NYC homeschool regulations

Homeschool to College

There is a little corner of my word where magic happens. It’s not visible from the naked eye. It’s not always in the same spot. I have to chase it, happen upon it, close my eyes and conjure it. It is my imagination and of late, imaginings there have been quiet, the space taken over by real-life issues – good, great, and could-be-better.

I suppose the most exciting thing to have happened lately is my daughter’s change in status. No longer is she a homeschooled teen doing high school work. No. Now she is a college freshman, having started classes just yesterday.

The homeschool-to-college process isn’t a difficult one – though it was difficult for us. And yes, that means ain’t nothing easy in this world.

Our experience here in NYC is different from the experiences of homeschooled children elsewhere in the country…in the world. While NY State has fairly strict rules and regulations, New York City adds to those by labeling children ‘compulsory age’ until the end of the school year in which they turn 17. Just a mile away, on the other side of the city line, compulsory age is 16. That might not seem like a huge difference, but when you’re trying to get your child into college, it can be. Especially if you tend to trust the words of others more than your own gut.

During our six homeschool years, I’d researched homeschool-to-college methods and ‘knew’ just what I had to do. It wasn’t until last summer as we visited our local community colleges that I realized – or rather, believed – I’d been wrong. The key to a successful homeschool-to-college experience is to know your rights. Plain and simple. Private colleges will have their own rules, but community colleges are bound by the rules of the county in which they exist. At issue, though, was whether we wanted to fight to get into the very school system we’d abandoned back when my daughter was in sixth grade.

We didn’t.

And dealing with CUNY schools reminded us of that fact. Rules changed according to the person we speak to. Never was there someone of a higher authority available when we took issue with the ‘facts’ as presented to us.

Finally, after much angst and a year of stalling, we discovered a SUNY school that is not only homeschool-friendly but also offers long-distance degree programs. My daughter, at 16, is now a student at this school. Once she has her associate degree, she will no longer be a ‘homeschool’ student but a transfer student.

Which brings me right back to where I was when we first hit the pavement in search of higher education for my child.

Granted I’d made a mistake. I’ll explain it to you so if you’re looking to have your child go from homeschool to college, you won’t make it to –

From the time my daughter turned 14, we should have enrolled her in one or two college courses – ex. Eng.101, Global History101 – per semester. Courses whose credits naturally transfer. Three to six credits per semester would give a homeschooled student enough credits to transfer to a community college or university by the time they’ve passed compulsory age. At that point, they would transfer into a college and continue their education rather than first start the process as freshmen. 

Hindsight obviously doesn’t help us. But remember, planning is almost everything. Knowing your rights and not letting others tell you differently is everything else.

Good luck in your homeschool-to-college endeavors. It may not come easy but when it comes, it is a magical moment so much sweeter than the imagination could ever create.