Are NYS Special Needs Homeschoolers Required to File IEPs?


My family has been homeschooling in beautiful upstate New York for the past 32 years.

We became NYS special needs homeschoolers in 2005, when I officially began homeschooling my daughter, Bethany!

If you are thinking about homeschooling your special needs child in NY, you may be wondering if NYS special needs homeschoolers are required to file IEPs with their school districts.

The answer to that question is no! You are not required to file an IEP.  However, you are required to file an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP).

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Even though I don’t have to file an IEP for Bethany, I write her IHIP as if it were an IEP.  In her IHIP, I include the specialized life skills goals and objectives I want her to work on. This assures me that I’m providing her with a well rounded and individualized quality education.

What information do I include in Bethany’s IHIP?

When I’m developing Bethany’s new IHIP each year, I like to take a few days to observe her.  Then I analyze how things have been going.

At this time, I’ll review her current IHIP to be sure we’re still on schedule with the goals and objectives I’ve already planned.  If I need to carry over any unmet goals, I’ll include them in her new IHIP along with new goals.

If you need help coming up with goals and objectives a quick internet search will get you all the information you need. In my opinion, this is the best way to plan new activities and learning experiences.

it’s also important to me to add any physical fitness and social goals,and life skills goals into Beth’s IHIP.

If Bethany is receiving occupational, physical, speech, or hippo therapy, I’ll include therapy goals in her IHIP, too.

In NYS special needs homeschoolers can request that the school district perform speech, occupational, and physical therapy evaluations. If it’s determined a homeschooled child needs such services, the school district is required to offer them. However, families are not required to accept them!

By August, I’m required to submit our completed IHIP to our school district for approval.

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) will notify me if our IHIP has been approved or if I need to make any changes to our plan. However, they cannot deny our right to homeschool Bethany.

What else are NYS special needs homeschoolers required to do?

By April, I must inform our CSE what type of annual assessment I’ll be administering to Bethany.  At this time, I also need to tell them whether or not she’ll be homeschooling the next year.

In NYS special needs homeschoolers are required to file an end of school year assessment with our school district.  However, Bethany isn’t capable of completing a standardized test.  Thankfully, our school district allows me to send in a written narrative of Bethany’s accomplishments instead.  If I wanted to, I could choose to have her tested by an independent professional or ask the school psychologist to test her for me.

Thinking about homeschooling your special needs child and wondering what your state requires?  I highly recommend checking out the Homeschool Defense Associaltion prior to informing your school district, just to make sure you know where you stand legally.

You might also be interested in NYS Homeschooling Regs. for Special Needs Students, Creating Homeschool IEP Goals and Objectives, Special Needs Accommodations and Modifications, and 8 Reasons Why I Homeschool My Special Needs Daughter.

*Disclaimer: The information in this post is not to be misconstrued as legal advice. I am not a lawyer. If you plan to homeschool your special needs child please contact your school district, HSLDA, or a lawyer before commencing your homeschool program to ensure that you are doing so legally!

*Please note: A version of this post was written a couple of years ago for Different Dream Living. Bethany is actually beyond compulsory school age now and we are no longer officially homeschooling her.  
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*This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks in advance if you should decide to purchase an item through one of our links at not extra cost to you. 100% of all commissions earned from sales go directly toward providing a better quality of life for our daughter, Bethany, a brave brain tumor survivor and special girl!

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