Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 6 through 17.
Homeschooling in Illinois is considered to be a form of private education, used to apply to a student who, under the terms of the compulsory attendance law, is "attending a nonpublic or parochial school where children are taught the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools, and where the instruction of the child in the branches of education are in English." The term "private school" includes homeschooling if the teacher (parent or private tutor) is competent, the required subjects are taught, and the student receives an education at least equivalent to public schooling. People v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E. 2d 213 (1950) and 105 ILCS 5/26-1 et seq.
Parents are not required to register with the state, but may voluntarily notify the ISBE and regional superintendent.
The regional superintendent has the responsibility for monitoring compliance with the compulsory attendance law. In so doing, the regional superintendent may expect the parents who seek to educate their children at home to establish that they are providing instruction that is at least commensurate with the standards of the public schools. The burden of proof rests with the parents. The parents may be expected to document the subjects taught which must include "branches of learning" taught in the public school, the time frame in which instruction will be offered, and the competency of the parent or other instructor(s). It is not necessary for the instructor to have a teacher's certificate. The parents may also be expected to establish by written examinations or by some other method that the child's achievement is comparable to that of the child's peers of corresponding age and grade level. Scoma v. Chicago Board of Education, 391 F. Supp. 452 (N.D. Ill. 1974).
Illinois does not require homeschooled students to participate in standardized testing or reporting of standardized testing scores. A public school may choose to allow a homeschooled student to participate in some assessment tests.
Homeschooled students may attend a public school part-time if there is sufficient space available, the request is submitted to the school principal no later than May 1 for the following year school year, and the course requested is part of the school's regular curriculum. 105 ILCS 5/10-20.24.
Homeschooled students may take driver's education courses with the local school district if the chief administrator of the home school informs the local public school district of the student's name and evidence the student passed a minimum of eight courses during the previous two semesters no later than April 1 for the following school year. 105 ILCS 5/27-24.2 and 27-24.4.
Public schools have no obligation to make extracurricular activities, including athletics, open to students attending private schools.
Under Section D, Proportionate Share Services, of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), public districts have two primary obligations to students in private schools; this includes all students in home schools: 1) timely and meaningful consultation, and 2) Child Find. ISBE Memorandum 06-3 (July 25, 2006).
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777
Illinois does not require any paperwork or forms in order to homeschool legally.
Parents are not required to register with the state, but may voluntarily notify the ISBE and regional superintendent using the Illinois Voluntary Homeschool Form
Graduation requirements, homework, testing, grade advancement, textbook/curriculum choice, record keeping, etc. are all decisions that the homeschool parent or guardian will make.
Per 105 ILCS 5/26-1 and 27-1, you must provide instruction, in the English language, in the following subject areas:
Biological and physical science
Social science (social studies)
Physical development and health
There are no specific classes that are required for homeschool students. You can decide to require or not require specific courses in the above subjects, such as chemistry, Algebra 2, civics, etc., as you design your own homeschool program. This is different from public schools which require that specific classes and credits be earned in order to graduate.
If your child is considering applying to college, you are strongly encouraged to use the same high school graduation requirements used in public schools.
There are no requirements for the number of school days or the length of a school day for homeschool students. Classes can occur any day of the week and at any time during the day.
Although there are no specific requirements, you are strongly encouraged to develop a consistent schedule for your homeschool program. You could choose to follow the same calendar year as your local public school or create your own. In any case, make sure your child has a consistent daily schedule for their learning, especially if they plan to return to their local public school in the future.
At this time there is NO free online public school option, unlike what is available in some other states. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to provide a full educational program that includes the required subjects. Homeschool students may supplement their education program by taking some courses (for a fee) through the Illinois Virtual School (IVS). You can learn more about the options available to homeschool students on the Illinois Virtual School webpage. Please note that the Illinois Virtual School does not issue credit, advance students to the next grade, or offer diplomas. The work completed through IVS may or may not be accepted by any future school your child enrolls in — this decision will be made by the enrolling school.
When in doubt, you can always contact the college your child is interested in and ask about enrollment requirements.
Truancy investigations happen if someone reports you to your Regional Office of Education or Intermediate Service Center. The details provided in the report will be considered, and a truancy officer may attempt to contact you for more information.
Illinois Homeschool Contact Information
Source: Illinois Department of Education
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