Dear CAPE Families,
We want to thank you for praying for this situation pertaining to the NM Homeschool Notification form. The CAPE Board has been diligently pursuing this issue, and we have felt your prayers.
Sadly, after working with HSLDA and sending letters, emails, and having phone calls and meetings, we feel that we are at an impasse with the NM Public Education Department (PED). After our meeting with them in February of this year, we were of the understanding that the PED simply wanted to make sure that parents understood New Mexico requirements for homeschooling and would NOT require anything more to be signed by the parents except the Notification form, which we are required by law to do each year. We worked up what we thought to be an agreed-upon form which would serve as an informational statement of what the law requires of homeschool families in New Mexico.
As many of you have noted when you went to notify this year, the PED has chosen to continue to use their interpretation of the law and require that homeschool families not only read their interpretation but check an acknowledgement check box to indicate that we agree with their terms and conditions. They have also chosen to use what many of you, and the CAPE Board, believe to be an aggressive tone by bolding words such as “obligated,” “required,” “must,” etc. We also believe that they have chosen to use a law specifically meant for students attending public school and place the burden of a certain amount of hours of educational instruction time on homeschool parents. Not only are we concerned about them using this section of that law, but we are concerned that in the future they may choose to use other sections of the law and apply them to homeschool families, as well, particularly Section B of 22-2-8.1. With this same requirement of educational instruction time, they state that we are NOT required to log these hours, nor will they request or require us to provide such logs. It seems confusing to us that they ask us to sign that we understand that these hours of educational instruction are our responsibility, but they will not require it of us.
All this to share that at this point in time, CAPE would like to make the following suggestion to families that have waited diligently to send in their notification form for the 2018/19 school year:
1) We encourage everyone to send in a paper registration form rather than the online form. The online form WILL require you to sign that you have read and understand their interpretation
of the law. This is the link to the paper registration form. https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Home-School-Registration-Form-Updated.pdf
2) When you send in the paper form, if you feel comfortable, only send in the 3rd page, or the page titled “Notification and Establishment of a Home School.”
3) We encourage everyone to send the notification form via USPS Certified mail. Using this method requires the PED to sign for your notification form so that you have proof that it was
4) We encourage everyone to send these notifications in as close to July 4th, as you feel comfortable, to exercise our independence as a group.
5) HSLDA has recommended that we include a statement in the notification:
“I have enclosed my Notification and Establishment of a Home School form in accordance with Section 22-1-2.1(A) NMSA 1978. However, the Statements of Understanding of Home School Parent/Family is not required by New Mexico law. In addition, I object to the attempt to force me to confirm the 11 “statements of understanding” as I do not agree with all of the interpretations of New Mexico law that are contained in this document. I cannot in good conscience sign the Statement of Understanding of Home School Parent/Family document and it is not included.”
We understand that every family needs to do what they feel comfortable doing, and we have included the New Mexico laws pertaining to homeschooling for you to read as you make your decision. We feel that, working together, we can place pressure on the PED to simply reside within the law (send in a Homeschool Registration Form) without the added necessity of signing that we understand, and essentially agree to, their interpretation of the law. However, we ask that you act in a way that your conscience allows you to proceed.
If you are not a member of CAPE or HSLDA, we would encourage you to join soon. It is not a necessity, but in order to continue fighting this battle, we need support from Homeschool Families across the state. HSLDA is dedicated to fight for your rights as homeschool parents. You can find more information at www.cape-nm.org or www.hslda.org .
Finally, please continue to be in prayer with CAPE and homeschool families across the state. CAPE’s mission has and always will be to “protect parents’ rights, informing, encouraging, and supporting homeschool families in New Mexico.” We are grateful to serve you and thank you for joining with us!
The CAPE Board
New Mexico Laws specific to Homeschool
22-1-2.1. Home school; requirements. (2014)
Any person operating or intending to operate a home school shall:
A. submit a home school registration form made available by the department and posted on the department’s web site to notify the department within thirty days of the establishment of
the home school and to notify the department on or before August 1 of each subsequent year of operation of the home school;
B. maintain records of student disease immunization or a waiver of that requirement; and
C. provide instruction by a person possessing at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.
22-12-2. Compulsory school attendance; responsibility. (2015)
A. Except as otherwise provided, a school-age person shall attend public school, private school, home school or a state institution until the school-age person is at least eighteen years of age unless that person has graduated from high school or received a high school equivalency credential. A parent may give written, signed permission for the school-age person to leave school in case of hardship approved by the local superintendent.
B. A school-age person subject to the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law shall attend school for at least the length of time of the school year that is established in the school district in which the person is a resident or the state-chartered charter school in which the person is enrolled and the school district or state-chartered charter school shall not excuse a student from attending school except as provided in that law or for parent-authorized medical reasons.
C. Any parent of a school-age person subject to the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law is responsible for the school attendance of that person.
D. Each local school board and each governing body of a charter school or private school shall enforce the provisions of the Compulsory School Attendance Law for students enrolled in their respective schools.
New Mexico law that we feel is wrongly being applied to homeschool students:
22-2-8.1. School year; length of school day; minimum.
A. Except as otherwise provided in this section, regular students shall be in school-directed programs, exclusive of lunch, for a minimum of the following:
(1) kindergarten, for half-day programs, two and one-half hours per day or four hundred fifty hours per year or, for full-day programs, five and one-half hours per day or nine hundred ninety hours per year;
(2) grades one through six, five and one-half hours per day or nine hundred ninety hours per year; and
(3) grades seven through twelve, six hours per day or one thousand eighty hours per year.
B. Up to thirty-three hours of the full-day kindergarten program may be used for home visits by the teacher or for parent-teacher conferences. Up to twenty-two hours of grades one through six programs may be used for home visits by the teacher or for parent-teacher conferences. Up to twelve hours of grades seven through twelve programs may be used to consult with parents to develop next step plans for students and for parent-teacher conferences.
C. Nothing in this section precludes a local school board from setting a school year or the length of school days in excess of the minimum requirements established by Subsection A of this section.
D. The secretary may waive the minimum length of school days in those school districts where such minimums would create undue hardships as defined by the department as long as the school year is adjusted to ensure that students in those school districts receive the same total instructional time as other students in the state.
E. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, provided that instruction occurs simultaneously, time when breakfast is served or consumed pursuant to a state or federal program shall be deemed to be time in a school-directed program and is part of the instructional day.