Now that school is out and summer is about half over, some of you may be thinking about homeschooling your special little ones rather than sending them back to school in September. If you live in New York, here is some information that you might find helpful.
You can download general homeschooling regulations for any state at Homeschool Legal Defense Association: Homeschool State Laws.
You can find more information about homeschooling in NYS at NYSED’s Laws and Regulations. For information about homeschooling in other states just log on to the state’s of your choice Department of Education Website.
Following is a brief synopsis of NYS laws for all homeschooled students including those with disabilities.
Compulsory Attendance Ages:
6 years on or before December 1 of any school year to the school year that the minor becomes sixteen. However, if the minor is not employed the school board can vote to raise the age to seventeen.
Required Days of Instruction:180 days- 900 hours for grades 1-6, and 990 hours for grades 7-12. Parents must maintain attendance records.
Parents must submit to the school an IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) outlining the students course of instruction. The following subjects are required.
Grades K-12- patriotism, citizenship, substance abuse, traffic safety, and fire safety. Grades 1-6- math, reading, spelling, writing, English, geography, US History, science, health, music, visual arts, and phys ed.
Grades 7-8- English, history, geography, science, math, phys ed, health, art, music, practical arts, and library skills. Parents must submit to the school a description of the material they will cover. Parents must submit an end of year evaluation. For grades 1-3 it can be a written narrative. For grades 4-8 narratives can be alternated every other year with a standardized test. for Grades 9-12 it must be a standardized test.
For a complete set of questions and answers about homeschooling in NYS you can visit NYSED.
Special Instructions for Special Needs Students
You can read this copy of the Memo on Special Education Services to Home Instructed Students.
In NYS, schools must provide evaluations and special services to homeschooled students with disabilities. Services such as Speech, occupational, and physical therapy are usually provided at the school but they can be arranged to be done in the student’s home also.
If done at school, the school must offer transportation.
Parents of homeschooled students have the right to refuse any or all special services offered by the school. However, if the parents do refuse any recommended services they must be prepared to demonstrate that they are providing their child with equivalent services. The services can be provided in different ways than specified by the school district.
Parents of special students do not need to submit an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). An IHIP is required however.
A written narrative or a standardized test can be used as an end of year evaluation for special needs homeschooled students.
Personally Bethany has received services from our local school in the past both at the school and at home. Due to the unpredictability of Bethany’s seizure disorder we decide to discontinue all services recommended and offered by our school. When the CSE chairperson (who had never discontinued services for a child before) called NYSED for instruction on how to properly discontinue services, NYSED suggested that they call CPS because we were not complying with her IEP. Thankfully our CSE chairperson explained our situation to NYSED and Bethany was simply exited from the program. Now I always strongly recommend that all homeschooling families join the Homeschool Legal Defense Association just in case.