Homeschooling in New York, by Angela

 

 

Homeschooling in New York State has a formidable reputation. The homeschool regulations here are among the toughest in the US, and many new homeschoolers or those new to New York are nervous about them. I’m one of those new homeschoolers — my oldest child turned 6 in May — and yes, I’m a bit nervous (or perhaps terrified)! Many of my friends have done this before, so I have lots of support from moms (and dads) who claim the regulations are very manageable.

Here’s the basic rundown of what is required to start homeschooling in NY state. The actual legal wording and a great FAQ are located here.

  • Parents must submit homeschool paperwork for the year if the child will be older than six years old by December of the school year. These are the children who are considered first graders in the school system.
  • By July 1, parents must send an “intent to homeschool” letter to the superintendent of their local school. (Or within 14 days after you pull your child out of school, if you start mid-year.)
  • Within ten business days, the school district must send you a copy of the regulations and a form to write out your Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP).
  • Then the parents have four weeks or until August 15 (whichever is later) to fill out the IHIP and send it back.
  • The school then must accept the IHIP or notify the parent of a problem within ten business days or by August 31 (again, whichever is later).
  • Assuming the IHIP is approved, the parent must submit a quarterly report on student progress at four evenly-spaced intervals of their own choosing through the year.
  • At the end of the year, the parent must have the child’s progress assessed.

Whew! That feels like a lot to me, but I’m going to take it one step at a time. Right now I’m sending in my letter to the superintendent. It is VERY basic, and looks like this:

Superintendent’s Name,

We are sending this letter of intent as required of Section 100.10 of the Regulations of New York State Commissioner of Education.

We intend to homeschool our daughter, Child’s Name (DOB 00/00/0000), who will be entering grade K, for the 2014-2015 school year.

Sincerely,

Parents’ Names

Okay. Not bad, so far.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll get my IHIP. On the IHIP I will need to list a grade for the student. My daughter is six years old and doing first grade material, but I will list her as a kindergartener. The regulations say specifically that the child’s grade does not have to match their age. The required subjects for kindergarten are quite minimal (moreso than first grade) and with kindergarten and first grade becoming more unreasonably rigorous, and children’s development at these ages so asynchronous, I feel that it is best to give her that extra year. Since we tailor her schoolwork to where she is academically, she can move at her own pace. If needed, I can “skip” her ahead in a few years when it is clearer what her needs are.

I must list what we will do for each state-mandated subject. NY only requires these subjects in K:

(a) Patriotism and citizenship

            (b) health education regarding alcohol, drug, and tobacco misuse;

            (c) highway safety and traffic regulation, including bicycle safety; and

            (d) fire and arson prevention and safety.

After I file my IHIP and it is accepted, I will need to file four quarterly reports detailing how much we have covered, how well she did in each subject, and how many hours of “school” we did over that quarter.

Then, at the end of the year, we will need to submit an assessment. One method of assessment is standardized testing, but this is not required for children in grades K-3. The alternative is an assessment written by a “qualified individual” who is agreed upon between me and the school district. This sounds intimidating, but everyone I know has been allowed to assess their own child, so hopefully it won’t be too bad!

Angela is raising a daughter and twin sons in a tiny city in Central New York.  She and her wife, Kelly, hope to travel more when the children are a bit older. She enjoys gardening, furniture refinishing, and making miles upon miles of lists.

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Seen Around the Web: Homeschooling in Highly Regulated States


Megan has compiled a list of links to begin your research on homeschooling laws in your state, and Cheryl has shared her best advice for recordkeeping in a minimally-reporting state. The editors at StS decided we should also offer some record-keeping insight for those living in more stringent states, but most of our team do not live in those areas of the country so we can’t write authoritatively about them. Our solution is to bring you the best from-the-horse’s-mouth information we can find online, shared by generous homeschool bloggers who live under more regulation than the rest of us. We hope you will enjoy this little Blog Hop! We are delighted to meet these bloggers, journalists, and organizations, and we thank them for sharing their skill and knowledge with us all.

Florida

Getting Started and FAQ’s by Homeschool in Florida

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio by Parkridge Church Homeschoolers

Requirements by Florida Parent-Educators Association (FPEA)

Vitarete Academy is a new homeschooling umbrella organization that is registered as a private school in the state of Florida

Maryland

Preparing a Maryland Homeschool Portfolio by Tinderbox

Getting Started Homeschooling by the Maryland Homeschool Association

Homeschooling in Maryland by The Homeschool Mom

Pennsylvania

Start with the Homeschool Forms page, but then read everything at Ask Pauline!

Affadavits, Objectives, and Samples, Oh, My! by StS contributor Nance at HOME’S COOL

New York

Homeschooler by The Journey Mom

Homeschooling: Homemade Education by Sarah Berson for METRO FOCUS at thirteen.org

New York State Homeschooling Regulations Simplified by New York Adventures in Homeschooling

Homeschooling in New York by Angela for Sandbox to Socrates

North Dakota

North Dakota Homeschool Association at www.homeschool-life.com

Homeschooling in North Dakota by The Homeschool Mom

 

 

Homeschooling is Legal in All 50 States, by Megan

 

 

Yes! Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.  

Here is a list of websites to help in your search for the laws and requirements of your state.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

When possible, I have listed the state’s Department of Education website for information. If that information was unavailable or too full of legal jargon, I have linked to a homeschool organization in that state. For example, Utah recently changed its laws regarding homeschooling, but its DOE website hasn’t been updated to reflect the new requirements. For this reason, I linked to a Utah homeschooling organization which summarizes the changes. If any of other state websites have outdated information, please let us know in the comments. We’d be happy to find the updated laws and keep our readers up to speed.

 

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware – Look under sections 2703-2704 for homeschool requirements.

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan 

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

I often hear that people are afraid to homeschool in NY or PA because of all the regulations. My friend Pauline has a wonderful website that’s a huge help to homeschoolers in PA. Someone, please create a similar resource for NY!  🙂 Pauline encourages anyone interested in homeschooling in PA by saying, “PA’s laws sound complicated when you first read them, but it’s mostly a matter of paperwork. Don’t get overwhelmed – it’s easier than it looks!

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

A website with a little more information about homeschooling requirements in Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Washington, D. C.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

 

Megmeganan–Megan is mom to three children: Pigby (boy, age 7), Digby (boy, age 4), and Chuck (girl, age 2).  She loves history, ballroom dance, and crocheting.  She made the decision to homeschool when her oldest was three and they’ve been on this journey ever since.

Education as a Commodity, by Jen W.

 

“Enlighten people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.” -Thomas Jefferson

The United States of America is a country in which we purport to hold education of the young as a most treasured value. We work to hard to educate our own population. During the 2009-2010 school year, federal, state and local governments in the US spent over $638 billion dollars on elementary and secondary schools [1]. We have risked the lives of our soldiers to build schools in Afghanistan. Prior to the fall of the Taliban, only 32 percent of Afghanistan’s school aged children were enrolled in school–only three percent of girls. The US worked to build and refurbish hundreds of schools, resulting in millions of children (including a large percentage of girls and young women) being allowed to enroll in school [2].

Another important principle dearly held is the lack of government censorship in the US. In fact, we sanction other governments when they impose censorship upon their people. Recently, the US imposed sanctions upon Iran for engaging in satellite jamming and limiting access to the internet by their populace. Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the US Department of State, said in her press release dated 8 November, “Countless activists, journalists, lawyers, students, and artists have been detained, censured, tortured, or forcibly prevented from exercising their human rights. With the measures we are taking today, we draw the world’s attention to the scope of the regime’s insidious actions, which oppress its own people and violate Iran’s own laws and international obligations. We will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an “electronic curtain” to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world.” [3]

Americans generally hold the view that education is always a positive. Therefore, one would think that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) would be viewed as a boon to our civilization and a great benefit of technology to the modern age. Coursera is one such provider of MOOCs to students around the globe. It came as a surprise to many when the US sanctions intended to punish the government of Iran included the blocking of Coursera [4] and other MOOCs to Iran. We are going to punish the government of Iran for blocking access to internet information from its people by blocking internet educational information from its people? On what planet does this make sense?

If you are an American, please urge your government officials to exempt MOOCs from government sanctions upon Syria, Iran, Cuba and other countries in which a free, expansive alternative educational system is advantageous to a populace that otherwise hears only government ideology in the vacuum that exists when the free exchange of ideas is taken away. Education in this case should not be considered a commodity to be blocked from the people of Iran or any other sanctioned government, but be considered valued knowledge and information which will benefit the global community.

Contact the US State Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control here:

http://www.treasury.gov/connect/Pages/contact-us.aspx

Contact your US Senator here:

http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_contact_senators.htm

Contact your US Congressman here:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

1. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66

2. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/afghanistan/us-commitment.html

3. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/11/200338.htm

4. http://help.coursera.org/customer/portal/articles/1425714-why-is-my-country-blocked-

Jen is a born and bred Sooner who has spent twenty years following her military husband around the world. Jen started on her homeschooling journey when her eldest daughter learned to read at three years old, and she decided that she couldn’t screw up kindergarten that badly. That child is now a senior in high school. Jen has two more children who are equally smart, but learned to read on a more average schedule.