General Information

HOMESCHOOLING: General Information

Are parents permitted to educate their children at home?

Yes.  the Education Law permits the education of children at home, provided that children of compulsory education age receive full-time instruction, and are taught by competent teachers and receive instruction that is substantially equivalent to that provided at the public schools of the student's district or residences.                                                                                               

Must parents educating their children at home adhere to laws and regulations regarding home instruction?

Yes. The Education Law imposes upon parents a duty to ensure that their children receive appropriate instruction.  Further, the state has a legitimate and compelling interest in ensuring that its children receive an education that will prepare them to be productive members of society.

When a school district is unable to obtain information from parents regarding home instruction and has insufficient evidence that appropriate instruction is taking place, it is obligated to report the case to the central registry as a case of suspected educational neglect pursuant to Social Services Law section 413.

What specific provisions govern home instruction?

Sections 3204(2), 3210(2)(d), and 3212(2) of the Education Law, and section 100.10 of the commissioner's regulations, set forth the requirements that must be met by parents who wish to educate their children at home.  Parents must, for instance, develop an individualized home instruction plan; submit quarterly reports; and file an annual assessment indicating the student's progress.  The regulations also provide detailed requirements for courses to be taught, required attendance, and student evaluation.

What are responsibilities of parents who educate their children at home?

The parents or other persons in parental relation to students of compulsory education age wishing to educate their children at home must do the following:                                                  
  • Notify the superintendent of schools in writing each year by July 1 of their intention to educate their children at home.  If they move into the district or decide to educate their child at home after the start of the school year, they must provide notice within 14 days of commencing home instruction.
  • Submit an individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) for each child of compulsory attendance age to be instructed at home within four weeks of receipt of the form provided by the district or by August 15, whichever is later.  The plan must contain, among other items, a list of the syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks or plan of instruction to be used in each of the required subjects noted in the regulations, and the names of the person(s) to provide instruction or a statement that the child will be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours at a degree granting institution.  The school district will provide assistance in developing the IHIP, if the parent so requests.
  • Submit quarterly reports for each child to the school district on the dates specified in the IHIP.  Each report must contain the number of hours of instruction; a description of the material covered in each subject; either a grade for the child in each subject or a written narrative evaluating the child's progress; and a written explanation if less then 80 percent of the course material set out in the IHIP was covered in any subject.
  • File an annual assessment of the student at the same time as the fourth quarterly report.  The assessment must be based on the results of a commercially published norm-referenced achievement test, such as the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or California Basic Educational Skills Test, or an alternative form of evaluation that meets the regulatory requirements.  The test must be administered by the professional staff at a public or nonpublic school or at the child's home by a certified teacher or other qualified person, including the child's parent.  The superintendent's consent is required when such a test is administered at a non-registered nonpublic school or at the child's home.  The commissioner of education has ruled that a student must take a commercially prepared achievement test despite his parents' objection that the test "conflicted with their personal philosophy".


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