Homeschooling in Queens

Public or private?  That’s the question many parents will ask as their child approaches school age.  But, there is another choice.  Close to 2 million families nationwide, and over 2 thousand in NYC alone, have opted to homeschool.  Homeschooling, or the variation known as “Unschooling,” is an alternative that has both strong advocates and opposition.

Many Queens families have already found that homeschooling is the right choice for them, but for parents just starting to familiarize themselves with their options it can be overwhelming and intimidating.

Start by looking at the pros and cons objectively, and then take a look at Queens Mamas’ list of resources and links below for help.

Pros of Homeschooling:

  • Freedom to pursue your child’s intellectual interests, and instill a love of learning.
  • Allows for more opportunities for creativity and hands-on, real world activities.
  • Flexible or less structured daily schedule.
  • Shelter from possible bullying, peer pressure or negative influences.
  • Statistics show homeschooled children tend to perform better on most standardized tests than their public school peers.

Cons of Homeschooling:

  • Parents may not feel prepared or knowledgeable enough to cover everything required by the curriculum.
  • Knowledge of the laws, required paperwork and testing.
  • Opportunities for socialization or extra-curricular activities may be limited unless they are sought out and encouraged by parents.
  • Financial sacrifice as, typically, one parent must choose to forgo full-time employment in order to homeschool.
  • Children, especially older kids, might want to “go to school” as most of their peers do and may want to know if they are missing out on a valuable experience.

Queens Mamas’ Resources for Homeschooling:

NY State Department of Education:  The first step to successful homeschooling is to become familiar with the rules and regulations for home instruction outlined on NYSED’s website.  You can also find helpful answers to most home instruction questions here.

NYC Department of Education:  The NYC DOE provides information for families interested in homeschooling.  Learn about Individualized Home Instruction Plans (IHIP), important dates and assessments on their website.
Contact:  William Harrington, Director, 333 Seventh Ave., NY, NY 10001; 917-339-1748

HomeschoolNYC:  A website that offers resources for homeschooling families, or those that want to learn more.  Find useful information about NY’s laws and how to go about filing all of the City’s required paperwork online.

NYHEN:  New York Home Educators’ Network provides information on state laws and helps families find local homeschooling groups.  For info on nearby groups visit their site, and get answers about NY State Homeschooling regulations here.

NYCHEA:  If you’re looking for a place to get to know other homeschooling families, or educational and social opportunities for your child, the New York City Home Educators Alliance is a great place to start.  Learn about membership ($36 a year), monthly meetings, seminars and events online.

Queens Homeschoolers:  This online group for homeschooling families in Queens has over 200 members and is growing.  It’s a great place to get to know other homeschooling families for socialization or support.  Become a member here.

AHEAD-NY:  Based in Queens, serving all 5 Boroughs and Long Island, the Association of Home Educators Advancing Dreams provides information and resources specifically for homeschooled teenagers.  Join their online group here.

5BoroHSchooling:  This group of homeschooling families organizes activities around the 5 Boroughs, with an emphasis on learning through exploration of what each area has to offer.  Open to all grades, with a focus on Middle-School kids.  For info or to join visit them online.

Homeschool New York:  Information on trips, activities and homeschooling around the New York City area.  To become a member visit their site.

NYC Preschool-Homeschool:  For parents all across the 5 Boroughs that have already homeschooled their children and for those that want to learn more about homeschooling their preschooler.  Join here.

LIGHT:  Long Island’s oldest inclusive Homeschool Support Group has provided networking opportunities and information to families in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties for over 20 years.  Read more about their mission and join online.

Vivian Cardinale