Homeschooling help: navigating through education options


FILE – In this April 9, 2020, file photo, Sunnyside Elementary School fourth-grader Miriam Amacker does school work in her room at her family’s home in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- New York has several requirements that students must meet for home instruction as well as paperwork and quarterly reports. Despite these requirements, there are a multitude of ways home instruction or homeschool can be delivered.

Every parent/caregiver of a student must submit a “letter of intent” to provide home instruction regardless of the grade the child is going into. Once received by the school district, parents/caregivers should receive a letter of acknowledgment within 10 days, according to the New York State Department of Education (NYSED).

The next step is to submit an Individual Home Instruction Plan, or IHIP as it’s commonly referred to. While it may seem overwhelming to parents/caregivers to put together an educational plan for their children there are many options available, even for parents who feel that they cannot provide instruction.

New York Home Educators Network provides a question and answer section, multiple links, and resources for parents/caregivers including a list of homeschooling groups throughout the state.

Parents/caregivers can teach their children if they feel comfortable but there are also online schools throughout the U.S. Programs can in some cases be tailored for affordability. Many also offer tutoring or one-on-one teacher time.

Consumer Affairs 2020 top online kindergarten through high school programs can be found here. In addition, reviews are available for the top-ranked schools. Online school reviews can also be found on school social media sites.

Although online schools can offer a structured educational format, parents or caregivers will still have to provide physical education. Outside of providing weekly physical education, parents/caregivers have the flexibility to provide activities that appeal to children like dance, sports, or gymnastics. This requirement can also be met through martial arts classes.

The NYSED website says school districts must be notified a student will be instructed at home by July 1, but parents/caregivers can choose to begin home instruction at any point during the school year by providing at least two weeks’ notice.

Some colleges like Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) offer a high school equivalency program under its Individual Studies program. The program allows students to earn the equivalency of a high school diploma after completion of 24 credit hours.

Designed with high school seniors in mind, financial aid is available for families and the 24 credits can be used towards one of HVCC’s degree programs. New York State will not bestow a high school equivalency diploma on a student who hasn’t reached the minimum compulsory age of 16. There are no restrictions on high school students taking college-level courses prior to becoming a senior but financial aid is not available.

Home instruction resources

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