Remote Learning, Home Schooling, and Home Instruction

What is the difference?

Although each type of educational experience takes place in your home, Remote Learning, Home Instruction (also known as Medically Necessary Instruction), and Home Schooling are distinct programs.

Remote Learning was provided and funded by the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) last year to provide continuity of learning during COVID school closures. This year the NYCDOE is not offering families this choice, but will provide Remote Learning if schools or classrooms are shut down by COVID.

Home Instruction/Medically Necessary Instruction is a temporary NYCDOE service for a student who is unable to attend school due to an orthopedic, medical, or psychiatric condition. This school year, Home Instruction has been expanded under the name Medically Necessary Instruction to protect students with medical conditions that are at high risk if they contract COVID, and includes preschool age children. Documentation from a doctor explaining the student’s condition and how it impacts their ability to attend school is submitted, and if HI is authorized, a teacher will work directly with the student either in person or remotely. Although the terms Home Instruction and Home Schooling are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a fundamental difference. Home Instruction is only authorized for students who are unable to attend school due to a medical condition, while the decision and commitment to Home School is a parental choice. View the Home Instruction application and the NYCDOE Health and Safety Guide.

Home Schooling is independent, parent driven, and parent funded education. The parent is responsible for hiring a teacher and/or teaching the student. Parents must indicate their intention to home school and submit various forms and reports throughout the year, most importantly, the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP). Students who are home schooled are eligible for special education services as districts must provide them as an equitable consideration under “dual enrollment services under Section 3602-c.” Learn more about home schooling here.

Children that are age 6 or above are obliged to attend an educational program under the law. To make sure there are no misunderstandings about truancy, families that are pursuing Home Instruction or Home Schooling should send a copy of the completed and submitted form with a letter to their child’s principal. Stating the reasons why the child is not being sent to school, along with the form copy, can head off possible misunderstandings. 

Learning and School