State Law: New York

New York compulsory school attendance age

Children must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws starting in the school year in which they turn 6 on or before December 1. They must remain in school up until the last day of session in the school year in which they turn 16, or until they graduate from high school.

However, any local board of education can vote to raise the compulsory attendance age in its school district from 16 to 17 for minors who are not employed.

HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under New York law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver’s license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.

Withdrawing your child from his or her current school

If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.

We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for New York available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.

We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.

Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.

Complying with New York’s homeschool law

1. Submit a notice of intent. 

You must submit a notice of intent to homeschool to the district superintendent by July 1 (the beginning of the school year) annually, or within 14 days of establishing your new homeschool program during the school year. HSLDA has a notice of intent form for our members’ use available on our website. For families who live in New York City (within Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island), this notice, and all homeschooling correspondence, should instead be submitted to the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Home Schooling at 333 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001. Additionally, HSLDA members should contact us if withdrawing a child from a New York City public school in the middle of the school year, as there could be special considerations to be aware of.

2. Submit an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP). 

Each school year, you must submit an IHIP by August 15 or within four weeks of the receipt of the IHIP form from the school district (whichever is later). The IHIP form requires you to submit your child’s name, age, and grade level; a list of your syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks, or plan of instruction; dates for submission of quarterly reports; and the name of whoever is giving the instruction. The IHIP form can be downloaded by HSLDA members from our website.

If applicable, your IHIP should include, along with the subjects to be covered, a statement indicating that your student will be meeting the compulsory educational requirements through full-time study (at least 12 hours a semester) at a degree-granting institution.

3. Comply with day, hour, and subject requirements. 

You must maintain records of attendance each year demonstrating that your child’s attendance meets the “substantial equivalent” of 180 days per year. Attendance records are only required to be submitted to the school district upon request of the superintendent.

In addition to the day requirement, homeschooled students are required to meet hourly attendance requirements: 900 hours of school per year in grades 1–6, and 990 hours of school per year in grades 7–12.

The subject requirements are outlined below:

Grades K–12

  • Patriotism and citizenship
  • About substance abuse
  • Traffic safety (including bike safety)
  • Fire safety

Grades 1–6

  • Arithmetic
  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Writing
  • English
  • Geography
  • U.S. history
  • Science
  • Health
  • Music
  • Visual arts
  • Physical education

Grades 7–8

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • History and geography
  • Science
  • Health
  • Music
  • Art
  • Practical arts
  • Physical education
  • Library skills

At least once before grade 9

  • U.S. and New York history and constitutions

Grades 9–12

  • Mathematics (2 credits)
  • English (4 credits)
  • Social studies, including American history, participation in government, and economics (4 credits)
  • Science (2 credits)
  • Art or music (1 credit)
  • Health (½ credit)
  • Physical education (2 credits)
  • Electives (3 credits)

4. File quarterly reports. 

Reports must be submitted to the district superintendent each quarter. These should include the number of hours of instruction during the quarter, a description of the material covered in each subject, and a grade or narrative evaluation in each subject. Quarterly report forms are available to HSLDA members on our website.

5. Assess your child annually. 

An annual assessment is required every year. In grades 1–3, you can have your student take a standardized test or you can choose to submit a written narrative evaluation for your student. In grades 4–8, standardized testing is required at least every other year, with the written narrative evaluation available as an option in the years you do not use a standardized testing option. So, for example, you could use a written narrative evaluation in grade 4, but would need to use a standardized test in grade 5, and so on. Standardized testing is required every year in high school.

    • Standardized tests can be administered at the local public school or a registered nonpublic school. A test can also be administered in your home, or at any other reasonable location, by a New York–certified teacher or by another qualified person (including the student’s parent) with the consent of the superintendent. You can obtain consent by simply notifying the superintendent in your third quarterly report what test you will be using and who will be administering it.

      To demonstrate satisfactory progress, your student’s composite score must be above the 33rd percentile, or the score must reflect one academic year of growth compared to a test administered the prior school year.

      You may choose one of the following tests: Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the California Achievement Test, the Stanford Achievement Test, the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, the Metropolitan Achievement Test, a State Education Department Test, or another test approved by the State Education Department, such as the Personalized Achievement Summary System (PASS) test.

  • Written narrative evaluations may be conducted by a certified teacher, a home instruction peer group review panel, or other person with the consent of the local superintendent. Just as with the standardized test, you can obtain implied consent by notifying the superintendent in your third quarterly report that you will be submitting a written narrative evaluation and by whom it will be prepared.

The importance of recordkeeping

You can find New York’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.