Return to the home page

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions: Paperwork

10 Steps to Successful Homeschooling What's Free or Cheap in NYC? Ask Laurie / RAQ Travels with Laurie Newsletter
Laurie Block Spigel
Classes & Lectures
Photo Gallery           
Poems by Laurie
Contact Laurie
FAQ (testing etc.)
Articles & Reviews       
Books & Resources
Favorite Kids' Books
Language Arts
Math & Economics
Critical Thinking
Social Studies
Foreign Languages
Art & Architecture
Standards, etc.     
Activities & Crafts
Physical Activities
Early Childhood
Special Ed
Gifted & Talented
About College/Teens
NYC High Schools
Art by Kids
Poems by Kids
Reviews by Kids
Other Sites           
Blogs, etc.           
Volunteer / Interns

Go to Page Index

The paperwork involved in homeschooling need not be intimidating. Once you've done it for the first year, you can pretty much cut-and-paste for following years. Please read Step 9 of the Ten Steps to Successful Homeschooling: Create and Keep Records. Here's the address for filing NYC paperwork. See also DoE Home Instruction Questions and Answers

Index to All FAQs * General FAQ page * FAQ: Getting Started * Special Ed FAQ * FAQ: Testing

If you don't find your question answered, or you want to post some further information, please fill out the form at Ask Laurie. See also some Recently Asked Questions. Laurie Spigel is available for educational consultations.

Here's a list of Grade Levels, Standards and Benchmarks , with updated NYS Standards

Back to top

Drowning in paperwork

Page Index

Back to Page Index * Back to top
After sending in our letter of intent, birth certificate and proof of residence, when should I expect a response?

The DoE homeschooling office is often overworked, so they may be late with their paperwork, while we must do our best to be on time. You should not expect to receive anything before September. Your IHIP is due on or around August 15th. Apply for a MetroCard at the same time, to the same place. After they have filed the IHIP they should send out a letter stating that your IHIP has been received, but this can take a few weeks. If you really need an official letter of receipt, which is your proof of homeschooling, earlier than late September, then I suggest that you call and go down there in person. They have been very helpful to folks in the past. If you do go down, bring copies of all of your paperwork with you, just in case they can't locate your files.

You can expect a response to a year-end assessment only if there is a problem. BTW, I suggest that you make a copy of your IHIP receipt letter and carry it around it with you. It will get you an educator's discount card at Barnes & Nobles or Borders Books.

Back to Page Index / Back to top
Can you tell me about the new requirement for NYC that a birth certificate must be provided?

There is a lot of controversy about this new "requirement". There is nothing in the law that requires parents to submit proof of birth. This is an interpretation of the regs, as stated in the DoE Home Instruction Questions and Answers.

Question #1 in the NYSED "Q. and A." says that the school district (in this case all the districts in NYC, because it's centralized here into a single Homeschool Office) can require proof of age. It doesn't specifically say that it has to be a birth certificate.

The quote is this: "May a district require parents to register their child in the public school if they plan to provide home instruction? No. Parents are not required to register their child in the public school if they plan to provide home instruction. However, the parent, if requested, must demonstrate that the child resides within the school district and is of compulsory age."

The justification for asking for proof of age seems to be that school districts aren't required to process paperwork for kids who aren't of compulsory school age. See Question #44 in the NYSED "Q. and A.": "Is a district required to review the IHIP submitted for a student beyond compulsory attendance age? No."

So, if you had some other convincing proof of age, theoretically that would work. Maybe a passport? Or tax records (listing the child as a dependent, and going back a certain number of years)?

Of course, this does not address the issue of kids who do not have birth certificates and maybe never had them. In the past, children from war-torn countries who are here as refugees, without birth certificates, and also homeless kids, have been admitted to public schools "provisionally". It might be possible to argue that the paperwork for homeschooled kids be processed "provisionally", too. One of the things the DoE is concerned about is identifying whose kids belong to whom, and birth certificates are proof of that too. One parent was recently told that an insurance card would be accepted in place of a birth certificate.

If you have previously filed paperwork to the DoE, or if your child has already been in the public school system, then no proof of birth is necessary.

Parents in New Jersey do not need to file. So far as I know, this request has been made only in NYC.

Back to Page Index / Back to top
Do I have to continue submitting paper work to the DoE ( i.e., quarterly reports and assessment papers, attendance ) even though I have my child fully enrolled in a separate schooling environment, an accredited correspondence school?

Yes. It is about where the learning is done, which is primarily "at home", and not about the source or accreditation of curricula. It is entirely your right to choose whatever curriculum you want for your child. But you must still file with the DoE.

Taken from the DoE Home Instruction Questions and Answers:

53. Must the parents of a student instructed at home file an IHIP with the district if the student is enrolled in a correspondence school?
Yes. The obligation to file an IHIP does not depend on the source of material used but rather on the location of the student's instruction. The board of education is responsible for ensuring that any student of compulsory age living within the district is receiving an adequate program of instruction. The parents and the district must comply with C.R. 100.10 even if the supplier of the curriculum materials considers the student to be enrolled in its school or program.

Back to Page Index / Back to top

Where I can see an example of the narrative annual assessment?

All you need to send is the following single statement in a cover letter along with your fourth quarterly report. Address it to the DoE (see Step One) and include the date (the same date on the accompanying quarterly report), your name and address, your child's name, age, date of birth, and grade level.

"[Child's name] has met or surpassed all of the goals as set forth in [his or her] IHIP for the current school year [2008-2009).]" and then sign it.

When exams are required forms of assessment, in grades 5, 7, and 9-12, you can add the line: "Enclosed please find the [CAT or SAT or ...] exam, taken by my child in [fall or spring] of the current year." Then enclose a copy of the exam results with your fourth quarterly report and the cover letter.

It is important to remember that level of ability (sometimes referred to as grade level), other than the registered grade (K-12) that is assigned to your child each year, need never be a part of an assessment. You do not need to give grades like As or Bs. When you state that all goals in the IHIP have been met, it is worth noting that these goals are not limited to the use of materials or a focus on specific topics within a general subject. Your goal is hours spent on that subject in general.

For example, if in my IHIP I state that for social studies my son will study the Civil War era using a specific book (noted as materials planned), but he ends up studying 20th century history instead, using different books and materials, he has still met his goal in social studies. I like to say that the P in IHIP stands for Plan.

Of course, the style of your narrative assessment is up to you. Some parents write each subject and simply put the word PASS next to it.

If your child spent the year in school, then state that the child has been tested (mention when and where), and that test (results which are already in the hands of the DoE) serves as your assessment.

Back to Page Index / Back to top

Since my child is six and that is the compulsory age to start receiving instruction, do I have to send an LOI and all the accompanying paperwork to my school, as well as to the Bd. of Ed.? Or do I just have to notify the school of my intention?

According to the law, you must file an LOI, then an IHIP, and four quarterly reports each year, once your child is of compulsory school age and you are homeschooling. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the law that states you must inform the school. Still, as an act of courtesy and common sense, I strongly recommend that you send the school a copy of your LOI when you send it to the Bd. of Ed. One copy of your LOI to your child's former school will give them the information that they need. I have heard of parents getting hassled by social services and truant officers because their former school did not realize that they were now homeschooling, and the homeschooling office at the Bd. of Ed. was too overloaded to inform the schools. See our page on Issues for Homeschoolers.

Back to Page Index / Back to top

I am about to send my first quarterly report. Is it possible to change something I wrote on the IHIP and notify in the quarterly report. For example I want to change my daughters music course to piano lessons. I had written a different answer in the IHIP but I would like to modify it. If it is possible how do I include it?

The P in IHIP stands for Plan! Of course you can change or modify what you wrote in your IHIP. I never say in my quarterlies what I did NOT do, I always just say what we did. It is important to remember what the real goals are. In your IHIP you set down these goals. But your goal is not necessarily to use a certain textbook, or to have a certain music teacher. Rather, the goal is to spend a certain number of hours studying that subject. So, if you want to change the textbook you chose for a course, or the kind of music lessons you planned, go right ahead! Feel free, for example, to swtich from music lessons to voice or piano lessons, or even to music appreciation, where concerts are attended and biographies of composers are discussed. Then, in your quarterlies, write down what you did, and know that you are still attaining the goals in your IHIP.

Back to Page Index / Back to top

Back to Page Index / Back to top

Can you tell me where to file my IHIP etc. for the current school year?

See Address for NYC paperwork

Back to Page Index / Back to top

I am homeschooling my children and I would like to know what exactly are the dates I have to write on the IHIP to submit the quarterly reports?

Usually the homeschooling coordinator wants the reports submitted when the teachers have to submit theirs, at quarterly intervals during the school year. These dates are aproximately November 15, January 30, April 15, and June 30. Sometimes a coordinator will send you a letter (in response to your letter of intent or your IHIP) requesting that you mail your quarterlies on specific dates (usually close to the dates above), but they are not legally empowered to require you to use their dates.

The regulations state:

(g) Quarterly reports. On or before the dates specified by the parent in the IHIP, a quarterly report for each child shall be furnished by the parent to the school district. The quarterly report shall contain the following:

  1. the number of hours of instruction during said quarter;
  2. a description of the material covered in each subject listed in the IHIP;
  3. either a grade for the child in each subject or a written narrative evaluating the child's progress; and
  4. a written explanation in the event that less than 80 percent of the amount of the course materials as set forth in the IHIP planned for that quarter has been covered in any subject.

So, according to the law, you can choose any four dates that represent the four quarters of your educational year, put those dates in your IHIP, and then report on those dates. Some parents, who don't use the typical school year (they might homeschool year-round, or use different dates), submit at their own quarterly time. Just put the dates you plan to submit your quarterlies into your IHIP, and you'll be fine.

Back to Page Index / Back to top