If you’re living in New York and are looking for an alternative to public or private school education, you’re in luck. The state allows you to homeschool, as long as you follow some rules and requirements.
During the 2021-2022 school year, just under 55,000 students homeschooled in the state of New York. That represents an increase of 65 percent since the 2019-2020 school year, when just over 33,000 students homeschooled in the state.
Interested in joining the fast-growing ranks of homeschoolers in New York? Read on for some important rules and information necessary for homeschooling in New York!
Homeschooling Options in New York
To homeschool in New York, just follow the steps below.
New York State Homeschool Law Summary
1. Submit a notice of intent to homeschool to the district superintendent by July 1 (the beginning of the school year) annually, or within 14 days of establishing your new homeschool program during the school year. For families living in New York City (within Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island), this notice, and all homeschooling correspondence, should instead be submitted to the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Home Schooling.
Submit your notice of intent via email to [email protected] (for submission of letters of intent to homeschool only). Email all other paperwork may to [email protected] (for general inquiries and document submission).
2. Submit an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) each year by August 15 or within four weeks of the receipt of the IHIP form from the school district (whichever is later). The IHIP form requires you to submit:
- Your child’s name, age, and grade level
- A list of your syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks, or plan of instruction
- Dates for submission of quarterly reports
- Name of whomever is providing instruction
3. Comply with day, hour, and subject requirements. Also, maintain records of attendance each year to demonstrate that your child’s attendance meets the “substantial equivalent” of 180 days per year. Attendance records only require submission to the school district upon request of the superintendent. Homeschooled students are also required to meet hourly attendance requirements: 900 hours of school per year in grades 1-6, and 990 hours of school per year in grades 7-12.
4. Once per quarter, parents should submit a report to their superintendent that includes:
- Total number of hours of instruction provided during the quarter being referenced
- Description of material covered in each subject area
- Grade or written evaluation in each subject area
- The fourth quarter report should also include an annual assessment or a written narrative, which can be in the form of a homemade report card signed by the parent or instructor, stating that the child has met their educational goals for the school year.
5. Beginning in 4th grade, students must take a nationally approved achievement every other year as a year-end assessment. This achievement test is required every year from 9th to 12th grade. Approved tests include the California Achievement Test, the Iowa Basics Skills Test, the PASS test, and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.
6. New York is one of just a few states that requires homeschool graduates to provide proof of high school graduation. Most colleges in the country accept a homeschool diploma; unfortunately, New York colleges and universities don’t. There are ways around this, however, if your student chooses to attend a state school:
- Request a letter from the local district superintendent stating your child has received the substantial equivalent of a high school education (“Letter of Substantial Equivalency”).
- Obtain a high school equivalency diploma (TASC, formerly known as GED)
- Take a specific sequence of 24 credit classes at a community college
New York homeschool law also requires that all high school homeschoolers take specific courses to complete their education.
- 4 units of high school English instruction
- 4 units of high school social studies instruction, including 1 unit of American history, ½ unit of government and ½ unit of economics
- 2 units of high school science instruction
- 1 unit of art and/or music instruction
- ½ unit of health education instruction
- 2 units of physical education instruction
- 3 units of high school electives
Can You Still Access Public School Facilities and Activities While Homeschooling in New York?
According to the New York State Education Department, interscholastic sports participation requires student enrollment in a public school. Unfortunately, this disqualifies homeschooled students from joining a public school sports team or participating in intramural sports.
Homeschooled students may participate in school-sponsored club activities, however. It’s best to check with your local school district’s board of education to clarify their position on the matter. Homeschooled students may also participate in school band or receive music lessons…if the school district considers these to be extracurricular activities. Again, contact your local board of education to learn more.
Students educated at home are allowed to use public school facilities, such as the library and gym, as long as a mutual agreement between the school district and the homeschooling family is in place. But public schools in New York are under no obligation to allow students to borrow books or materials from the library.
For more information about homeschooling in New York, visit the New York State Education Department’s website.
Is It Necessary to Keep Records?
New York does not require homeschooling families to maintain records, but it’s smart to keep a portfolio of assignments, evaluations, and projects. You should also maintain a folder of all relevant homeschooling forms, communication between you and the state or the local superintendent, and grades/transcripts to prepare for college applications or the event the state asks you to produce certain records or documents.
And there you have it! Homeschooling in New York is legal and growing in popularity. If you’re planning on homeschooling in the Empire State, now is a great time to start! As you continue to research homeschooling, call the experts at Bridgeway Academy at (800) 863-1474 to discuss your options, learn about our award-winning programs and curriculum, and enroll!