NYS Homeschooling Regs. for Special Needs Students

Homeschooling regs NYS

A version of this post was previously published in 2013.
This post contains affiliate links.

 Homeschooling Regs for Special Needs: Get Started Homeschooling in NYS Here!


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 and are thinking about homeschooling next year,  here is some information that you might find helpful.

NYS Homeschool regs
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You can download general homeschooling regulations for any state at Homeschool Legal Defense Association: Homeschool State Laws.

You can find more information about NYS homeschooling Regs for special needs students 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 homeschooledstudents 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.

Required Subjects

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 it has been decided that therapies will be done at school, the school must also 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. 

These 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.

My daughter, Bethany has received services from our local school in the past both at the school and at home.

However, 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.

So now I always strongly recommend that all homeschooling families join the Homeschool Legal Defense Association just in case.

First Steps to Homeschooling Your Special Needs Child

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8 Replies to “NYS Homeschooling Regs. for Special Needs Students

  1. well written and printed out for future reference Right now Matthew has an awesome (christian) woman as a teacher, and we won the battle for him to have his one on one aide. Actually we got better… this September his one on one aide is a LPN, licensed to administer his albuterol, and his seizure meds. I’m encouraged.

    Good luck with Bethany.

    1. Yesit is nice Tiffani. We’ve been homeschooling in this district for 30 years without any problems, but with every superintendent and CSE Chairperson change I still get a little anxious about how the new guy might feel about it. That’s why I am a member of HSLDA

  2. How can special needs students be required to take standardized tests? I know that if students don’t perform well on the tests, a parent’s right to homeschool can be revoked. What happens when a child can’t test?

    I found this blog looking up info about homeschool in NYS. I’ve been considering it for my stepson especially. He’s 6, almost 7, in 1st grade, and hasn’t yet been diagnosed but I know there are disabilities there (waiting for the full eval). I’ve been considering pulling him to homeschool but I’m worried because I know he won’t perform at or even near grade level on standardized tests.

    1. Children with severe special needs such as my daughter are exempt from standardized testing. We were told several years ago that a student needs to be about 2 or 3 years behind grade level to be considered for alternate testing. I don’t know if it’s still that much. The regs say that a child needs to make one year’s progress every year-not that they need to be at grade level every year. I understand totally why you are worried about this issue, though because it is scary. If your son is diagnosed with a disability through your school district I would think that they would take that into consideration and act accordingly. They won’t be expecting him to test at grade level. I personally would join HSLDA before I ever even mention to the school district that you are planning to pull him out of school so that you will have legal representation if needed. The bottom line is that they can’t stop you from homeschooling. If I can be of more help please feel free to comment again or contact me through my contact page!

      Here is more info that you may find helpful also- http://www.faithfulmomof9.com/first-steps-to-homeschooling-your-special-needs-child-in-nys/

      Good luck Bonnie!

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