Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the requirements to operate a home school?
- Be the student’s parent or legal guardian
- Affirm that the person instructing your child in the home has at least a high school diploma or GED
- Keep a copy of the instructor’s diploma or degree in your files
- Provide instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science
- Keep a copy of your child’s immunization records or approved waiver form in yor files
- Send electronic or written notification using an unmodified version of the PED form to the state’s Secretary of Education within 30 days of establishing the home school
- Renew the home school establishment every year on or before August 1st by submitting written or electronic notification to the state
- Do I need to submit a letter of intent?
The online NMPED Home School System (https://homeschool.ped.state.nm.us ) allows parents/guardians to create accounts and enroll their child(ren) for home schooling. This replaces the written Letter of Intent; the online registration process serves as the notification to NMPED. This must be done as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after withdrawing your child(ren) from school. If you continue to home school, you must re-enroll your child(ren) by August 1st each subsequent year.
- What support will I get from the local school or NMPED for home schooling?
Parents who elect to home school their children are solely responsible for choosing appropriate, grade-level curriculum in all required subjects. The schools and NMPED are not able to recommend or endorse specific programs nor provide materials and services.
- Where can I find additional information and support?
You may network with other home school operators in your community.
Search on the internet for “home schooling in New Mexico” or “home school associations” in your area.
- Can my home schooled child take classes part-time and participate in sports in the local school district?
The local public school district is required to allow home school students to participate in sports and extracurricular activities if they meet certain requirements. As for participating part-time in courses at the local schools, this is at the discretion of the district. If the district has a policy or procedure 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 505-821-1887
- Where can I get books and/or curriculum?
- The state does not provide materials to home schools.
You may purchase books or materials that you feel are suitable to teach your child.
- Your curriculum does not have to be approved by the school or NMPED.
- You may request to borrow books from your local public schools, but they are not obligated to honor your request.
- You may borrow books from your local library.
- The state does not provide materials to home schools.
- Do we submit curriculum or lesson plans to the state?
You do not need to submit curricula nor lesson plans to the state, however, you should keep your own records, including attendance and immunization records.
- How does my child participate in state-mandated assessments?
Students who are home-schooled are not required to participate in the state-mandated assessments. You may ask your local school district if your child can participate, but the district may refuse.
- How old must my child be if I want to home school him or her?
You can home school your child at any age. However, state law requires all students ages 5–18 to attend school—either public, private, parochial, state institution, or home school—and provides criminal penalties for parents who refuse to comply with the law. That means that once your child turns age 5, you must officially notify the state that you are a home school operator. You must also re-notify the state annually by August 1st as long as you choose to home school, or until your child turns 18 or passes the GED.
- Can I home school someone else’s child whether I’m related to them or not?
New Mexico state law requires that the home school operator is the parent or the legal guardian and that home schools are a home study program of instruction.
- I enrolled my child in an online accredited school. Do I have to register for home school?
If your child is not attending a recognized school in NM and/or if the “school” is a private online program that provides curriculum, you must register for home school. At this time, the only NM virtual schools are Pecos Connection Academy (a local charter school under Carlsbad Municipal Schools), NM Connections Academy (a state charter school based in Santa Fe), and eAcademy (a magnet school under Albuquerque Public Schools).
- How will my child graduate if he or she is home schooled?
A student who is home schooled may graduate in one the following ways:
- New Mexico Diploma
- Transfer back to public school prior to graduation and complete the state’s graduation requirements for a New Mexico high school diploma. Please keep in mind that state law provides 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, your child may be required to demonstrate competency via other methods, such as assessments; OR
- Starting at age 16, the student may take the test to earn his/her/their GED. For more information on the GED Testing Program, please go to http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/GED_index.html
- Non-New Mexico Diploma/ High School Equivalence Certificate
- Graduation by the parent/legal guardian; OR
- Graduation through a correspondence course, a distance learning school, or home school program purchased by the parent; Depending upon whether or not the school/program is accredited, this type of diploma may not be recognized by a postsecondary institution, so examine this option carefully. As with purchasing any type of goods or services, consumers need to make informed choices. You may wish to check the Better Business Bureau for the state in which the business/school operates.
- New Mexico Diploma
- How will my child receive credit for the school year if he/she returns to public/private school in the future?
- If you decide to stop home schooling, please dis-enroll by logging into your NMPED Home School System account (from the Parent menu, select Disenroll) and then complete registration at the public/private school. The school should ask for evidence of home schooling. You can print your own letter of verification with the State Seal from your online account by going to the Parent menu and selecting ‘view/print enrollments’.
- For elementary and middle school students, the school/district may ask for evidence of attendance, immunization records, and material covered, so keep good records. Your child will likely be placed with their age-appropriate peers.
- For high school students, it is a bit more complicated. Please contact the local school district, as it is their responsibility to determine and assign credit. If you are paying for an accredited program, you should confirm that your child(ren) will be provided an official transcript with grades and credits earned. However, please also check with the District to be sure that those grades will be accepted. The school may have other requirements for students to demonstrate competency in order to receive course credit and meet graduation requirements.
- Is my child, who is home schooled, eligible for the state’s legislative lottery scholarship for college?
The student must first earn his/her/their GED. For more information, please see https://hed.state.nm.us/financial-aid/scholarships/legislative-lottery
- What are the laws for operating a home school in NM?
“Home schools” are defined as the operation of a home study program of instruction by the parent or guardian of a school-age person that provides a basic academic educational program, including reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. The law requires any person operating a home school to notify NMPED annually; maintain records of disease immunization or a waiver of that requirement (see http://www.immunizenm.org/sched.shtml); and provide instruction by a person possessing at least a high school diploma or GED. Home schools are to be operated out of one’s home. PED has the duty to enforce legal requirements of home schools. Upon finding that a home school is not in compliance with the law, PED can order a student of such a school to transfer to a public or private school. The primary statutes and responsibilities are available at https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/StatutesAndResponsibilities.pdf
- I heard about a home school school in my town. Can I register my child(ren) for home school so that they can attend that school?
The Public School Code defines “home schools” as the operation of a home study program of instruction by the parent or guardian of a school-age person that provides a basic academic educational program, including reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. The law requires any person operating a home school to submit a home school registration form, made available by the Public Education Department, to notify PED within 30 days of the establishment of the home school, and by August 1 of each subsequent year the school operates; maintain records of disease immunization or a waiver of that requirement; and provide instruction by a person possessing at least a high school diploma or GED.
The body of law addressing home schools makes several things clear: home school students are to be treated as much like public school students as possible; they are to be operated out of one’s home; and home schools operate under the oversight and supervision of the Public Education Department. Ad hoc programs purporting to operate schools out of uninspected commercial space will not have been reviewed for satisfaction of e-occupancy and statewide adequacy standards, which exist for the protection of the health and safety of students. Home schools are not private schools, and may not operate as such. Further, the PED’s reentry guidelines, promulgated to address the current COVID-19 public health emergency, are applicable to all public, private, and home schools in New Mexico. Instructing unrelated groups of students via physical attendance at unregulated premises is entirely contrary to those guidelines.
PED has the duty to enforce legal requirements of home schools. Upon finding that a home school is not in compliance with the law, PED can order a student of such a school to transfer to a public or private school.
For other questions about home schools, please contact the Options for Parents and Families Division at Info.HomeSchool@state.nm.us.