All indications are that homeschooling is here to stay for many families. Many parents in New York made this decision prompted by events of the last year, in which a lot of activities were restricted to the home.
To homeschool in New York, you must:
- Notify the district superintendent of your intent to homeschool within 14 days before the start of the homeschooling
- Submit to the district superintendent the curriculum to be used
- Report the subjects to teach as required by grade level
- Keep attendance records
Homeschooling is not remote education. On the one hand, there is no formal institution involved, but on the other hand, the teaching process must be of high quality. In this article, you will have at your disposal all the necessary information about homeschooling in New York.
The reality is that it is not difficult to begin the homeschooling process in New York. Suppose you are evaluating this option and your children are currently attending school. In that case, you can withdraw them at any time and begin homeschooling as long as you notify the district superintendent 14 days in advance before you start homeschooling.
Another aspect that makes this process easier is not waiting for approval. Once the notification step is ready, you can immediately begin homeschooling your child.
The relationship established with the school district confirms that the student receives the best educational experience under the established guidelines. The school does not participate in the teaching process or the academic materials used.
Some of the homeschooling options are:
- Parents are solely in charge of the student’s teaching process
- Parents together with a tutor or hired teacher are responsible for homeschooling
- Parents seek paid services or support groups to make the process more enriching
You must evaluate in detail and in-depth all the aspects and commitments involved. Here are some facts to consider:
- Parents alone are responsible for the training and education of the student. This responsibility includes designing the curriculum, purchasing books and materials, and all evaluations.
- Parents should research and understand that homeschooling involves different learning methodologies and philosophies. For this reason, it is worth analyzing whether this style of schooling is the best fit for your family’s way of life and what your child needs.
- Another element that parents should be aware of is that they are responsible for keeping attendance reports and test scores. Keeping all the student’s information related to tests, projects, or assignments organized will be essential to apply for college once their primary school stage is over.
Before choosing which curriculum to use, parents should identify which learning style best suits their child. There are helpful books and resources on the internet to help you understand and recognize the different learning styles and apply them.
But it is not enough to know the child’s learning style; you also have to define the parent’s teaching style and create a positive learning environment. Will it be a classical style, or will it be a more relaxed and flexible style? When deciding which technique to use in either case, all that remains is to create or purchase a curriculum that meets the subject requirements for the school district’s policy.
One way to quickly understand the curriculum options and all their resources is to request online catalogs or handouts. These catalogs are free and contain general and specific information about homeschooling. Most companies will offer a free trial before signing up.
Many options are available for a home-based learning program, whether starting at the Preschool level, K-5, junior high, or even continuing throughout high school.
Alpha Omega Publications has multiple options for online, digital, and printed courses with monthly or yearly subscriptions available. School House Teachers is a single location to access hundreds of lesson plans that can be used for all ages, in all grades, and curated to the student’s learning goals.
This is just a short list of resources to get your search started. Duolingo for foreign languages, Kahn Academy for math, and even your local library for additional free resources, the options can almost feel overwhelming at the beginning. Including your child in the decision-making process will help them stay engaged in their education.
As a prerequisite for homeschooling, New York does not require record keeping. However, it is recommended you do so since, at some point, the district may request specific documents, or records may need to be sent to colleges and universities as a requirement for admission.
Each trimester, parents must submit to the superintendent a report with the following information:
- The number of hours of classes taught in the quarter
- A detailed description of the subjects and topics covered
- The grades and evaluations for each subject
In New York, a pupil with an exceptional condition homeschooled has the right to tuition-free public schools under the current Education Law.
Such a student must also have an individualized homeschooling plan approved by the school district’s superintendent by the rules and regulations for such exceptional cases.
The school district must provide special education services to homeschooling students in the same proportion as students with disabilities who face-to-face attend public or private schools.
New York State provides for the following aspects of access for homeschooled students in public schools:
- A homeschooled student’s access to a public school includes entering classes, participating in athletics, and other activities.
- Suppose the homeschooled student becomes involved in school sports activities. In that case, the student must abide by the school’s guidelines to continue these activities. At this specific point, the responsibility shifts from the parent to the school.
- This type of policy changes regularly, so it is best to check directly with the institution of interest to stay up to date on policies and requirements.
The requirements and tests for graduation in New York are different from those in other states. New York requires home school graduates to take a final test to demonstrate successful completion of high school.
Many colleges in the United States accept parents’ diplomas at home, but New York colleges do not. Homeschooled students who wish to enter colleges in New York must demonstrate their eligibility in the following ways:
- Parents should request a letter from the local district superintendent certifying that the student has received the equivalent education from face-to-face high schools.
- Obtain the equivalent high school diploma “TASC.”
- Earn 24 credits at a community college.
In addition, the New York Education Law for homeschool students requires that the student takes specific additional courses to complete high school. These courses are:
- High school English (4 units).
- High school social studies (2 units).
- High school science (2 units).
- Art or music education (1 unit).
- Health education (1/2 unit).
- Physical education (2 units).
- Electives (3 units)
Some of the excursions in New York can be a complementary part of the homeschooled student’s education. Some suggested locations are:
- Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, Amherst, NY. Fantastic walk to travel back in time and see what life was like in New York in the 19th century.
- Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, North Tonawanda, NY. In this museum, the student can observe the process of assembling wooden carousels.
- Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, NY. This fascinating place has a science museum, a nature center, and a planetarium all in one place.
- Animal Adventure Park, Harpursville, NY. For animal lovers this is the ideal excursion, as well as fun, there will be lots of lessons and learning about wildlife.
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY. In this bird sanctuary, you can find all kinds of telescopes and bird feeders, interactive exhibits, and lots of exciting information.
- Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, NY. On this guided tour, students will learn a lot about the life of the eighth president of the United States. They can explore his residence and the beautiful trails that surround it.
- Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, Poughkeepsie, NY. In this 100% kid-friendly museum, there are so many fun and educational activities to do; you can’t miss it.
Support groups and associations can be of great help in the homeschooling process. Typically, support groups and associations are communities that organize activities that reinforce the educational process, such as field trips, park days, volunteering, and more.
Often these groups have a specific profile that targets certain demographics or approaches to education. For example, some groups support Christian homes, those that support classical education, or those that support a specific age range. However, many inclusive support groups welcome homeschooling educators from all systems, beliefs, ages, and approaches. Some of these groups in New York include:
- The ROC Network for Learning
- Saratoga LEAH
- 5Boro Homeschooling
- Buffalo Southtowns Homeschoolers
- Rochester Area Homeschoolers
- PCC LEAH
- Home Learners Association of Central NY
Homeschooling is a reality today more than ever. New York is a state that makes it easy for parents to do so but at the same time has standards that you must meet. The success of the homeschooling program goes far beyond compliance; it involves giving children the best academic and personal development to become valuable and successful members of society.