New York law requires children to “attend a public school or elsewhere” and stipulates that instruction given “elsewhere than at a public school” must be “at least substantially equivalent to the instruction given to minors of like age and attainments at the public schools.” With this statute as its authority, the Board of Regents created a code of comprehensive oversight of homeschooling in 1988. See N.Y. Educ. Law § 3204(1-2) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10.
|Notification:||Parents must submit annual written notice of intent to the local superintendent by July 1 of each school year, or, for those who begin homeschooling after the start of a school year, within 14 days of starting to homeschool. Within 10 business days of receiving the notice, the school district will send the parents an Individualized Home Instruction Program (IHIP) form for each student of compulsory attendance age who is to be homeschooled. Within four weeks of receiving the IHIP forms, parents must submit the completed forms to the school district. If the IHIP is deemed out of compliance, there is a process for correcting its deficiencies and ultimately a means of appeal. The IHIP form must contain the child’s name, age, and grade level; a list of syllabi, curriculum materials, and textbooks, or a plan of instruction to be used in each of the required subjects; dates for the submission of quarterly reports; the name of any persons providing instruction; and the name of any degree-granting program the child may be enrolled in full time. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10.|
|Qualifications:||Instruction must be provided by a “competent teacher.” However, the state’s regulatory code governing homeschooling does not require any qualifications for either parents or those providing instructions. See N.Y. Educ. Law § 3204(2).|
|Days or hours:||Instruction must be provided for the “substantial equivalent of 180 days” and must include 900 cumulative hours of instruction each year for grades 1 through 6 and 990 cumulative hours of instruction each year for grades 7 through 12. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(f)(1, 2).|
|Subjects:||Grades 1 through 6: arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, the 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.Grades 7 and 8: 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); and library skills (on a regular basis). Grades 9 through 12: 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 of economics; mathematics (two units); science (two units); art and/or music (one unit); health education (one-half unit); physical education (two units); and three units of electives. Miscellaneous: United States history, New York State history, and the Constitutions of the United States and New York State must be taught at least once during grades 1 to 8. Patriotism and citizenship; health education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse; highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety; and fire and arson prevention and safety must be covered during grades K to 12. A unit is defined as 6,480 minutes (or 108 hours) of instruction. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(e)(2).|
|Bookkeeping:||Parents must keep attendance records available upon the request of the local superintendent. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(f)(4).Parents must file quarterly reports including the number of hours of instruction during the quarter; a description of the material covered in each subject; a grade or narrative evaluation in each subject; and “a written explanation in the even that less than 80 percent of the amount of the course materials as set fourth in the IHIP planned for that quarter has been covered in any subject.” See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(g).|
|Assessment:||Parents must file an annual assessment at the same time that they file their fourth quarterly report. This assessment must be either “the results of a commercially published norm referenced achievement test” or “an alternative form of evaluation.” See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h). Parents must choose from a list of approved norm-referenced achievement tests, which must be administered at a school by professional staff or at a parent’s home or other location by a state certified teacher or “another qualified person” with the superintendent’s consent. A student’s score on a norm-referenced standardized test shall be deemed adequate if it is above the 33rd percentile or reflects one academic year of growth compared to a previous test. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h)(1). The alternative form of evaluation, which consists of a “written narrative,” may only be used for grades 1 through 3, and every other year during grades 4 through 8. “The person who prepares the written narrative shall be a New York State-certified teacher, a home instruction peer group review panel, or other person, who has interviewed the child and reviewed a portfolio of the child’s work. . . . Such person shall certify either that the child has made adequate academic progress or that the child has failed to make adequate academic progress. . . . The certified teacher, peer review panel or other person shall be chosen by the parent with the consent of the superintendent.” See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h)(2). If a dispute arises over the administration of the norm-referenced achievement tests or use of alternative evaluation methods, the parents may appeal to the local board of education, and then to the Commissioner of Education. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(h)(3).|
|Intervention:||Should parents not submit an annual assessment, the school district has no evidence that instruction has been taking place and is obligated to report the situation as a case of suspected educational neglect. Should a student’s annual assessment reveal a failure to make adequate progress, that child’s homeschool program shall be placed on probation for up to two school years. The parents must submit a plan of remediation which addresses the deficiencies. The school district may require changes to this plan prior to approving it. If, at the end of any semester, the child progresses at the level specified in the remediation plan, the homeschool shall be removed from probation. If the superintendent has “reasonable grounds” to believe that a homeschool in probation is in “substantial noncompliance,” the superintendent may require one or more home visits, made only with three days’ written notice, to ascertain areas of noncompliance and determine methods for remediating any such deficiencies. The purpose of such visit(s) shall be to ascertain areas of noncompliance with these regulations and to determine methods of remediating any such deficiencies. The home visit(s) shall be conducted by the superintendent or by the superintendent’s designee. The super-intendent may include members of a home instruction peer review panel in the home visit team. Because the state includes failure to educate in its definition of neglect, homeschool parents who fail to educate their children may also be reported to social services. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 8, § 100.10(i).|
|Other:||The state’s Public Health Law Section 2164, which requires parents to submit proof of immunization prior to enrolling their children in a school, does not apply to homeschooled students.|
Services Available to Homeschooled Students
|Part-time enrollment:||No. Public schools are not permitted to allow homeschool students to participate in their instructional programs or to allow for dual enrollment. Homeschool students may, however, participate in summer school programs, which are open to all residents of the district.|
|Extracurriculars:||Yes, at the district’s discretion. However, as a result of Commissioner’s Regulation 135.4(c)(7), which requires those who participate in interscholastic sports to be enrolled in the public school for which they compete, homeschooled students may not participate in high school athletics. However, homeschooled children may participate in intramural and other school-sponsored club activities, as well as other extracurriculars, at the discretion of the school district.|
|Disabilities:||Yes. Homeschooled students with disabilities are considered nonpublic school students for the purpose of receiving services. See New Requirements for the Provision of Special Education Services to Home-Instructed (“Home-Schooled”) Students.|
This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.