The Absolute Basics of Homeschooling in NY
I just want to know what I have to do. What are the exact steps I have to take to be allowed to homeschool in NY? I’ll get to the curriculum and the philosophy later, just tell me what to do to get started.
Homeschooling in NY can seem daunting at first. There’s paperwork, assessments, and something called being “out of compliance”. I’m going to break down the very most basic steps to homeschooling in NY. We’ll explore IHIP content, quarterly report crafting, and end of the year assessments in later posts.
1. Letter of Intent. You’ll often see this referred to as an ‘LOI’. This letter serves as notice to your district that you will now be homeschooling your child(ren). It is due by July 1st OR WITHIN 14 DAYS OF COMMENCING HOMESCHOOLING. Depending on your district, this letter gets sent to the office of the Superintendent, the BOCES office that serves your district, or the office of homeschooling (NYC only). Your LOI should be short and simple, like this:
Your name + Address
Office to receive the LOI + Address
To whom it may concern,
We are sending this letter of intent to home school as required in Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education.
We intend to homeschool our daughter, Janie Doe (currently enrolled in grade 3) for the 2019-2020 school year.
Please confirm receipt of this LOI at your earliest convenience.
Feel free to copy that template. It can literally be that simple.
2. Individualized Home Instruction Plan. Commonly referred to as an IHIP, this is the map of what you’d like to do with your child throughout the year. This should be detailed enough to be an actual plan without being so detailed that it boxes you in to a rigid schedule. You’ll have to address certain subjects, based on age, but there are no requirements on how you must address those subjects. I’ll go into more detail on the IHIP in another post.
3. 4 Quarterly Reports. Often referred to as “quarterlies”. These are sent in at logical intervals to the district. You may use the dates they give you or you may identify your own in your IHIP. By the end of the 4th quarterly, your child should have completed at least 80% of the goals stated in their IHIP. A simple statement on the 4th quarter report will suffice.
Janie has completed at least 80 % of her IHIP goals in each subject listed on this report.
4. Annual assessment. This is by far the piece that gives most people some level of anxiety. Please don’t let this incredibly basic requirement do this to you. You do NOT need to test every year. Students in grades 1-3 do not need to test at all and may submit a written narrative instead. Students in grades 4-8 may test every other year and submit a narrative in the “off” years. (Pro tip: if tests give you or your child anxiety, make 4th grade your off year and test only in grades 5 & 7.) In grades 9-12 students must test every year. You have a choice in which test you give. (Pro tip: you also have the ability to give the exam more than once and only submit the compose score you like.) I recommend the CAT. It’s basic and you do not need a degree to administer it. Once it’s scored, you submit the sheet with the composite score (not the individual scores) with your 4th quarter report. I’ll go into more detail on testing in a future post.
That’s it! One LOI, one IHIP, 4 quarterlies, and an assessment you can write or administer yourself. Once you get the basics down, there’s nothing stopping you from having a wonderful and ease filled homeschool year!