"Others will probably write to you, but we homeschooled our son on and off for 4 1/2 years between the middle of 4th grade and 9th grades. He's graduating from the Brooklyn Free School this year, and just got into all 3 colleges he applied to!
The first place to start with homeschooling is to look at the NYCHEA website (New York City Home Educator's Alliance.) It's very much worth joining them for the $30 a year, or whatever it now costs. They have listings of classes, groups, activities, events and I think
will even offer you a volunteer mentor."
"I homeschool four of five kids (ages 5.5-13.5, not the 3.5-yr-old (too young)). Have been doing so for over seven years and am a member of a bunch of homeschooling groups. Although it is not a requirement, I bring the kids into the public schools for the ELA,
Math Exams, Regents, and other statewide exams, starting in Grade 3. (Most homeschoolers begin testing at home when required during Grade 5, and not before. I begin at Grade 3.) Also, three of my four homeschooled kids are registered for grades two years ahead. Some folks register their kids a year behind. None of that really matters.)
I don't use those "How to Homeschool" books and haven't found that stuff to be handy. These people are like Martha Stewart or something: some of the expectations are unreasonable, and have nothing to do with reality. Many books (and folks you will meet) are
overly romantic in terms of their views and expectations of homeschooling.
I have found the NYS curriculum, readily found at the Board of Ed website, to come in quite handy, as a guide to see where children should be at.
The first year of homeschooling is usually the hardest in terms of dealing with insecurities, which, if you are doing a good job, should continue throughout your homeschooling efforts. The second aspect which may may it difficult during the first year is simply getting your system started: how homeschooling as you define it will go - in terms of scheduling, content, etc. The third issue is adjustment in terms of your schedule/new role, and your child's adjustment to the new schedule/expectations. No matter what approach you take towards homeschooling, the adjustment issue will smooth out over the course of the first year. This means that you need to figure out how you will approach and organize your homeschooling, and experiment with systems/methods over the first few months, and then solidify your system over the next year.
Most people join homeschooling organizations and meet folks who are actively homeschooling to either join in activities or to see how others do it. The system of the majority of folks in stated to be Unschooling. They do not appear to be Unschooling, but use aspects of it, and interpret Unschooling as they may. I do not represent myself as an Unschooler. You will meet representatives of this type in NYCHEA (NYC Home Education Alliance) and LIGHT (a Long Island Group just like NYCHEA). These groups are not affiliated with any religious organizations. There are some smaller groups in Brooklyn, Queens, and one called Dream4Kids that includes many well-planned teaching co-ops in Queens (mainly for the under-tens). There are some religious homeschooling organizations around, such as LEAH and a religious organization that professes to be a homeschooling legal defense association (not recommended to join this one, since you do not need a legal defense group).
Most of these homeschooling groups are free or close to it (NYCHEA is $36 a year), so you may join a bunch of them (Yahoo Groups). People post activities and many have regular meetings, classes, etc. There are soccer, basketball, swimming, and other physical activities set up, as well as various extras, like joining up with others for work at a soup kitchen, going to shows/special museum/other tours, a yearly graduation ceremony, prom, etc."
Below are a couple of local homeschool groups as well as info regarding homeschooling in the city. The community groups organize field trips/park days/science fairs/soccer/etc. There are also groups based in Queens that have co-ops and other activities if you are able to travel there."