Homeschooling in NY

Updated on October 17, 2009
S.C. asks from Phoenix, NY
7 answers

I am considering homeschooling my daughter who is 3 and because preschool is not mandatory where we are I am thinking about giving it a trial run next year. I would like to know if anyone has done anything like this, how it worked out ? How did you go about it?

As your child entered the school years, what curriculum have you used (or maybe recommend i stay away from) ? I just wanted to start looking at whats out there now and It seems overwhelming the number of curriculum's I have seen. Also what is a typical day like? I am wondering if you set up the home school day the same way public school does with several subjects covered in the day. Thank you!

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answers from New York on

First thought... preschool isn't about curriculum. Preschool is about learning to negotiate the social world and to start developing readiness behaviors and skills (what behaviors would your child need to have learned to be a good student).

Second thought... "subjects" don't really start until second grade and in some places beyond that. Literacy and number concepts are the primary focus of K-2 curriculum. NYS DOE website has curriculum goals for science and social studies, but these are taught using discussion, literature and hands-on activities.

Third thought... your child is three and will be four!! Is there something about public education that concerns you? If not, I would suggest trying a traditional preschool program and seeing how your daughter responds before eliminating school as an option.

Keep in mind that many of the activities you would be doing with your child as part of a homeschool curriculum at the preschool level are things that you should be doing already! Reading to her; taking her places so that she has experiences to draw from; cooking with her; drawing; writing letters; talking about colors, shapes and community. Does this need to be formalized into a school format?

I am not an advocate of homeschooling for many reasons, however when it is done well it can be a positive experience for the children. I used to babysit for a family who elected to homeschool their children. Their family room was converted to a school room (complete with desks, bookshelves and a chalk board. Mom had a set schedule for the children each day and EVERY activity was educational. For example, before going to the grocery store, the children would make the list, estimate the cost, figure out "who got what" depending on the location in the store and then were responsible for "paying". This task was differentiated for the children's ages and encompassed math (estimation/$$/time), language arts (spelling), and critical thinking (categorizing). This mother also enrolled her children in various community activities to encourage socialization and for their PE requirement. She homeschooled her children until 3rd grade and then had them attend parochial school. That mom recognized that her strength was in primary curriculum, but that content area would be too much for her.



answers from New York on

Not to sound unsympathetic, but at age 3 you are doing this more for yourself (to be a stellar parent, etc.) I think than for your daughter. It's great that you want to teach her (and I am all for home schooling) but at this young age, you will be spending an inordinate amount of time teaching her what she will pick up very quickly when she is a bit older and she gets to school (also she will benefit from learning in a GROUP situation with someone other than Mom in charge). And even the benefit of learning it before formalized education can backfire when the kids are then 'bored' in school because they already know the material (unless you want to 'bump' them up ahead in school)......I hear this from my kids A LOT, and they are in a VERY GOOD school district. GOOD LUCK!



answers from Buffalo on

Hi Sara.
I found curriculum choice to be overwhelming at first also. Our first year of homeschooling (2nd grade) I just picked one and used it. We figured out what my son liked/disliked about it & how he learned best. Then for 3rd grade, we used what we learned about his learning style & what he didn't like to make better curriculum choices for 3rd grade.
You don't need to use a curriculum for pre-school. If you work with her on coloring, cutting (fine motor skills); shapes, patterns, number and letter recognition; and skipping, jumping, front rolls (gross motor skills) she will be fine. If you get involved with a home school group, you can bring her to the co-op where she can do an art or gym or music class.
One of the nice things about home schooling is that you can set the day up the way it works best for you and your family. Since pre-school in NY isn't mandatory (neither is kindergarten, by the way) you can pretty much do what you want. It will make the transition easier for you if you decide to continue homeschooling after kindergarten (when it is mandatory & you have to make sure they are learning what is required).
I am always concerned that if I stop home schooling, will they be at grade level with the other kids they would be in class with? So far so good. The curriculum packages seem to be structured based on the national standards of what the kids should know for that grade level.
Good luck to you and your daughter.



answers from New York on

If you are looking for a little guidance and help for ideas about doing a preschool at home I have friends who have used Five in a Row and liked it a lot. It is literacy based and has great activities.



answers from New York on

Hi S.,

Check out for some ideas. I think you can homeschool your daughter. It starts at home! My 3 year old goes to Bank Street's Family Center in Morningside Heights. All the things that she learns can be taught at home easy! I do think that their are some things like sharing that you may want to really pay close attention to at that age. But if you want to know more about their cirriculum please check out the website. Look under childrens programs.



answers from New York on

do you plan on homeschooling her for years or just for this year as you don't want to send her to preschool?
at her age, which is 3, you can teacher her anything you want, age-appropriate, without spending a fortune on materials.
you can start with letters and sounds (get the leapfrog DVDs to make it fun for her) like: letter factory, talking words etc.
then pick up a few of Kumon workbooks (amazon ells them 4 for 3 etc) or go to nearest barnes and noble. if you choose to use Kumon workbooks, do 1-2 pages a day. Choose a subject: English or Math. Kumon workbooks are wonderful and if i were you I wouldn't register with any of their centers. No need at this age, just work at your daughter's pace.
I 'homeschooled' my girls last year as I did not like any of the pre-k places that are available in our area. I wasn't planning on homeschooling them for years. Just for 1 year. My girls were 4 at the time, we learned letters and sounds, then went onto reading, then we did shapes, directions, then addition and subtractions. My girls started kindergarten this year at a parochial school. They're ahead of other kids, but my girls are behind in their social skills. This is where school setting comes into play. If I were to continue homeschooling them, I may be able to help them more get far ahead than their peers but I would be putting them at a disadvantage taking away the social element that a school setting provides.
That said, do it for a year, you choose what you want her to learn. No need for a curriculum. If your daughter knows how to use the computer go to and allow her to do the different games offered at this site. Some are letter-sound related, reading, logical thinking, problem-solving etc and some are just fun games like the gingerbread man etc. Don't make it all about learning as she may end up becoming resistant. So rotate between the different games offered at this site.
Then go outside, at a park, talk about nature, birds, get a bird book, ask her to mark the birds you two see during your outings. Start cooking with her. Her industrial paper and do finger painting, introduce her to mixing of colors etc. Read a book then ask her to describe what the book was about. If reluctant, ask questions related to the story. Then ask her to draw what you two read about etc. Anything and everything around us offers some kind of information.
good luck



answers from Utica on

Hi S. C
Congrats on giving it a try.
The overwhelming amt of curriculum out there does not mean you have to do it all. The overwhelming amt of curriculum shows that there are an abundance of people out there homeschooling and the publishers want to tap into that market.
It is my opinion that homeschool mom's buy too much material. The first order of business is to decide what you want your child to learn in preschool. Colors, Numbers, and Letters. Tie shoes, address & phone number, and days of the week. Months of the year, seasons, and manners. Respect, sharing, and to jump rope. Any of those programs would be available at a preschool somewhere. As a homeschooling parent you can choose each of them and do it for 1/4 of the year, and teach your child all the things they would have to go to 4 preschools for. Leaving out the bad behaviors that they would pick up from the other children because if you are at homeschool play group. You have the chance to remind your child that the behavior of another child is not acceptable.
I homeschooled my twin girls through high school. They are succeeding well in college. Both are in their 3rd semester and both were on the dean's list for 2 semesters, and I fully expect they will be this semester although they are both taking 18 credits and both say they won't do that again to themselves.
I bought no curriculum for PreK or K, my goal for prek was the above + sounds of lettings and I bought maze books and dot to dots which you would probably buy anyway. They have the dot to dots for both letters(caps & small) and for numbers. Sequential books are also available now as I tutor a first grader who is homeschooled and mom needs help.
My suggestion is to go to the library and get the book
What your Kindergardener needs to know by Hirsch. It is a core curriculum and is available for each grade through 6, I think. Get on track to teach those things by next year, then start K the year early. If you decide not to homeschool, your child has a head start which is never a bad thing. If you decide to homeschool, you simply continue.
Email me any time. Love to encourage others to homeschool.
Our schedule was 4 days a week 8-11, unless they were goofing off then they studied til noon. We accomplished much in those hours. After lunch we did cooking(simple, to using the "how to cook without a cookbook" for home ec as they got older) art (crafts and lessons as they got older), music(sang, marched with instruments, and lessons as they got older) you get the idea fun stuff. We went swimming, ice skating, and played on swing set. Our homeschool group got together weekly for a while then those that wanted to continue formed a 4H club of homeschoolers for those outside activities. Get hold of some homeschooler you know, or know is in LEAH and see if you go to anything that they are doing. Sometimes they are thrilled. They also can get you a copy of the regs for NY, and often have used book sales. Tap into that resource.
Again any questions email me
I didn't check where you were, but we are upstate.
God bless you in your search for what is right for your family
K. SAHM married 39 years -- adult children -- 38,coach; 33, lawyer; twins 19, in college

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