New York is one of the states that some people think is difficult for homeschooling. Not necessarily, unless you have someone in your district who has decided to target homeschoolers for harassment – which does occasionally happen.
The regs are not as bad as you might think. Homeschooling in New York doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you read and understand them, politely stick to them, and not back down or allow yourself to be confused or intimidated.
I have seen the official form of the regs, and they are OK, but here is a link to download a copy of the regulations that is VERY easy to read because it has been formatted to be so, with helpful bolding, underlining, font colors, highlighting and tables defining instructional hours more clearly than the way the regulations make it sound.
INAPPROPRIATE REQUESTS FROM DISTRICTS
Occasionally, school districts overstep their authority, sometimes innocently (as a result of misapplying to us regulations written for PUBLIC SCHOOL students), sometimes…not so much.
In recent years, districts across the state have been trying to create student databases which, if you are in public school is unavoidable, but they have no authority to do that with homeschoolers. Some districts have even been insisting we register for ‘homeschool programs;’ requesting, nay, sometimes demanding, birth certificates (!); and even asking for proof of residence. Seriously?
- First, only ‘Section 100.10 of Regulations of the Commissioner of Education’ pertains to us, and nothing more.
- Districts have NO AUTHORITY to establish any policies or procedures which add to or contradict them. So…
- NOTHING in the regulations requires us to “register” for any “homeschool program.”In fact, according the NYSED.gov Q&As on home instruction (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/homeinstruction/homeschoolingqanda.html), the A to the very first Q clearly states “Parents are not required to register their child…if they plan to provide home instruction.”
- Trust me, we wouldn’t be sending a Letter of Intent if our children weren’t of compulsory age, and we have no reason to lie about their date of birth which, by the way, is only obliged to be put on the IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Program), but birth certificates are not mandated.
- As for demonstrating residence, if the home address on the Letter of Intent and IHIP is not enough, they have bigger problems, because 6-year-olds generally don’t get much mail outside of, maybe, birthday cards. Come on! We have no reason to report to a district in which we don’t reside – we gain nothing by doing so, only paperwork.
- On the other hand, “The district is obligated to reply within 10 business days of receiving the notice of intent by sending to the parents a copy of C.R. 100.10 and a form on which to submit an IHIP.” Believe it or not, there is at least one district that is refusing to do this as of this writing.
Aside from the above points, there is nothing in the Regulations that requires us to provide anything beyond what is specified within them, so DON’T. (As with kids, give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.)
So take a breath, get a spine, and write nice polite letters to the poor burdened souls working at the district office. Letters help make sure that no one forgets what has been said, minimizes misunderstandings and helps you keep track of your interactions and any requests and when they occurred. If they ask for something you do not see in the regulations, ask them to please tell you what part of the regulations they are referring to, and often this clears things up.