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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions 2024-05-22T08:03:58-06:00

Notifying the New Mexico Public Education Department of Your Intent to Home School

When?

You must notify the NMPED within 30 days of first establishing a home school.

How often?

You must notify the NMPED in subsequent years by August 1. The notification period begins each year on June 1.

1. Use the online NMPED Home School System to notify the state of your intent to operate a home school.

Follow these four, simple steps:

  1. Click on the red LOGIN button at the top, right-hand side of the home page.
  2. Create a user account.
  3. Add each child that you will home school in the coming year.
  4. Enroll each child. Note: It is easy to miss this step. Be sure you have clicked the blue “Enroll” button next to each student’s name.

Remember to print or save a Home School – Parent Notification Report (proof of notification). This report includes a 5-digit registration number that is unique to each child for each school year.

  1. select “View/Print Enrollments” from the PARENT menu.
  2. Click on the blue “View/Print” button next to each child’s name.
  3. Click on the white “Print” button located above the words “Registration ID/Enrollment ID”.
  4. Send report to a printer or save as a pdf document.

2. Mail a paper Notification of a Home School form to the NMPED.

Mail the completed form to:

New Mexico Public Education Department
Attention: Home School Notification
300 Don Gaspar Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Please note:

  • For proof of notification, mail the form via Certified Return Receipt or other delivery verification method.
  • The information you provide will be entered into the online database by NMPED staff.

Student Confidentiality: In accordance with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, a student’s education records are maintained confidential to the extent permitted by law. The NMPED has not designated information within the agency as directory information as provided in 34 CFR § 99.37.

Besides using the NMPED Home School System to notify the NMPED of your intent to home school, you can use it to:

  • print or save a Home School – Parent Notification Report (proof of notification). This report includes a 5-digit registration number that is unique to each child for each school year.
    1. Select “View/Print Enrollments” from the PARENT menu.
    2. Click on the blue “View/Print” button next to each child’s name.
    3. Click on the white “Print” button located above the words “Registration ID/Enrollment ID”.
    4. Send to a printer or save the report as a pdf document.
  • easily renew notification each year
  • update account information
  • access a student’s STARS ID
  • disenroll a student from home schooling (when the student graduates, you move to another state, the student transfers to a public or private school)

If you notify the state using the NMPED Home School System, you can Print or save a Home School – Parent Notification Report (proof of notification). This report includes a 5-digit registration number that is unique to each child for each school year.

  1. Select “View/Print Enrollments” from the PARENT menu.
  2. Click on the blue “View/Print” button next to each child’s name.
  3. Click on the white “Print” button located above the words “Registration ID/Enrollment ID”.
  4. Send to a printer or save a pdf file.

If you notify the state using the paper Notification of a Home School form, you may send it through the United States Postal Service with Certified Return Receipt or some other verification method.

 

Legal Requirements

A home school operator must …

  • be the student’s parent or legal guardian. [Section 22-1-2(E) NMSA 1978]
  • provide instruction in at least reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. [Section 22-1-2(E) NMSA 1978]
  • notify the New Mexico Public Education Department within thirty (30) days of establishing the home school. [Section 22-1-2.1(A) NMSA 1978]
  • renew the home school establishment every year on or before August 1. [Section 22-1-2.1(A) NMSA 1978]
  • maintain records of the student’s immunization records or the approved waiver form: NM Health Form 454 [Section 22-1-2.1(B) NMSA 1978]
  • affirm that the person instructing the child in the home has at least a high school diploma or a high school equivalency credential. [Section 22-1-2.1(C) NMSA 1978]

In New Mexico, all school-age persons must attend school.

A school-age person is

  • at least five years of age prior to 12:01 a.m. on September 1 of the school year;
  • has not received a high school diploma or its equivalent; and
  • has not reached their twenty-second birthday on the first day of the school year.

[Section 22-1-2(O) NMSA 1978]

There is nothing in statute to prevent a parent or guardian from providing education before the child is five years old.

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, students shall be in school programs, exclusive of lunch, for a minimum of one thousand one hundred forty instructional hours per year, except half-day kindergarten, which shall have five hundred fifty instructional hours per year.
  2. An instructional hour is a period at school during which students receive instruction aligned to academic content and performance standards and includes:
    1. a school program set forth in Sections 22-13-1 and 22-13-1.1 NMSA 1978;
    2. enrichment programs that focus on problem solving and cognitive skills development;
    3. content that provides technical knowledge, skills and competency-based applied learning;
    4. research- or evidence-based social, emotional or academic interventions; and
    5. instruction that occurs at the same time breakfast is served or consumed in accordance with the breakfast after the bell program or federal requirements.
  3. Up to sixty instructional hours per school year for elementary grades and thirty instructional hours for middle and high school grades may be used for professional work hours, which may be embedded during the course of a normal school day. A “professional work hour” means time during which a teacher participates in professional work aligned to challenging academic content and performance standards, including:
    1. home visiting or parent-teacher conferences;
    2. educator training or professional development; and
    3. mentorship, coaching and collaboration between school employees.

[NMSA 1978 §22-2-8.1(A-C)]

Though New Mexico requires the home school operator to be a parent or legal guardian, a parent or guardian may employ someone else to provide instruction in a particular subject.

The home school operator remains responsible for notification, immunization records, and for ensuring that the person providing instruction has at least a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential.

No, your curriculum does not have to be approved by the NMPED. The NMPED does not approve curriculum. The state home school requirement is that instruction be provided in five primary subjects:

  • reading
  • language arts
  • social studies
  • science
  • math

In New Mexico, home school students are not required to participate in annual standardized testing.

However, if you choose to have your children tested, standardized testing is available to home school children. You can search testing companies on the internet.

The New Mexico Public Education Department, among its general duties, is mandated by state law to “enforce requirements for home schools. Upon finding that a home school is not in compliance with law, the department may order that a student attend a public school or a private school.” [22-2-2(H) NMSA 1978]

 

Support for Home School Operators

Parents who elect to home school their children are solely responsible for choosing appropriate, grade-level curriculum and providing instruction in all required subjects. The schools and NMPED are not able to recommend or endorse specific programs or provide materials and services.

Home school support groups exist in many communities across the state. And most home school veterans are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise.

Search the internet and social media for “home schooling associations in New Mexico” or “home school support in [city or region]”. If you can find a home school group anywhere in the state, that organization will likely have contact information for someone in your area.

Ask at your local library if they maintain a list of resources for home schoolers.

There are many for-profit organizations offering various levels of support and instruction for a fee. Please use your discretion, check reviews, and consider getting a second opinion before enrolling your children in one of these.

The Public Education Department does not provide books, materials, or computers to home schools.

  • You may purchase books or materials that you feel are suitable for your student(s).
  • Your local library is likely to have many books and other resources that support your curriculum.
  • Some communities have home school stores where you can find new, used, and even free books and materials.

 

Home School Student Participation in Public School Sports, Activities, or Classes

The local public school district is required to allow home school students to participate in sports and extracurricular activities if they meet certain requirements. Participating part-time in courses at the local school is at the discretion of the district. If the district has a policy that allows home school students to participate, your child would need to enroll with his/her/their assigned STARS ID – and would likely be considered a part-time student, funded by the state proportionately. For sports and extracurricular activities, please contact the New Mexico Activities Association at 505-923-3110.

The NMPED encourages home school operators to keep thorough records in case you someday decide to transfer your students to a traditional school. Good records help traditional schools accurately place home school students in the appropriate grade level. It is the duty of local school boards to adopt and promulgate rules concerning the placement of students transferring from home schools to public schools. [NMSA 1978 22-1-4(D)]

Elementary and middle school students will likely be placed with students of their same age.

Placing high school students is more complicated. Please contact your local school district to find out what rules they have in place for such transfers. To demonstrate competency, to verify course credits, and to meet graduation requirements, any records you have will be helpful. These might include a transcript of the courses your student has completed, the educational materials you used, the lessons you covered, your student’s test scores, and a portfolio of your student’s work, including exams.

 

Graduation, Transcripts, & College

A student who is home schooled may graduate in one the following ways:

  1. A diploma recognized by The State of New Mexico:
    • Transfer back to traditional public or non-public school prior to graduation and complete the state’s graduation requirements for a New Mexico high school diploma. Please keep in mind that, for purposes of transferring to a public school, acceptance of credits earned through home study courses is determined by the policy of the local school board or the governing council of a charter school. In other words, you child may be required to demonstrate competency via other methods, such as assessments; or
    • Starting at age 16, a student may take a high school equivalency exam. For more information about obtaining a high school equivalency credential, please go to NMPED’s DIPLOMA, GED & HISET INFORMATION webpage.
  2. A Diploma/High School Equivalence Certificate not recognized by The State of New Mexico:
    • Diploma created by the parent or legal guardian; or
    • Graduation through a correspondence course, an online school, a distance learning school, or a home school program purchased by the parent. Please be aware that this type of diploma may not be recognized by a post-secondary institution if the school or program is not accredited. If you have an idea of the post-secondary schools your student might apply to, you might call their Admissions offices to see what kinds of documentation they require.

State post-secondary institutions may not discriminate in their admissions requirements.

In determining the standard of requirements for admission to their respective institutions, boards of regents shall not require a student who has completed the requirements of a home-based or nonpublic school educational program and who has submitted test scores that otherwise qualify the student for admission to that institution to obtain or submit proof of having obtained a high school equivalency credential. In determining requirements for admission, boards of regents shall evaluate and treat applicants from home-based educational programs or nonpublic schools fairly and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

[NMSA 1978 21-1-1(B)]

Home school students are not legally required to have a high school transcript. However, a transcript can be very helpful when a student either transfers into a traditional school or enrolls in a college.

If you decide to create a transcript, you can design your own or use one of the many software applications available online. For help, you can even do an internet search for something like “how to create a home school transcript that colleges will accept”.

Colleges and traditional high schools may find the following kinds of information helpful for understanding how your student earned the credits:

  • the titles of the courses completed by the student
  • the number of credits earned for each course
  • the textbooks, programs, or other materials used by the student to earn the credits
  • the amount of the material covered (for example, “completed 80% of the textbook” or “Covered Lessons 1-18”)
  • the overall grade your student earned, as well as grades for lessons, midterms, final exams, and essays
  • samples of student writing and other work

If you are not following New Mexico’s graduation requirements, you may also want to include a written explanation of your own graduation requirements. Calling the schools’ admissions office will help you understand what their expectations are.

Yes.

A home school or private school student who meets the eligibility criteria may receive both high school and college credit, provided that the student pays the full cost of the college courses.

Home school or private school students taking college courses for both high school and college credit shall be considered as being concurrently enrolled by the postsecondary institution for the purposes of data reporting.

[6.30.7.13 NMAC]

A home school student must have STARS ID in order to participate in the Dual Credit classes. If your child has not been assigned a STARS ID, or if you are not sure what their STARS ID is, please contact the Home School Administrator, who will locate the existing ID or generate a new one.

Contact the NMPED Dual Credit Program for more information.

Yes. A law passed by the New Mexico Legislature in 2021 makes the Lottery Scholarship available to home school students.

A home school student who meets the eligibility criteria may apply for the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship. Home school students must have completed the requirements while registered with the New Mexico Public Education Department. In other words, their parents or guardians must have notified the state of their intent to home school during the relevant school years.

To qualify for the Lottery Scholarship, a home school student

    1. must be a full-time student who completed the requirements of a home-based educational program in the state and who either
      1. within sixteen months of completion of the requirements of a home-based education program, was accepted for entrance to and attended a public post-secondary educational institution; or
      2. within four months of graduation from a public school in this state or completion of the requirements of a home-based educational program, began service in the United States armed forces and within sixteen months of completion of honorable service or medical discharge from the service, attended a public post-secondary educational institution; and
    2. must have successfully completed the first semester at a public post-secondary educational institution with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale during the first semester of full-time enrollment.

[NMSA 1978 21-21-2(I)]

For more information, please see Legislative Lottery Scholarship.

 

Online Public Schools and other Online Education Programs

No. If your student is enrolled in an online public school in New Mexico, your student is not a home school student as defined in statute.

New Mexico has several online, public school options. Please contact these schools for more information about their offerings and their enrollment processes.

Yes. If your student is attending an out-of-state educational program, you are essentially a home school operator who has hired that organization to provide instruction for your student, and therefore, you need to notify the state of your intent to operate a home school.

 

Forms and Visual Aids

If you have other questions, please contact the Home School Administrator at Info.HomeSchool@ped.nm.gov.

Page last updated May 22, 2024