An overview of the homeschool laws and regulations of New York, along with links to legislative source information, additional reference materials and government resources on homeschooling.
New York State Home Instruction Regulations Amendment To Regulations Of The Commissioner Of Education Preface
- (a) Purpose of section
- (b) Notice of intention to instruct at home
- (c) Procedures for development and review of an individualized home instruction plan (IHIP)
- (d) Content of IHIP
- (e) Required Courses
- (f) Attendance Requirements
- (g) Quarterly Reports
- (h) Annual Assessment
- (i) Probation
Regulation Revisions The Regulations of the Commissioner of Education are amended, effective July 1, 1988, by the addition of a new section 100.10 to read as follows: Pursuant to sections 207, 3204, 3210, 3212, and 3234 of the Education Law 100.10 (a) Purpose of section. The purpose of this section is to establish procedures to assist school authorities in fulfilling their responsibility under Education Law sections 3204 (2) and 3210 (2) (d) and in meeting their responsibility of determining the competency of the instructor and substantial equivalence of instruction being provided at home to students of compulsory attendance age, and to assist parents who exercise their right to provide required instruction at home to such students in fulfilling their responsibilities under Education Law section 3212 (2). (b) Notice of intention to instruct at home.
- (1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subdivision, parents or other persons in parental relation to a student of compulsory school attendance age shall annually provide written notice to the superintendent of schools of their school district of residence of their intention to educate their child at home by July first of each school year. The school year begins July 1 and ends June 30 for all purposes within this section. In the case of the City School District of the City of New York, the school district of residence for students who, if enrolled in the public schools, would attend elementary school, intermediate school or junior high school in a community school district shall be deemed to be in the community school district in which the parents reside.
- (2) Parents who determine to commence home instruction after the start of the school year, or who establish residence in the school district after the start of the school year, shall provide written notice of their intention to educate their child at home within 14 days following the commencement of home instruction within the school district.
(c) Procedures for development and review of an individualized home instruction plan (IHIP).
- (1) Within 10 business days of the receipt of the notice of intention to instruct at home, the school district shall send to the parents a copy of section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education and a form on which to submit an IHIP for each child of compulsory attendance age who is to be taught at home.
- (2) Within 4 weeks of the receipt of such materials, or by August 15, the parent shall submit the completed IHIP form for the school district. The district shall provide assistance in preparation of the forms, if requested by the parents.
- (3) Within 10 business days of receipt of the IHIP or by August 31, the school district shall either notify the parents that the IHIP complies with the requirements of subdivisions (d) and (e) of this section or shall give the parents written notice of any deficiency in the IHIP.
- (4) Within 15 days of receipt of a notice of a deficiency in the IHIP or by September 15, the parents shall submit a revised IHIP which corrects any such deficiencies.
- (5) The superintendent of schools shall review the revised IHIP and shall notify the parents as to whether the revised IHIP complies with subdivisions (d) and (e) of this section within 15 days of receipt of the revised IHIP or by September 30. If the revised IHIP is determined not to be in compliance with subdivisions (d) and (e) of this section, then the parents shall be notified in writing of the reasons for such determination. Such notice shall also contain the date of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board of education that will be held at least 10 days after the date of mailing of the notice, and shall indicate that if the parents wish to contest the determination of non-compliance, the parents must so notify the board of education at least 3 business days prior to the meeting. At such board meeting, the parents shall have the right to present proof of compliance, and the board of education shall make a final determination of compliance or non-compliance.
- (6) The parents shall have the right to appeal any such final school district determination of non-compliance to the Commissioner of Education within 30 days after receipt of such determination.
- (7) When administrative review of a school district determination of non-compliance is completed, the parents shall immediately provide for the instruction of their children at a public school or elsewhere in compliance with the Education Law sections 3204 and 3210. For purposes of this subdivision, such administrative review shall be deemed to be completed when The following events have occurred;
- (i) the parents have failed to contest a determination of non-compliance by appealing to the board of education; or
- (ii) the parents have failed to appeal a final school board district determination of non-compliance to the Commissioner of Education; or
- (iii) the parents have received a decision of the Commissioner of Education which upholds a final school district determination of non-compliance.
- (8) Within 10 days after administrative review of the determination of non-compliance is completed, the parents shall furnish the superintendent of schools with written notice of the arrangements they have made to provide their children with the required instruction, except that such notice shall not be required if the parents enroll their children in a public school.
(d) Content of IHIP. Each child’s IHIP shall contain:
- (1) the child’s name, age and grade level
- (2) a list of the syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks, or plan of instruction to be used in each of the required subjects listed in subdivision (e) of this section;
- (3) the dates for submission to the school district of the parents’ quarterly reports as required in subdivision (g) of this section. These reports shall be spaced in even and logical periods; and
- (4) the names of the individuals providing instruction.
(e) Required Courses.
- (1) For purposes of this subdivision, a unit means 6,480 minutes of instruction per school year.
- (2) instruction in the following subjects shall be required.
- (i) For grades 1 – 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.
- (ii) For grades 7 and 8: English (2 units); history and geography (2 units); science (2 units); mathematics (2 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 7 and 8.
- (iii) The following courses shall be taught at least once during the first eight grades: United states history, and the Constitution of the United States and New York State.
- (iv) For grades 9 through 12: English (4 units); social studies (4 units) which includes one unit of American History, one-half unit in participation government, and one-half unit economics; mathematics (2 units); science (2 units); art and/or music (1 unit); health education (one-half unit); physical education (2 units); and three units of electives.
- (v) Education Law sections 801, 804, 806, 808 also require the following subjects to be covered during grades K – 12:
- (a) Patriotism and citizenship;
- (b) health education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse;
- (c) highway safety and traffic regulations, including bicycle safety; and
- (d) fire and arson prevention and safety.
The units required herein are cumulative requirements for grades 9 through 12.
(f) Attendance Requirements. Each child shall attend upon instruction as follows:
- (1) the substantial equivalent of 180 days of instruction shall be provided each school year.
- (2) the cumulative hours of instruction for grades 1 through 6 shall be 900 hours per year and for grades 7 through 12 shall be 990 hours per year.
- (3) Absences shall be permitted on the same basis as provided in the policy of the school district for its own students;
- (4) Records of attendance shall be maintained by the parent and shall be made available to the school district upon request;
- (5) Instruction provided at a site other than the primary residence of the parents shall be provided in a building which has not been determined to be in violation of the local building code.
(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% of the amount of the course materials as set forth in the IHIP planned for that quarter has been covered in any subject.
(h) Annual Assessment. At the time of filing the fourth quarterly report as specified in the IHIP, the parent shall also file an annual assessment in accordance with this subdivision. The annual assessment shall include the results of a commercially published norm-referenced achievement test which meets the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subdivision or an alternative form of evaluation which meets the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subdivision.
- (1) Commercially published norm-referenced achievement tests.
- (i) The test shall be selected by the parents from The following: the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the California Achievement Tests, the Stanford Achievement Test, the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, the Metropolitan Achievement Test, A State Education Department test, or another test approved by the State Education Department.
- (ii) The test shall be administered in accordance with The following options to be selected by the parents:
- (a) at the public school, by its professional staff; or
- (b) at a registered non-public school, by its professional staff, provided that the consent of the chief school officer of the nonpublic school is obtained; or
- (c) at a non-registered non-public school, by its professional staff, provided that the consent of the superintendent of schools of the school district and of the chief school officer of the non-public school is obtained; or
- (d) at the parents’ home or at any other reasonable location, by a New York State certified teacher or by another qualified person, provided that the superintendent has consented to having said certified teacher or other person administer the test.
- (iii) The test shall be scored by the persons administering the test or by other persons who are mutually agreeable to the parents and the superintendent of schools.
- (iv) The test shall be provided by the school district upon request by the parent, provided that the cost of any testing facilities, transportation, and/or personnel for testing conducted at a location other than the public school shall be borne by the parent.
- (v) If a score on a test is determined to be inadequate, the program shall be placed on probation pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section. A student’s score shall be deemed adequate if :
- (a) the student has a composite score above the 33 percentile on national norms; or
- (b) the student’s score reflects one academic year of growth as compared to a test administered during or subsequent to the prior school year.
- (2) Alternative evaluation methods. An alternative form of evaluation shall be permitted to be chosen by the parent only as follows:
- (i) for grades 1 through 3: a written narrative prepared by a person specified in subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph.
- (ii) for grades 4 through 8: a written narrative prepared by a person specified in subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph. This alternative form of evaluation may be used no more often than every other school year for these grades.
- (iii) for the purposes of this paragraph, 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 and who certifies that the child has made adequate academic progress. The certified teacher, peer review panel, or other person shall be chosen by the parent with the consent of the superintendent. Any resulting cost shall be borne by the parent.
- (3) If a dispute arises between the parents over the administration of the commercially published norm-referenced achievement test or the use of alternative evaluation methods, the parents may appeal to the board of education. If the parents disagree with the determination of the board of education, the parents may appeal to the Commissioner of Education within 30 days of receipt of the board’s final determination.
- (i) Probation.
- (1) If a child’s annual assessment fails to comply with the requirements of subdivision (h) of this section, the home instruction program shall be placed on probation for a period of up to two (2) school years. The parents shall be required to submit a plan of remediation which addresses the deficiencies in the child’s achievement, and seeks to remedy said deficiencies. The plan shall be reviewed by the school district. The school district may require the parents to make changes in the plan prior to acceptance.
- (2) If after the end of any semester of the probationary period the child progresses to the level specified in the remediation plan, then the home instruction program shall be removed from probation. If the child does not attain at least 75% of the objectives specified in the remediation plan at the end of any given semester within the period of probation, or if after two (2) years on probation 100% of the objectives of the remediation plan have not been satisfied, the superintendent of schools shall provide the parents with the notice specified in paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of this section and the board of education shall review the determination of noncompliance in accordance with such paragraph, except that consent of the parents to such review shall not be required.
- (3) If during the period of probation the superintendent of schools has reasonable grounds to believe that the program of home instruction is in substantial noncompliance with these regulations the superintendent may require one or more home visits. Such home visit(s) shall be made only after three (3) days’ written notice. The purpose of such visits(s) shall be to ascertain areas of noncompliance with these regulations and to determine methods of any such deficiencies. The home visit(s) shall be conducted by the superintendent or by the superintendent’s designee. The superintendent may include members of a home instruction peer review panel in the home visit team.
- (i) Probation.
Regulation Revisions Subparagraph (iii) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) of section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education has been revised to clarify that the person who prepares a written narrative as an alternative evaluation method must certify either that the child has made adequate academic progress or has not and that the home instruction program will be placed on probation if the child has not made adequate progress. Paragraph (3) of subdivision (h) of section 100.10 has been revised to indicate that disputes between the parents and the superintendent of schools, including disputes over the administration of norm-referenced achievement test or the use of alternative evaluation methods, may be appealed to the board of education. Lillian HaasInterestingly, I just sent a note to someone who inquired to me personally about NY. Here’s most of my reply to her:
I’d have to say that it appears in NY you can “get away with” things depending on the knowledge and personality of the local school district personnel in charge of homeschooling. Remember, they’re all dealing with things a lot more pressing than parents taking responsibility for their own kids’ educations. Some districts let many things, shall we say, slide, because they’re just too busy to check out what paperwork they *do* receive.
In other words, Michelle, there is no “blanket” positive or negative response to all this, and the safest, most direct thing to do is try to get in touch with someone who actually lives in the school district under whose “supervision” you will be. Additionally, you can reach Katharine Houk at AllPIEKJH@aol.com. She is co-director of the Alliance for Parental Involvement in Ed. While it has a national tone, Katharine is likely “up” on NYS and may have a contact in your area.
We’ve gotten away with unschooling because we learned how to translate what we do into “educationese” for the silly quarterly reports (which are the paperwork requirements you’ve heard about). It’s actually quite easy, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Actually the yearly standardized testing is a bit misleading. That doesn’t have to begin until 4th grade, and until then a written evaluation by someone you and the school agree can write it is an option, as it’s also an option every other year until 8th grade. In our school district, the parents write it! (Again, practicing their abilities to translate English into educationese!)
Additionally, after 8th grade, when the yearly standardized testing becomes “mandatory,” in our district they have over the years administered fewer and fewer “parts” of the test, and last year when I called to inquire about it I was told they’re only testing every other grade so there wasn’t a test to be administered for 8th grade for my son, and they definitely stopped yearly testing when all three of my kids (the oldest now 19) had hit high school age. (One thing I do remember – NY also administers PEP tests in particular subject areas – hsers are NOT required to take these, though you may be led to believe otherwise by a less-than-knowledgable administrator so be careful there.)
Good luck to you and your family.