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Step 1 of the The Ten Steps to Successful Homeschooling
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The LawNew York's homeschooling laws and regulations require reporting to the Department of Education (DoE). This paperwork may seem initally to be a big chore. But it gives us each power when we educate ourselves to know the law well, and the resulting paperwork helps to keep us organized and well-documented. Don't rely on overworked bureaucrats to inform you. Take the time to learn what is actually required by the law. A summary of what you need to file each year follows.

Read a detailed explanation of the N.Y. regulations, written by Elsa Haas, director of PAHSI (Partnership for Accurate Homeschooling Information ), homeschooling parent and resident of NYC: "How the Homeschool Regulations Really Work: Practical Nuances of the New York State Regulations on Home Instruction".

A Home Schooling information packet can be requested by calling (917) 339-1750. See also the New York State Education Department's Home Instruction Questions and Answers.

For homeschooling laws in other states, see State Laws, from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They also have a State Action Map, detailing current events and cases in each state.

See also:

NYHEN

NYHEN ( New York Home Educators' Network) is a state-wide organization of homeschoolers. Here you can learn about the latest changes in homeschooling regulations in NYS. As laws change, you can follow the discussions at the NYHEN Yahoo group.


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Regulations

Note: Every state has different regulations.

The entire New York State law is available online: 100.10 Home Instruction

See amendments to that law: relating to the home instruction of students of compulsory school age who wish to attend college on a full-time basis and Guidelines on Revised Rules and Regulations. See also Home Instruction - Questions and Answers and Home Schooling (by parents)

To have a free copy of the NYS regulations mailed to you, contact:

Nancy Moore
c/o Office of Non-public Schools
NYS Education Dept.
room 475-EBA
Albany, NY 12234

Find your local State Board of Education through this page from NASBE.

If you live in NYS but outside of NYC and you want to find your local district, check the School District Index


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Filing NYC Paperwork

Address to send all NYC homeschooling paperwork:
William Harrington
Director
Central Office of Home Schooling
333 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001

phone: (917) 339-1748
fax: (212) 356-7523

William Harrington's e-mail: wharrin @ schools.nyc.gov
other phone numbers: (917) 339-1750 and -1793

PLEASE NOTE: current DoE policy is that official documents (Letter of Intent, IHIP, quarterlies, and annual assessments) CANNOT be sent by e-mail or fax unless Mr. Harrington makes an exception because of unusual circumstances for a particular family.

If you go in person: The office is at the NE corner of W28th St, and the nearest subway station is the 28th Street stop on the Number 1 line. Be sure to call ahead and make certain someone's there. They see visitors between ten am and noon.

IF YOU RECEIVE A NOTICE OF NON-COMPLIANCE BUT HAVE SENT IN YOUR PAPERWORK, call one of the numbers above and let them know. In the past homeschoolers who filed on time have received Letters of Non-Compliance in error. Don't let an intimidating letter alarm you.



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Filing Yonkers Paperwork

In Yonkers, homeschoolers send their paperwork to:

Silvia Zaluski, Coordinator of Pupil Support Services
Yonkers Public Schools
1 Larkin Center
Yonkers, NY 10701
(914) 376-8489


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For new homeschoolers

Parents who are new to homeschooling in NYC, or whose children have never attended a NYC public school, are currently required to submit copies of birth certificates and proof of residence with their initial paperwork only.

An insurance card may be accepted in place of a birth certificate. Theoretically, any proof of age, such as a passport or perhaps even tax records, should suffice.

If you have difficulty providing the birth certificate and the proof of address, citing the Regulation of the Chancellor A-101 (pdf format) to the DoE may be helpful to you, since (in an effort to protect kids who are residents of domestic violence shelters, refugees with no birth certificates, illegal immigrants, etc.) it spells out the necessity of admitting a student into a NYC public school (and therefore into the same computer system our kids are in) provisionally (until the birth certificate and proof of address can be provided).


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Summary of NYS required paperwork

Note: this summary is brief and you are advised to study the regulations carefully. Find someone in your support group to help you the first time you do your paperwork.

See Step 9: Create and keep records.

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Letter of Intent (LOI)

You are required to submit a Letter of Intent stating your intention to homeschool your child. The LOI is due by July 1st or within two weeks of your decision to homeschool. The letter must include your childís name, age and grade level. Download a sample LOI in MS Word or PDF format).

Although it is not required by law, I strongly advise parents who are taking their kids out of school to send a copy of their LOI (Letter of Intent) to that school. You should not rely on the DoE to inform the school that your child is being legally homeschooled. Your LOI, addressed to the DoE, can also be sent to your childís former school as a way of informing them of your intent to legally homeschool your child.


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Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP)

If you homeschooled the previous year you must submit your IHIP for the next school year by August 15th. If you decided to homeschool midyear, then you must submit your IHIP within four weeks after receiving a response from the DoE to your letter of intent (which you should mail within twenty days of commencing homeschooling).

You do not have to use the government IHIP forms. You can make your own. Make sure that you include all mandatory subjects for that grade level (see the regulations in detail for your childís grade level), including those pesky little items like bicycle safety, health, patriotism & citizenship, and arson prevention.

See our page on Grade Levels, Standards and Benchmarks and do note that homeschoolers do not have to follow the bd. of ed. guidelines, and do not have to write IHIPs or assessments that are at "grade level."

Here are templates in Word format that you can download to fill out and use for your IHIP or Quarterly Report.

One parent files the following very simple quarterly report, the same report for each quarter, after filing a detailed IHIP at the beginning of the year.

[student] is progressing at a satisfactory level or above in all subject matter.

We have had instruction in all the following areas, as per Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education and Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language Arts, Arithmetic, U.S. History, Geography, Science, Health, Physical Education, Music, and Visual Arts.

We have covered at least 25% of the planned material for this quarter.

[student] had no absences from instruction this quarter, and has exceeded the required hours of instruction (225).

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Quarterly Reports

Four times a year you must submit Quarterly Reports that show progress with the educational goals set forth in your IHIP. These reports must also record the number of hours of instruction (225 per quarter or 900 per year in elementary school , for grades 7-12 that amount increases to 247.5 hours per quarter or 990 per year ) and the child's absences (none since, even when they are sick, homeschoolers continue to learn and are never absent). You may want to comply with your districtís request to have the quarterly reports filed at the usual times (Nov. 15, Jan. 30, April 15 and June 30, approximately), but the law states that you may furnish your own schedule for these reports.


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Year-end Assessment / Narrative Assessment

A Year-end Assessment is required with your fourth quarterly report (June 30). This assessment can be in the form of a narrative statement or home-made report card signed by the parent or instructor, stating that the educational goals for that year have been achieved. If a certified teacher is required and none is available, a peer review committee, made up of at least two experienced homeschooling parents, will suffice. The peer review committee would sign the year-end assessment statement. Starting in 4th grade, a nationally approved achievment test is required every other year, and starting at 9th grade, every year, to serve as the year-end assessment.

See What tests are available for homeschoolers from our FAQ - Testing.

Here is an example of a narrative assessment:

A narrative can be a paragraph or even a sentence, or it can be like a report card with "PASS" or "A" next to each subject. I used one simple sentence for my narrative assessments. I wrote it as a cover letter and included it with my fourth quarterly report. In my third quarterly report I included a cover letter that stated what form my year-end assessment would take (either a narrative or a test if it was required that year).

My narrative assessment statement:

<<[Child's name] has met or exceeded all of the goals as set forth in her/his IHIP for the current school year [year to year].>> And then I signed it.

It is not recommended to state that at least 80% of the goals have been achieved, since you might then have to prove that percentage. I never kept detailed accurate time records, and we strived for proficiency, not a number of hours. It is only necessary to state progress or improvement. One parent writes the following for quarterlies and assessments.

<< [student] is progressing at a satisfactory level or above in all subject matter. >> Then they add the required courses: << We have had instruction in all the following areas, as per Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education and Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language Arts, Arithmetic, U.S. History, Geography, Science, Health, Physical Education, Music, and Visual Arts. >>

(This last paragraph would vary for high school.)


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Calendar for NYS required paperwork

Note: The dates for Quarterly Reports are only suggestions, as the law states that you may furnish your own schedule for these.

July 1 Letter of Intent (LOI)
August 15 Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP)
November 15 First Quarterly Report
January 30 Second Quarterly Report
April 15 Third Quarterly Report
June 30 Fourth Quarterly Report,
Year-end Assessment
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From Home Schooling (by parents) :

  1. Required courses.
    1. For purposes of this subdivision, a unit means 6,480 minutes [108 hours] of instruction per school year.
    2. Instruction in the following subjects shall be required:
      1. For grades one through six: 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.
      2. For grades seven and eight: 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). The units required herein are cumulative requirements for both grades seven and eight.
      3. The following courses shall be taught at least once during the first eight grades: United States history, New York State history, and the Constitutions of the United States and New York State.
      4. For 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. The units required herein are cumulative requirements for grades 9 through 12.
      5. Education Law, sections 801, 804, 806 and 808, also require the following subjects to be covered during grades kindergarten through 12:
        1. patriotism and citizenship;
        2. health education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse;
        3. highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety; and
        4. fire and arson prevention and safety.

Attendance need not be mentioned in your paperwork, but the number of total hours per quarter is required in each quarterly report (225 hours for grade 1-6, or 247.5 hours for grades 7-12).

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Kindergarten Requirements

Compulsory filing begins at age 6 (the child must turn six by December 31 of that school year). Kindergarten is usually age five, so filing is not mandatory for this year. If you do choose to file, the requirements are slim and include the following: health education regarding alcohol, drug, and tobacco misuse; highway safety and traffic regulation, including bike safety; and fire and arson prevention and safety. These requirements remain for K-12.

Suggestions to cover this content at this age include the following. Take a trip to a local fire station, or visit the fire safety exhibit in Rockefeller Center: , or the NYC Fire Museum in Soho. Or you can just talk about fire safety in your own kitchen.

For drug education that is age-appropriate, you can talk to a pharmacist or a pediatrician, perhaps about why you should follow the doctorís dosage and be careful about medicines, or you could explain why cigarettes are bad for you. As you walk through the city you can pay attention to traffic signs (walk/donít walk), right of way, bicycle lanes, why cyclists need helmets, etc. There is also a police museum in lower Manhattan, which can be very interesting.

Of course, your five-year-old child need not be limited to the content required by the DoE. You can also visit libraries and museums and parks and have as big a learning adventure as you like. For more suggestions for this age, visit the Early Childhood page.

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Access your child's DoE records

To gain access your child's DoE file, go to the Homeschool Office in person and ask for your ARIS Parent Link password. Bring official NYS photo I.D. (such as a driver's license). Make sure that you are going during regular office hours (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) when there is no school holiday, and make sure that your paperwork is all up-to-date and has been filed. You will be given your password which will allow you to check and make sure that your child's grade level and information is accurate, from the comfort of your own computer. If you find any inaccuracies, notify the DoE in writing, and be patient and persistent about asking for your child's records to be corrected. If your child decides to apply to a NYC public school at some point in the future, having accurate grade levels (past and present) on his or her record will be important.

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This is Step 1 of the Ten Steps to Successful Homeschooling
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