How to Homeschool in New York

While New York is considered a heavily regulated state when it comes to homeschooling, don't let that dissuade you. If you believe homeschooling is the right option for your family and you are ready to dive in, then this article can help! Read on for the following:

  • An overview of New York homeschool laws,
  • An introduction to homeschool groups in New York, and a
  • Description of how Moving Beyond the Page can help you get started.
* This page does not contain legal advice and is not an endorsement of any homeschool groups listed. (see disclaimer)

New York Homeschool Laws

When homeschooling in New York state, there are two very important documents you need to know about: the letter of intent (LOI) and the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP). These documents should be submitted at the beginning of every school year to the district superintendent for each child who will be homeschooled. The timeline for submitting these documents can be found below:

  • Submit the LOI by July 1 (or within 14 days of beginning instruction if instruction begins during the academic year).
  • Within 10 days of receiving the LOI, the district will send an IHIP form for parents to complete.
  • Parents then have 4 weeks to complete and submit the IHIP using the district's form or their own form.
  • Within 10 business days or by August 31, the district will notify parents if the IHIP complies with all requirements.
Read the descriptions below to ensure your documents meet all the requirements.

Letter of Intent
This letter is very simply an official declaration of your intention to homeschool your child. It should include your name, contact information, and the name of the child or children you intend to homeschool.

Individualized Home Instruction Plan
This document is more involved than the letter of intent and ensures that you will be meeting the educational needs of your child as outlined by New York state law. While the district will send you a specific form for your IHIP, know that you are not required to use this form. Just ensure that your completed IHIP contains all of the following:

  • Name, age, grade level of homeschooled child/children
  • List of syllabi, curriculum materials, and plan of instruction
  • Dates for submission of quarterly reports and final assessment (explained later in this article)
  • Name(s) of individual(s) providing instruction
  • A statement that your child(ren) will be receiving a full-time instructional program
Instructional Requirements by Grade Level
Required subjects for grades 1-6:
  • Arithmetic
  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Writing
  • 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
Required subjects for grades 7-8 (cumulative):
  • 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)
  • Library skills (on a regular basis)
Required courses for grades 1-8 (to be taught at least once during this period):
  • United States history
  • New York State history
  • Constitutions of the United States and New York State
Required subjects for grades 9-12 (cumulative):
  • 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 economics
  • Mathematics (two units)
  • Science (two units)
  • Art and/or music (one unit)
  • Health education (one-half unit)
  • Physical education (two units)
  • 3 units of electives
Required subjects for grades K-12:
  • Patriotism and citizenship
  • Health education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse
  • Highway safety and traffic regulation, including bicycle safety
  • Fire and arson prevention and safety
There should be 180 days of instruction in your school's calendar, and you should maintain records of your student's attendance. At the end of the school year, your child will also be required to participate in a standardized assessment. You have some choice about this assessment, as detailed below.

Quarterly Reports
On or before the dates specified on your IHIP, you must send quarterly reports to your district's superintendant. These reports should include:

  • Number of hours of instruction
  • Description of the material covered in each subject listed in the IHIP
  • A grade for the child in each subject or a written narrative evaluating the child's progress
  • If less than eighty percent of the amount of the course materials as set forth in the IHIP planned for that quarter has been covered in any subject, a written explanation should be provided
Year-End Assessment
The final requirement you must meet is the annual assessment. Every year, your student must either take a standardized, norm-referenced assessment or meet one of the following alternatives:

  • Grades 1-3: A written narrative provided by a certified teacher or homeschool review panel
  • Grades 4-8: A written narrative provided by a certified teacher or homeschool review panel (this alternative may only be used every other year during grades 4-8)
The certified teacher or review panel will then determine whether or not the child is making adequate yearly progress and report their findings in writing to the district's superintendent.

Homeschool Groups in New York

Homeschooling your children is a daunting task, but there are many groups and organizations in New York to help you out. Here are some organizations you may want to look into.

New York State Loving Education at Home (LEAH)
This statewide organization provides a wide range of resources including legal information, conferences, and a quarterly magazine.
This group is based in the five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island). It focuses on activities and outings primarily for middle school aged students and, in addition, provide support and information for all families planning to homeschool. *Note: you will have to sign in with a free Yahoo account to join this group.
Association of Home Educators Advancing Dreams (AHEAD)
This group is a teen-based group that provides homeschool support and activities throughout the five boroughs and Long Island. *Note: you will have to sign in with a free Yahoo account to join this group.
Central New York Home-Schooling E-Network (CNYHSEN)
This e-network provides forums, support, encouragement and resources for homeschooling families in Central New York. *Note: you will have to sign in with a free Yahoo account to join this group.
CNY Homeschoolers United
This group, based in Central New York, provides activities, workshops, and classes ranging from bowling to science fairs.
Home Learners Association of Central New York (HLACNY)
This organization provides several unique opportunities including an Academy that meets on Tuesdays and co-op classes on Friday mornings. These can provide a great supplement to your homeschool education program. In addition, the group organizes park days and other social events for families in Central New York.
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NOTE: You can find a wealth of local and state groups offering homeschooling advice and support on sites such as Facebook and Yahoo Groups. You can search by city or county, religious preference, homeschooling philosophy, and more. You will need a free account on these sites to join one of their groups.

A Homeschool Curriculum for New York

Moving Beyond the Page is a homeschool curriculum that exceeds the requirements for homeschooling in the state of New York. All of the Moving Beyond the Page packages cover science, social studies, and language arts, and we offer a range of math programs as well. The New York legal requirements are only a starting point, and our curriculum utilizes a range of educational strategies that are designed to foster a love of learning in children including:

  • Hands-on activities,
  • Differentiated options, and
  • Independent projects.

Moving Beyond the Page encourages critical thinking and creativity while encouraging your child's unique learning style like no other curriculum on the market. If your child is a hands-on learner, a gifted learner, or a creative free-thinker, then you should look into Moving Beyond the Page for your child.

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Any information about the laws in your state is provided to help you understand your legal requirements to homeschool in your state. It should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. This information was not compiled by a lawyer. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under. If you have questions, you should seek the advice of a lawyer that operates in your state.

Moving Beyond the Page does not endorse any of the homeschool groups that are included in these pages. They are provided only for your benefit. You should research any group to ensure that they align with your family's goals and philosophies.