Welcome again to this wonderful look at what it’s like to homeschool across the United States, and even across the world! Today I am pleased to present Christine’s experience homeschooling in the state of New York.
Christine Suarez is a homeschooling mom of two from Brooklyn, New York. She is the founder, owner and content creator of Blooming Brilliant, a parenting lifestyle blog devoted to education and positive parenting. Christine shares all aspects of educating small children including kidlit, science experiments, DIY, and personally created activities all to engage children in their learning journey. Using her BA in psychological development she shares tips and techniques in education and parenting in regards to developmental stages.
Please note that these experiences, while they may discuss state requirements, are not legal advice, legislative summaries, or compliance recommendations. I encourage you to do your own research on your state’s current homeschool laws and seek help from official sources if necessary. The Home School Legal Defense Agency is a great place to start though you may find a more state-specific organization that you prefer to work with.
“Homeschooling in New York can be a challenge, because the rules and regulations in our state are so strict; however, homeschooling has been one of the most rewarding endeavors I have ever had.
As a parent, you strive to do the best you can for your children. There are so many reasons to homeschool, however homeschooling is not for everyone. We decided to homeschool because we enjoyed it for the toddler and preschool years so much. We tried traditional school for a year but the gifted and talented program that my daughter was in was not challenging enough for her and our other options were not ideal. We decided to take her back home when the year was through and try homeschool again.
This year has been our first official year homeschooling: filling out forms and reporting back to the central office of homeschooling. However, I count all the 7 previous years of teaching my children for toddler school and preschool as part of our homeschool journey.
We love the flexibility that homeschool gives us. If we want to start in the morning, mid-morning, or afternoon, we have the freedom to do so. If we want to skip a day during the week because of doctor’s’ appointments or something important and make it up on the weekend, we have the freedom to do that. We have the freedom to stay in our pajamas or to learn outside. Our schedule is rather flexible although we do keep a regular routine and rotation of classes to be covered.
I am still learning and growing as a homeschool parent, trying to figure out what works best for us but meets all the state’s requirements. State Requirements impact so much for us because I don’t want to do anything wrong. I want to make sure the kids are learning everything they need to learn, while having as much fun as possible without any stress from the state.
I was surprised about what New York State required to be covered within the school year, especially after being in the traditional school system and being extremely disappointed with the level of academics. I was up for the challenge of covering all the subjects and topics required, and think we have done a good job without being overworked throughout this year. For our first official year, I bought a lot of curriculum from notable publishers that I knew other homeschoolers had used. I wanted something that would be approved by our central homeschooling office to avoid any extra complications of sending copies of books. As I begin to prepare for our second year I am choosing curriculum that speaks to the way I want to teach my children.
Many of the online schools are not available in New York and public and private schools are not required to work with homeschooling parents. I am currently independently homeschooling my children but look forward to joining a homeschool co-op and working with other homeschoolers in my area.
I kept everything that we worked on this year and it is very overwhelming. I think I should come up with a better way of keeping records throughout the school year, to avoid the clutter and stress as the end of the year evaluation approaches.
It can be difficult to homeschool some days but finding a great support system can help. You can learn more about our homeschooling experience in our current series Homeschooling in the Concrete Jungle.”
Do you homeschool in New York? Let me know what it’s been like for you in the comments below!