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  • Writer's pictureSarah Smith

Concerned about kids' schooling? Info about alternatives

Dear New Mexicans, Many parents and grandparents are concerned about the poor quality of education in NM schools as well as other issues including transgender and race-based ideological indoctrination, pressure about healthcare choices, and bullying. We know the idea of homeschooling can seem daunting. However, homeschooling typically does NOT require teaching your kids 6-8 hours/day. In fact, for elementary age kids, homeschooling generally only takes 1-2 hours of focused time/day. There are also hybrid alternatives that can work well to allow kids to take some classes at school while also homeschooling. If you're new to the topic, homeschooling is probably simpler than you think it is! Homeschoolers typically out-perform kids who attend regular school in standardized testing. They also tend to be happier, more responsible, and better-adjusted in comparison to kids attending public school. And even when a family has two parents working, there are ways to make homeschooling successful. For example, Sarah Smith (the NMFA Executive Member writing this post), works several part-time jobs and her husband works full-time. Sarah has been homeschooling her two kids for 10+ years. Though it can be trickier, we know of single parents who also homeschool their kids as well. In this post, we are sharing practical information and resources for those who are considering homeschooling as an alternative to public school.

Please scan below for more information about:

  • Legal requirements for homeschooling in NM

  • Getting started with homeschooling

  • Homeschool groups and co-ops in NM

  • Hybrid schooling

  • Approaches to homeschooling

  • Curriculum


New Mexico's home schooling requirements are very simple in comparison to other states. Briefly, these are the requirements:

  • To be qualified to home school you must have a high school diploma or GED. The home school operator must be the parent or legal guardian. (However, someone else may provide instruction in a given subject.)

  • Once a year, you must notify the NM Public Education Department of your intent to homeschool. This needs to be done within 30 days of withdrawing your kids from public/private school, and annually by August 1st for each year thereafter. The form and instructions can be accessed here:

  • Homeschoolers are required to teach for the required number of days that your local public school is in session, generally 180-190 days. (NOTE: NM does NOT require homeschoolers to submit any attendance or other records for homeschooling.)

  • Homeschoolers are required to teach reading, language arts, math, social studies and science.

  • Homeschoolers are required to maintain immunization records. You can obtain an exemption for religious or medical reasons here:

These two sites may be helpful for more information:


Here are several videos and articles for new or struggling homeschoolers:


One of the most important strategies for homeschool success is to get connected with other homeschoolers in your local area. Homeschooling groups provide support, classes, field trips, and resources to each other. Here are some NM homeschooling groups that may be helpful. This is not an exhaustive list; if your local area is not listed here, it is recommended to search on Facebook to find local homeschool groups. Statewide:



Edgewood/East Mountains:

Las Cruces:

Los Alamos

Otero County/Alamogordo:


Santa Fe:

Valencia County/Socorro:


Hybrid schooling refers to homeschooling your children as well as having them attend specific classes in public school. Many homeschoolers want their children to be able to take advantage of certain public school classes, especially electives or after-school activities like music, languages, and sports. New Mexico law requires that school districts allow home school students to participate in sports and extracurricular activities. Additionally, some NM school districts allow homeschoolers to attend other public school classes, such as science, math, language arts, etc. The provisions for this vary depending on the school district. Consult with your local school or school district to find out what may be possible for your child.


Here are a few resources that will help you consider your approach to home schooling. ​Articles:


  • Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Gatto - This is written by a NY State Teacher of the Year, and he talks about what is wrong with the government school system

  • A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille - This is a solution to the problems laid out in Gatto's book. DeMille's mission is all about freedom and teaching kids to find their own unique missions in life.

  • Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille – This is a book filled with practical information for “how” to homeschool effectively.

  • Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray – This book is written by a developmental psychologist, and explores the foundations of learning through play.


There are many homeschooling curricula available. Some are free and some are expensive. Here are some resources:

We hope this is helpful information for NM parents and families. Feel free to share this information with others in NM who may be interested.


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