Frequently Asked Questions

Feel free to email us some of your own, so other homeschoolers can benefit

Today’s most flexible and diverse educational option is homeschooling. The multiplicity of homeschooling styles mirrors the diversity of persons who opt for this mode of education. Each family’s experience with homeschooling is unique. Following state requirements, on the other hand, is a universal first step for everyone. Before families can start looking for curriculum or resources, they must first research their state legislation. For other families, homeschooling may be a totally online curriculum for key courses, textbooks paired with homeschool co-ops seminars, or anything in between. As a resource and support organization we receive many questions about homeschooling, so here’s a rundown of some of our most frequently asked homeschool questions. If your question isn’t answered here, please check out our blogs or message us on Facebook. LIGHT is here to support you and provide you with the proper resources for your homeschooling journey.

Is it legal to Homeschool?

YES! It is legal to homeschool your children in all 50 states. Each state as their own regulation or laws that you will need to follow. Its always best to first get your regulations or home education laws from your state’s Dept. of Education website. Then you can follow up on the details from a local homeschool group.

If you live anywhere in New York State, these are the links to the regulations and Q and A. I suggest you print them out and read them often. It will help you feel more confident if your school district asks for something that is not part of the regulation. This happens often because most public school employees are not educated Home Education Regulations.

<a title=”Official New York Homeschool Regulations” href=”http://www.p12.nysed.gov/part100/pages/10010.html” target=”_blank”>Official New York Homeschool Regulations</a>
<a title=”Official Homeschool Regulations Q&amp;A” href=”http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/homeinstruction/homeschoolingqanda.html” target=”_blank”>Official Homeschool Regulations Q&amp;A</a>

What about socialization?

Homeschoolers are often adept at socialization because they are out talking to so many people! Join a local yahoogroup or facebook group of homeschoolers to find local homeschool activities and trips. Before you know it, you will have so much to do you will have to make some decisions about cutting down on social activities.

How do I decide what curriculum to use?

Odds are, whatever you start with is not what you will end up using. It often takes some experimentation and time to figure out the rhythms and preferences of your family education. Take some time to think about your family values and your educational values, and don’t be afraid to try different things. Plan, but be flexible. Some of the most delightful educational moments happen when you let your children show you the way.

I just decided to homeschool but I'm nervous about the regulations

Don’t worry! Even though NY state is one of the most regulated states regarding homeschooling, all you have to submit is a Letter of Intent, an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP), and 4 quarterly reports.

Standardized Testing is required every other year starting from 4th grade and up.

Just start with a letter of intent, and they will send you a pamphlet telling you what to do next. Ask for help if you need it. It’s really very simple and not as complicated as you fear.

<a title=”Official New York Homeschool Regulations” href=”http://www.p12.nysed.gov/part100/pages/10010.html” target=”_blank”>Official New York Homeschool Regulations</a>
<a title=”Official Homeschool Regulations Q&amp;A” href=”http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/homeinstruction/homeschoolingqanda.html” target=”_blank”>Official Homeschool Regulations Q&amp;A</a>

My school district is asking for more info than the regulations require, is there another level of oversight?

No! Some districts are not educated in New York’s Homeschool Regulations. You are your own best advocate. Although when you first read the regulations and Q and A it may seem overwhelming, but it will make sense as you read it through a few times.

If your districts gives you a hard time, you can contact the moderators at LIGHT and someone will step in to help direct you on where to go.

Official New York Homeschool Regulations
Official Homeschool Regulations Q&A

I heard it's expensive to homeschool, is this true?

Homeschooling on Long Island and in New York can be as inexpensive or pricey as you see fit, and all scales in between. Many a child received an excellent education with a library card and an involved parent. Some parents opt to get a full curriculum including teacher support. Most parents are found somewhere in the middle.

When a parent can pick and choose the level or focus their child needs, their education becomes customized and children tend to reach their greatest potential with a tailor made education.

I hear the paperwork is overwhelming in NY, can you help?

Yes, it can be daunting for a newcomer!  You are the one that knows your child best and must fill out the paperwork, but most of us have systemized it to be painless.

If you need pointers, joining a support group can be helpful. 

You should also check out this article by Kathrine Houk “Demystifying the Regulations” here https://longislandhomeschool.com/articles/demystifying-the-regulations/

LOI, IHIP and Quarterly samples will be coming soon to this website.

Is it permissible to homeschool a child who is receiving special education or supplemental services?

Yes, you can. And you can continue to receive services.

Can a homeschooled child continue to receive services stated in their IEP?

Yes, unless it is for a deficit that would not negatively impact their education at home.

Homeschooling vs. public schooling: how do I choose?

When selecting whether or not to homeschool your child, there are several factors to consider. The type of curriculum you want to use, the teaching approach, and the amount of time and dedication you have. The truth is that you know your child best, therefore when weighing your alternatives, bear in mind the resources your child requires to grow.

What are the benefits to homeschooling?

There are many benefits to homeschooling such as academic flexibility, personal autonomy/ independence, socialization and freedom to travel. In some cases it is also an opportunity to bring the family closer together and create stronger bonds.

What are the homeschool laws in New York/ by state?

Homeschooling laws differ from state to state, and sometimes also from county to county within a state. If you want to find out the details of your state’s and county’s homeschool laws, a good place to start is to look at the laws in your state. Do not rely on the school system to tell you how to proceed. Many people within the system itself do not even know or understand the homeschooling laws.

What is the process for homeschool standardized tests?

Every year, some sort of academic assessment is usually required in most states. This might take the form of a portfolio review, or your child may be required by law to submit to standardized testing. Some states offer a choice. This is the sort of information that your board of education will probably include in their initial information package or on their website. Read this article to learn more about the related legal requirements

How to homeschool for my special needs child?

An increasing number of parents are discovering that homeschooling can be a fantastic way to meet their children’s special education needs. Your child will have all the support they need to enjoy and succeed in a homeschooling programme, with diverse learning styles, one-on-one instruction, resources, tools, and a variety of services available to meet particular learning challenges.

What types of homeschooling are there?

There are many different learning styles that have different aims of focus. For example, the aim of eclectic homeschooling is to customize the teachings to fit the learner. Whereas the Waldorf approach emphasizes creativity and imagination at all stages of the child’s development, and the Mason method emphasized the importance of developing good habits to govern one’s temperament and laying a solid foundation of good moral values.

Read this article to learn more about the purpose behind the many different homeschooling methods.