New York Homeschool Laws
We know that beginning to educate your own children can create feelings of anxiety, especially if not everyone you’ve told about your decision is supportive. The surest way to begin feeling confident in your choice, though, is to understand exactly what is required of you from a legal perspective and assure yourself that you are following your state’s individual guidelines. Although homeschooling is certainly legal in all fifty states, every state has a different approach to how they regulate it.
Once you know what’s expected of you in terms of how the state determines whether you are qualified to homeschool your child, whom you need to notify of your decision, what records you need to keep, and whether or not your state requires any formal assessments, you’ll be well on your way to becoming more relaxed about your new adventure. Read on to discover what you need to know about New York state homeschool regulations.
- Requirements for Homeschooling in NYS
- Your Notice of Intention
- Homeschool Recordkeeping in New York
- New York Homeschool Graduation Requirements
- Returning to Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in New York
*This should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
Requirements for Homeschooling in NYS
Although New York state law does not require teaching credentials for parents providing home instruction, the key requirements to follow include:
- File a notice of intent to homeschool within 14 days of beginning, and every year thereafter.
- Provide an Individualized Home Instruction plan to the District Superintendent.
- Note the subjects required to be taught at specific grade levels.
- Maintain attendance records.
- Complete 900 hours of school instruction per year in grades 1-6, and 990 hours for grades 7-12.
- Submit your quarterly informational reports to the District Superintendent.
- Submit an annual assessment with your final quarterly report, which includes a norm-referenced achievement test or written evaluation, depending on grade level.
NYS has very specific requirements to homeschool your child in the state. The regulations listed here are a summary to help parents get started. Check out the NY Department of Education’s website for the latest information on staying compliant.
New York’s Required Notice of Intention
One of the first things parents need to know, of course, is how to get started, whether their student will begin homeschooling in kindergarten or will be switching from public school to homeschool. New York requires that families file a notice of intention to begin homeschooling.
You may begin at any time in the year, although your letter of intent needs to be filed within 14 days of beginning homeschooling or moving into a specific school district in New York. To continue homeschooling in subsequent years, you will need to resend your letter of intent by no later than July 1 of that year. For the purposes of New York homeschooling, a “letter of intent” is simply a written notice to your district superintendent of your intent to instruct your child’s education at home.
Homeschool Recordkeeping in New York
Within 10 business days of receiving your letter of intent, your superintendent’s office should respond with a copy of the Commissioner’s Regulations and a form for the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP). This form is completed by the parent and returned within four weeks of receipt (or by August 15 of subsequent homeschool years.) The IHIP that you submit will include your syllabus of textbooks or materials you will use or a plan of instruction, a list of dates when you agree to send the quarterly informational reports required by your local school district, and the name(s) of anyone who will be providing instruction to your student(s). For the syllabus requirement, some families using Time4Learning have submitted their grade level scope and sequence for subjects they are using our curriculum for.
Although New York does not make keeping a portfolio one of the requirements for homeschooling, you may discover that you appreciate having a physical example of your child’s homeschool progress. To find out more about homeschool portfolios and what you might want to include in them, visit our homeschool portfolio evaluations page.
Once per quarter, parents will also submit to their superintendent a report that includes:
- total hours of instruction provided during the quarter being referenced
- a description of material covered in each subject area
- a grade or written evaluation in each subject area
Examples of New York IHIP submissions and quarterly reports can be found in various places online. You may want to preview some of these before creating your own.
Homeschool Evaluations and Testing in New York
When you are filing your fourth quarter report for the year, you will also need to include an annual assessment or written narrative. This can consist of a parent-made report card for the student signed by the parent or instructor stating that the student has met their educational goals for the year. Depending on the school district, a certified teacher or peer review committee may be required to sign off on the end of year assessment.
Starting in fourth grade, a nationally approved achievement test is required every other year to serve as the year-end assessment. From 9th to 12th grade, this achievement test is required every year. Examples of approved tests include the Iowa Basics Skills Test, the California Achievement Test, the PASS test, and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. Visit our New York State Standardized Test Prep page for more information on preparing for your achievement testing.
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New York Homeschool Graduation Requirements
New York is one of only a handful of states that require homeschool graduates to provide proof that they have completed their high school education. While most colleges in the U.S. will accept a diploma provided by a homeschool, New York colleges and universities will not. The most popular ways that homeschool students wishing to enter a state college show their eligibility are:
- by requesting a letter from the local district superintendent stating they have received the substantial equivalent of a high school education. (called a “Letter of Substantial Equivalency”)
- by obtaining a high school equivalency diploma known as the “TASC”™
- by taking a specific sequence of 24 credit classes at a community college
New York homeschool law also requires that all homeschooling high school students take specific courses to complete their education. These courses include:
- 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
Parents of homeschoolers should keep accurate records of all coursework taken throughout the high school career. This will help you as you create your student’s high school transcript.
Returning to Public School after Homeschooling
If your homeschooling adventure comes to an end for any reason, you will need to know how to transfer from homeschool to public school. The first thing to do is to register with the public school your child will be attending. You may provide any records you wish to the school to help them better understand what level your child is working at, but ultimately it is the school principal who will determine what grade level to place your child into when he or she returns. It is also up to the individual schools to determine if your assessments and standardized tests are acceptable or if they will require your child to take additional placement testing upon registration.