Moving to another city or state can be shocking to a family. New job, new house or apartment, new friends, and a new school. But sometimes, when it’s done in the middle of a school year, online classes might not be the best way to adjust to the new place. Then the question arises, at least for the rest of the year, can I homeschool in New Mexico?
Homeschooling in New Mexico can be done in just five steps:
- Inform the state of your decision within the first thirty days
- Teach the five basic subjects
- Lessons can only be provided by the parent or legal tutor
- Teach for the required 180 days,
- Keep a copy of the immunization record
Online classes are not for everybody, and for some, it’s time to consider other options besides public school. Homeschooling has been around for the last 30 years, at least in a modern way of being, so why not give it a chance this time around.
In the state of New Mexico, home school programs are not credited. Therefore, homeschooled students will not be considered part of a public school and will not receive a high school diploma from New Mexico. The option for homeschooling in New Mexico is that the teaching is done only by the parent or tutor of the children.
Deciding to homeschool your child is the first step; next, checking to see what it will take. Here are some things to go over as you plan for that first day of classes.
What is the registration process? Considering that the child has already been withdrawn from the school via written notification, the first thing to do is notify the state of your intent to establish a homeschooling program. This report can be done electronically by filling up an online form; or sending a letter to the department of New Mexico Public Education. It is time-sensitive, so it must be notified within the first thirty days after initiating the homeschooling program and renewed every year on or before August 1st.
What are the state laws? Every state has a specific set of rules for a homeschooling program to operate. Most of these rules are common to the country, but others may be enforced differently. Here are the ones required in New Mexico:
- The parent or legal tutor must do the teaching and not an independent teacher. This person should also have a high-school diploma or its equivalent (GED).
- There is a minimum requirement of 180 days of class depending on the child’s grade, translating to a certain amount of hours during that school year.
- Teach all mandated subjects such as mathematics, reading, social studies, science, and language arts.
- Maintain a copy of the immunization records.
A classroom at home. Setting up the space for learning is one of the most important ones. The thing to look for is a location within the house free of interruptions; the noise is kept to a minimum, and there won’t be many people walking by. A desk and a good chair for both the student and the teacher is vital as they will be spending a few hours sitting there.
How much will this cost? It all depends on the investment. The curriculum you’ll be using will determine the route to take. Consider any books, supplies, supplemental material as an investment in your child, but with the mindset that even education should be pocket-friendly.
When it comes to the curriculum to follow with homeschooling, New Mexico law is relaxed. The state does not provide school materials to the parents, but they can choose any learning techniques as long as they cover the five required subjects mentioned above.
This is excellent news as the norm at public schools is to teach in one way for all students. The parent will evaluate the learning style that better fits the child to ensure better learning at home. Some of these techniques are as follow:
- The Classical Method. Children learn grammar, logic, or debate and end with the rhetoric stage.
- Charlotte Mason Method. Its focus is on short periods of learning with some activities in different environments.
- Montessori method. It provides autonomy and self-sufficiency, and it can start very early in childhood.
- Unit Studies. It is, in a way, a chronological way to learn about anything. One subject can be broken down into different topics, and the student can learn about it from historical, geographical, reading, and other points of reference.
- Eclectic Education. It is one of the most popular as it is child-centered and avoids following a curriculum, which is one of the benefits of New Mexico. As long as the mandatory subjects are taught, the way is done, it’s not imperative.
To start your search for a home-based curriculum most suitable for you, your child, and your budget below is a shortlist of popular options other families have chosen. Remember, there are local, discounted, and free resources available to help you supplement and create lessons as well. Take advantage of your local library, community-sponsored events, and other resource centers focused on children, families, and education.
- School House Teachers
- Alpha Omega Publications
- ABC Mouse
- Adventure Academy
- Khan Academy
New Mexico homeschool laws don’t have any requirements for record-keeping, but it is always encouraged. At the start of the school year, making a portfolio to keep assignments, attendance, immunization records, and other supplemental materials is the best way to present evidence of learning at home. Online programs such as Applecore and Homeschool Panda are beneficial for attendance and grade tracking as well as transcripts.
Children who demand special education services can benefit from a homeschooling program—setting up the environment, curriculum, and learning technique that better fits, gives the child a higher chance to thrive. Unfortunately, homeschooled children in New Mexico do not qualify to receive special education services from the school district for free.
Homeschooled students can participate in certain public school activities as long as they meet specific requirements. To get more information and determine whether your child qualifies, you must contact the local superintendent’s office and the New Mexico Activities Association.
Within the available extracurricular activities, a homeschooled student might be eligible to participate in athletic activities offered by the public schools in their area.
There are no requirements for standardized testing for homeschooled students in the state of New Mexico. They may partake in the state’s yearly standards-based assessments (SBA), but only if the district allows it.
Since homeschooled students don’t belong to a public school, they wouldn’t qualify to attend a graduation ceremony or get a diploma. However, the student may graduate under the following options:
- Enroll in a public school in senior year to ensure a New Mexico high school diploma.
- Take the General Education Development Test (GED) or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).
- Graduate under the parent’s approval.
- Graduating from a distance learning school program or correspondence course.
Always make sure to research the requirements for a college before deciding on the type of diploma your child should get to make sure they would accept it.
Homeschooled students have access to athletic activities if they meet the requirements. Any other activities from a public school, such as field trips, might only be available at the district’s consideration.
Homeschooling a student for the first time can feel frightening, but you won’t be alone. There are groups or organizations that can provide some insight into the life of a homeschooling family. Some of these groups are as follow:
- ABQ Homeschoolers
- HomeSchool Las Cruces
- Carlsbad New Mexico Homeschool Group
- Sante Fe Homeschool Association
It may seem like a bit of a challenge at first, but it takes time to get accustomed to something new. The key to success is to be ready; gathering all the information you need to homeschool in your state will make things flow for you and your family.