IHIPs or Individualized Home Instruction Plans is the most daunting task in the myriad of paper work that the Board of Education requires. However, with a little organization and a knowledge of the regulations, you can breeze through it every year!
My district sent me a form. Do I have to use it?
There are no forms in New York State for any of the required paper work. Although some districts mail forms to parents, you are free to use them or toss them. As with all paperwork, if you are teaching multiple students, you need to do everything separately for each student. Many parents who have kids close together in age, choose to use the same resources for subjects like science and history. Even still, you’ll have to submit separate IHIPs.
Your IHIP and what to put in it
Your IHIP, first and foremost, should contain a list of the titles, authors and/or publishers of all the text books, workbooks, and resources you plan to use for each of the required subjects. It may also contain a list of projects, and field trips that you plan to complete. (Note that I said required subjects. (You do not need to list resources that you plan to use to teach Bible, for example, but you can still count those hours on your quarterlies if you consider it part of your school day). It should also be labeled with your child’s name, the dates that you plan to submit your quarterly reports, the grade level that your child is in and signed by anyone in your household who regularly plans to teach your child.
Here’s what it should look like:
IHIP for Joe Schmoe
1st quarter ends: Sept. 30, 2006
2nd quarter ends: Dec. 30th, 2006
3rd quarter ends: March 30th, 2007
4th quarter ends: June 30th, 2007
Magic School Bus Series by Joanna Cole
Let’s Read and Find Out Science Series Scholastic, Inc.
Sonlight Science workbook Sonlight Publishers
Resources: We hold a membership to the local Science Museum and will participate in educational programs as they become available. There is no syllabus for said educational programs this early in the year. . .programs that Joe does will be noted on his quarterly reports.
You can follow the above model for all the required subjects. The Board of Education would like to see you complete at least 80% of all your textbook and workbook materials. Anything that you are not reading cover to cover should be listed as a resource. You can also list field trips as a resource. For example, we happen to live within walking distance of both the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens. We note that we consider our regular outings there, part of our daughter’s curriculum and we list both places as a resource. You can do this with any field trips you plan take but you don’t have to. The reason you would is so that you can technically count it as part of your school day because it is in your “school plan.”
But what if I change my mind in the middle of the year?
This is the dilemma with the IHIP. It has to be complete enough to satisfy the Board of Education (and yes, they can say that it is incomplete and reject it) but vague enough so that you won’t get yourself in trouble at the end of the year for not finishing the 80%.
One solution is the revised IHIP. I suggest doing this if, and only if, you have made major changes to several areas of your plan. Your revised IHIP would look exactly the same except you should note that it’s a revised IHIP on the top and you should write a brief cover letter explaining what changes you made and why. If on the other hand, you are merely changing a small thing in one area of your IHIP, you can simply note the change and the reason for it on your quarterly. (See quarterly reports for an example of this.)
My Child Does 5th Grade Reading but 3rd Grade Math–what grade should I put on my IHIP?
Do not list your child in both grades–the Board of Education does not like this. Although you may be home schooling to escape putting your child in a box, for the sake of the IHIP, put your child in a grade that you consider to be his/her official grade for all correspondence with the Board of Education. I personally think that it is more advantageous to list your child in the younger grade but it is really a parental decision and you should do what seems right for your child.
What if the Board of Education does not approve my IHIP?
If the Board of Education rejects your IHIP don’t panic. If they reject your IHIP, you should receive a letter stating that it is rejected and why.
The Board of Education can reject your IHIP if they deem that you have not given a sufficient instructional plan. (You haven’t listed all of the required subject or you haven’t listed enough materials to cover those subjects.) They cannot reject it because they don’t like what you’re teaching. Ultimately, decide if what they’re asking you to change is reasonable. If you think that they are not being fair, you can contact HSLDA for advice.
If you need to write quarterly reports, check out my next blog in this series.
Other Articles in this Series: