New York collects but does not publicly report homeschool participation information. Access to public school offerings, including special needs services, is restricted.

History

New York is in the northeastern United States. Homeschooling has been legal in New York since 1987.

Regulation

Those interested in homeschooling children between the ages of 6 and 16 in the state of New York must provide a written notice of intent form to the local superintendent by July before the academic year begins. The school or district then sends homeschool regulations and a home instruction plan form to complete and return. Parents must identify the curricular materials they plan to use in the required subject areas. There are no education requirements for parents who wish to educate their children at home. Additionally, New York allows for a hired tutor to conduct the instruction. Required subjects vary by age/grade band and are quite detailed. Homeschooled students must test or be evaluated annually, and parents must keep and provide attendance records on demands from the district. Further, parents must provide quarterly reports. Students are required to meet daily and hourly instruction requirements.

There is no state policy for homeschooled student access to public school classes or activities. In fact, it appears that no nonpublic students of any kind have access to public school offerings, like courses and extracurricular activities, in New York. Some limited access to school-sponsored clubs may be available (CR135.1), but these students must provide proof of vaccination prior to participation. Homeschooled students cannot access special needs services (N.Y. Edn. Law §3602-c (2-c).

State Data

New York requires that all parents file homeschool participation information with the local school district, annually. However, the state does not report homeschool participation data. Researchers with The Washington Post recently collected participation data by district. According to those data, over 50,000 students were homeschooled in 2021-22.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in New York from 2017 to 2023, with rates increasing from 2017 to 2019, spiking in 2021, and then dropping again in 2022.

While the lack of official data is problematic when students are required to file attendance, U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 1% of New York families homeschooled in the spring of 2020. Homeschooling increased to 10% by the fall of 2020. These percentages reflect family participation. Student participation would be higher, given that many families have more than one child. In the 2022 and 2023 school years, U.S. Census estimates indicate that an average of 2% of all New York K-12 students were homeschooled during this time.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

During the 2019-20 academic year, 1.1% of New York’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Homeschool participation in the state was much lower than the 11.5% of private school students. Charter school participation was also lower than private school participation in the state, at 5.1%. In 2021-22, 1.8% of New York’s K-12 students were homeschooled, and 12% attended private schools. Charter school participation increased slightly to 5.9%.

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

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, there are several school choice options in New York. These include open enrollment in traditional public, private, magnet, and charter. Interdistrict choice is also allowed for some students. New York does not provide public funds for any nonpublic choice option.

Commentary

The rules governing homeschooling in New York are restrictive when compared to other states. Parents who wish to homeschool must go through multiple steps. Each step of the process requires approval and reapproval in a manner that seems bureaucratic when compared to other state policies. Further, parents must report their homeschool participation quarterly, yet the state does not publicly report any of this participation information. If families must report this information several times a year, then the state should consider publicly reporting homeschool participation information. Reporting the information they collect would increase transparency and understanding of homeschool participation in New York and the United States.

Last updated December 2023.