Homeschool parents in New Mexico report their homeschool participation to the state annually through an online portal.


New Mexico is located in the western United States and legalized homeschooling in 1985.


Parents seeking to homeschool in New Mexico for students ages 5 to 18 must notify the state within 30 days of withdrawal from public school and update annually. The State Department of Education has a site parents can use to report, which may simplify record-keeping for all parties in comparison to other states reporting methods.

The state defines homeschooling as “a parent or legal guardian of a school-age person [that] operates a home study program, including, but not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.” Therefore, instruction in certain subjects is required. Further, students must receive instruction for 180 days on a 5-day per week schedule, for a total of 1,140 hours per year. There is no testing requirement for homeschooled students in the state.

The operator in a homeschool in New Mexico must be the parent or legal guardian of the student. While someone else may provide instruction, the parent is responsible for maintaining records and for reporting. The parent or other person providing instruction in a homeschool in New Mexico must have at least a GED and a copy of the degree or diploma must be kept in the records.

Access to public school offerings is unclear. While one source says there is very limited access to extracurricular activities, NMED contradicts this information, saying that “the local public school district is required to allow home school students to participate in sports and extracurricular activities if they meet certain requirements.” However, those “certain requirements” are unclear. See here for more information. Access for homeschooled students to special education services is also unclear.

State Data

While New Mexico requires parents to report homeschool participation annually, the state did not collect and report homeschool participation until 2018. Since then, homeschool participation in the state has grown and spiked during the pandemic.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in New Mexico from 2013 to 2023, with rates slightly increasing in 2014 and slightly dropping in 2018 and 2019, spiking in 2020, and then dropping again in 2021.

U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 6.4% of New Mexico families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 14.3% by the fall of 2020. Pre- and post-pandemic levels exceeded the national averages of 5.4% and 11.1% during the same time period. These survey estimates are for total families homeschooling, not the percentage of students homeschooling. The percentage of homeschooled students would be much higher, as families often have more than one child. During the 2022 and 2023 school years, the U.S. Census found that an average of 5% of all K-12 students in New Mexico were homeschooled.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

During the 2019-20 academic year, 2.5% of New Mexico’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Homeschool participation in the state was about half the 5% of private school students. The percentage of New Mexico students attending charter schools was higher than homeschool and private school participation in the state, at nearly 7.5%. In 2021-22, 3.3% of New Mexico’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Homeschool participation in the state was about half the 6% of private school students. The percentage of New Mexico students attending charter schools also increased to 8.6%.

A pie chart showing home, charter, private, and traditional public school percentages in New Mexico in 2021-22

School Choice Context

New Mexico parents have multiple school choice options. These include enrollment in traditional public schools, where both inter- and intra-district choice is allowed, as well as private, magnet, charter, and virtual online schools. New Mexico does not provide public funding for any nonpublic schooling options, including homeschooling. Homeschooled students are eligible for the college lottery scholarship.


New Mexico could improve transparency about homeschool participation in the state and in the nation by reporting information by district or county (items that they currently collect but do not report) and any other information that they collect about students, such as grade or age, gender, and race. It is also worth mentioning that the compulsory attendance ages in New Mexico are both the earliest (5 years old) and the oldest (18 years old) in the country. Few states have a 13-year requirement. New Mexico is also one of three states with the largest Native American population in the nation. Oklahoma and South Dakota also have large Native American populations and 13-year compulsory education requirements.

Last updated December 2023.