Getting Started

Congratulations On Considering Homeschooling! 

Homeschool New York promotes home education as the Scriptural design for education and we pray you will be blessed as you discover more about this alternative to institutional education.

As promised, common questions and straight forward answers are below!


Why do I want to homeschool?
It helps to know what your reasons are, so take a few moments and make a list. Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just putting a classroom into your home. You’ll find that homeschooling will touch every area of your family’s life.  Defining the purpose behind the decision will help keep you focused as you get started.

What will it cost me?
You will be committing your finances as you purchase your own books, supplies, and pay for various activities such as music lessons and field trips. Oh, there’s no school bus either – you will carpool or drive for all of your activities.

You will be committing your time and energy as you schedule homeschooling into everyday life.  From lesson plans to projects, time spent preparing in advance will keep you focused and intentional.

Also remember that everyone will be in the home most of the time… and your neat orderly home will give way to books, papers, and all the things you will use to teach and enjoy these precious moments with your child.


The following are some steps to help you get started. These are in no way the only steps or all of the steps, just a starting place. Please know that some of these steps can be skipped.  The goal is to make them fit into your family’s convictions, needs, and purpose for homeschooling.

  1. Consider putting together your Philosophy of Education.
    This would include your reasons for choosing to homeschool and could also include your vision and goals for your family, be sure to include scripture verses. This can be a very important step to help you avoid becoming discouraged on the more difficult days… and all homeschooling families experience some difficult days at one time or another.  It is very easy to get sidetracked or discouraged when things seem to be going wrong.  Remembering the real reasons you started homeschooling and the vision you have for your family will revitalize your spirit, helping you continue the journey.  Homeschool New York publishes a free Regulatory and Informational Manual and there is a section which will assist you in writing a Philosophy of Education including scripture.
  2. Get a copy of the New York State Homeschool Regulations
    Knowing the regulations will keep you from doing more than is required of a homeschooling family.  The manual includes frequently-asked-questions, sample forms, and details written in plain English to assist you with understanding the regulations and completing your required paperwork.  The New York State Education Department website is an additional resource for additional legal information about homeschooling in New York.
  3. Visit and explore websites designed for new homeschooling families.
    The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has developed a great website for beginners: You Can Homeschool.   Another valuable website to visit is Beginning Homeschooling.
  4. Subscribe to homeschooling publications.
    Many magazines have been created to help encourage, educate, and engage homeschooling families with products, services, and wisdom from some of today’s prominent homeschool leaders.  Included with Homeschool New York membership is a quarterly magazine, The Messenger, specifically designed for New York’s homeschooling families from Buffalo to Long Island.  In addition, many of the homeschool magazines listed in our Homeschool Links page have sections for new homeschoolers.

Membership with Home School Legal Defense Association will give you an annual subscription to Home School Court Report.

  1. Join HSLDA. 
    Preferably before you contact your school district to advise of your intent to homeschool, consider activating a membership with the Home School Legal Defense Association. Details about HSLDA can be found at   Although you may not personally NEED an attorney today, HSLDA works tirelessly to monitor, protect, and fight for the right of families across America to homeschool. Your financial support through an HSLDA membership helps ensure that resources are available to keep them doing what they do best! 
  2. Go to one of the Regional Homeschool New York Home Education Events. 
    Homeschool New York organizes several regional events each year to encourage and inspire homeschooling families across the state. Please look under “Events” then “Conferences” at the top of this page for what’s coming up!
  3. Choose the right curriculum.
    How does your child learn? It may help to know what “learning style” your child is before you decide on a curriculum.   Check out Cathy Duffy’s book, 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style.  This resource helps you identify basic styles of learning in brief, understandable forms.

The next question you need to ask is, “What is your style?”  There are different styles of homeschooling from classical to traditional to relaxed schooling.  To learn more about styles of homeschooling, you can visit for a list of the most popular approaches.  Once you decide on the style that best fits you and your family, you will need to order your curriculum. A quick way to get up to speed on curriculum and resources is by ordering catalogs online or picking them up at a Homeschool New York event. The catalogs are usually free and many have general homeschool information included.  One recommended catalog to consider would be:

  1. Decide on your school schedule.
    When deciding on a schedule, you can use a typical school year that the public school uses, a year round model to provide more flexibility, or you can even homeschool three months on with one month off. The choice is yours.

See Regulatory Manual for required hours of instruction.

  1. Have a plan for your school year.
    If you are using a traditional approach, the curriculum you purchase should cover a year’s worth of work. If you’re using a different approach, such as unit studies, more planning will have to be done. Check that you are setting goals and have the means to evaluate if you are reaching your education goals.
  2. Get connected with a local Homeschool New York Chapter.
    This is by far the best way for you to connect and build lasting relationships with other homeschooling families.  It also provides opportunities for your child to engage in activities outside of the home.

Chapters come in all shapes and sizes. Selecting a group to join will highly depend on what you’re looking to accomplish. A discussion with a Homeschool New York Regional Representative may be very helpful in figuring out the different characteristics and purpose of each local Chapter and how they relate to your goals.

  1. Take advantage of available Homeschool New York discounts.

Membership Discounts

  1. Consider if your child has special needs.
    Along with joining a local Homeschool New York Chapter, families educating children with special needs are encouraged to also join our Parents Instructing Challenged Children (PICC) ministry for expert support.

​We give you the tools to be a confident home educator!

Homeschool New York began in order to protect the God-given and constitutional rights to home educate in New York state, regardless of ones philosophy of education or religious affiliation, and to provide the necessary support for homeschool families.

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