public school, private school, home school or a state institution until the school-age person is at least eighteen years of age unless that person has graduated from high school or received a general educational development certificate. A parent may give written, signed permission for the school-age person to leave school in case of hardship approved by the local superintendent.” A school-age person is defined as anyone aged five to eighteen.
“Parents who elect to home school their children are solely responsible for choosing appropriate, grade-level curriculum in all required subjects. The schools and NMPED are not able to recommend or endorse specific programs or provide materials and services.” You do not need to submit curricula or lesson plans to the state, and the curriculum does not need to be approved by the school or NMPED” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
Note that “NMPED has the duty to enforce legal requirements of home schools, and upon finding that a home school is not in compliance with the law, can order a student of such a school to transfer to a public or private school” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
“All instruction in the student’s home study program of instruction must be provided by a person possessing at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. (Section 22-1-2.1(C) NMSA 1978)” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
“New Mexico state law requires the home school operator to be the parent or legal guardian. Someone else may provide instruction in a given subject, but the parent or guardian is still considered the operator of the home school, and is responsible for notification, record keeping, and for ensuring that the person providing instruction has at least a high school diploma or GED” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! “Parents/legal guardians must notify the state of the establishment of a home school within thirty (30) days of withdrawal from public/private school and re-notify the state on or before August 1st of each year thereafter. Notification must also be made when a student moves or enrolls in a public or private school. This can be done via the NMPED Home School System.
“The NMPED Home School System is the online database where families can notify the NMPED of the enrollment and disenrollment of children in homeschooling. Parents create an account and log in to provide annual notification to NMPED, update contact details, change geographic school district (if moved), provide enrollment/disenrollment information, and print an official verification of enrollment. This online registration replaces the Letter of Intent to the Secretary of Public Education.
“Home school families who elect not to use a computer or mobile device to provide notification via the online database may print, sign, and mail in a hard copy to PED, ATTN: HOME SCHOOL, 300 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM, 87501. NMPED staff will enter the data into the database. Parents are advised to mail the form via Certified Return Receipt or other delivery verification for their records” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
As a homeschooler, you may have some options. “Participating part-time in courses at the local school is at the discretion of the district. If the district has a policy that allows home school students to participate, your child would need to enroll with his/her/their assigned STARS ID – and would likely be considered a part-time student, funded by the state proportionately” (New Mexico Public Education Department). You may also ask to borrow books from your local public school, but the school is not obligated to grant your request.
Another part-time option is the New Mexico Virtual Course Consortium.
Note that you do not have to register for home school if your child is attending an online accredited school like Connections Academy, New Mexico Connections Academy, eAcademy, or Rio Rancho Cyber Academy.
New Mexico Homeschool Requirements
Even though New Mexico does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some New Mexico homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 5.
- “Notify the department within thirty days of the establishment of the home school using the form provided by the department (Section 22-1-2.1(A) NMSA 1978)” […] “on or before August 1 of each subsequent year of operation of the home school (Section 22-1-2.1(A) NMSA 1978).”
- Teach the required subjects of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science (Section 22-1-2(E) NMSA 1978). You may review the New Mexico content standards for public schools here.
- Provide instruction for 180 days per school year or “at least the length of time of the school year that is established in the local school district” (Section 22-12-2 (B)NMSA 1978).
- Provide homeschool instruction (or other schooling) “until the student is at least eighteen years of age, has graduated from high school, or has received a high school equivalency credential (Section 22-12-2(A) NMSA 1978 and Section 126.96.36.199(A) NMAC).”
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
“Students who are home schooled are not required to participate in the state-mandated assessments. You may ask your local school district if your child can participate, but the district may refuse” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
New Mexico has minimal requirements for recordkeeping. “A homeschool parent is required to either maintain records of student disease immunization or a waiver of that requirement (Section 22-1-.12(B) NMSA 1978)” (New Mexico Public Education Department). A homeschool parent is also required to keep a copy of the instructor’s diploma or degree to affirm that the person instructing the child has at least a high school diploma or GED.
In addition to the required recordkeeping, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:
- Attendance (also suggested by the New Mexico Public Education Department)
- Immunization records, required
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on New Mexico homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other New Mexico Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following New Mexico homeschool law and meeting New Mexico homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school?
“The local public school district is required to allow home school students to participate in sports and extracurricular activities if they meet certain requirements. […] For sports and extracurricular activities, please contact the New Mexico Activities Association at 505-821-1887” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
“If you decide to stop homeschooling, please dis-enroll by logging into your NMPED Home School System account (from the Parent menu, select Disenroll) and then complete registration at the public/private school. The school should ask for evidence of home schooling. You can print a letter of verification by going to the Parent menu and selecting ‘view/print enrollments’.
- For elementary and middle school students, the school/district may ask for evidence of attendance, immunization records, and material covered, so keep good records. Your child will likely be placed with their age-appropriate peers.
- For high school students, it is a bit more complicated. Please contact the local school district, as it is their responsibility to determine and assign credit. If you are paying for an accredited program, you should confirm that your child(ren) will be provided an official transcript with grades and credits earned. Please check with the district to be sure that those grades will be accepted. The school may have other requirements for students to demonstrate competency in order to receive course credit and meet graduation requirements.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
According to the New Mexico Public Education Department, “A student who is home schooled may graduate in one of the following ways:
- New Mexico Diploma.
- Transfer back to public school prior to graduation and complete the state’s graduation requirements for a New Mexico high school diploma. Please keep in mind that state law provides that for purposes of transferring to a public school, acceptance of credits earned through home study courses is determined by the policy of the local school board or the governing council of a charter school. In other words, your child may be required to demonstrate competency via other methods, such as assessments; OR
- Starting at age 16, the student may take the test to earn his/her/their GED. For more information on the GED Testing Program, please go to: http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/GED_index.html
- Non-New Mexico Diploma/High School Equivalence Certificate.
- Graduation by the parent/legal guardian; OR
- Graduation through a correspondence course, a distance learning school, or home school program purchased by the parent. Depending upon whether or not the school/program is accredited, this type of diploma may not be recognized by a postsecondary institution, so examine this option carefully. As with purchasing any type of goods or services, consumers need to make informed choices. You may wish to check the Better Business Bureau for the state in which the business/school operates.”
“A new law passed by the New Mexico Legislature in 2021 makes the lottery scholarship available to home schooled students. For more information, please see https://hed.state.nm.us/financial-aid/scholarships/legislative-lottery” (New Mexico Public Education Department).
See the Home Schooling and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pages on the New Mexico Public Education Department’s website for even more information on homeschooling in New Mexico. You may also contact the Options for Parents and Families Division at [email protected].
Connect With Local Homeschoolers
Remember, too, that you are not alone. You should connect with local homeschoolers from your state, who can help you with New Mexico homeschool law and New Mexico homeschool requirements and offer you all kinds of practical advice and suggestions. They can give you guidance on everything from curriculum to daily schedules to recordkeeping, and they may be able to share information about local resources, support groups, and field trips. Click the image below to find New Mexico Homeschool Groups by county.