General overview of the homeschooling laws in Colorado
Title 22 of the CSR or Colorado Revised Statutes in its Article 33 which tackles the School Attendance Law of 1963 specifically Section 104.5 provides the homeschool law of Colorado. This law recognizes that homeschooling is a legitimate and effective alternative to attending an actual school for student learning and instruction. The general rule is that children between 6 years old (on August 1 of each year) and 16 years old are required to attend school. The exception to this general rule is being schooled at home given that the requirements provided by law are met. This law was enacted in 1963 and had its revision in 1973 which added an exception from the compulsory school attendance of any student being educated by a parent at home under an effective system of home study that is approved by Colorado’s board of education.
Notification of Intent to homeschool in Colorado
One of the requirements to be met to fall under the exception is the Notification of Intent. Parents are required to file a written notification of intent with a school district. This should be done at least 14 days before starting homeschool and should be done yearly. This notification must include the name of the child, age, present place of residence, and each child’s number of hours of attendance.
Qualifications required to homeschool in Colorado
The law does not require parents to have any qualifications, such as a teaching license or certificate, to homeschool their children. In 1980, the state board had adopted rules and regulations for the administering of home study programs. These rules required parents who did not have teaching certificates to use a correspondence course that is state-approved or choose their own curricula provided that the permission of their resident school district will be obtained. On the other hand, Parents with teaching certificates, under the state’s private tutor provision could homeschool their children without the need for these requirements. Parents argued that the state constitution gave them the right to homeschool and that the state board had no jurisdiction over them, and in other cases, they argued that their religious beliefs forbade them from seeking state board approval.
Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in Colorado
The number of days and hours per day of instruction required, as stated in the law is one hundred seventy-two (172) days of instructions with an average of four (4) hours per day.
What subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Colorado?
There nine (9) subjects that are needed to be covered in Home Education for four (4) hours per day in the state of Colorado. These subjects are communication skills of writing, reading, and speaking, mathematics, science, civics, history, literature and the U.S. Constitution.
Parents must ensure their children are evaluated at the end of the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grade. There are two options for assessment. The first one is the testing option which will require the student to take a national standardized achievement test. The second option is the evaluation option which is done by a qualified person chosen the parent.
What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in Colorado?
Another requirement under the law is the bookkeeping of requirements for homeschoolers. Such records must be maintained by the parents and it should include the attendance of the student, test results and evaluation, and lastly, immunization records. All of these records must be given to the school district if so requested by the superintendent who has probable cause to believe that the homeschool is not in compliance with the law.
Is part-time enrollment permitted in Colorado?
The law does not require nor prohibits homeschooled students to do part-time enrollment in public schools. This decision is at the discretion of the local school district. The only thing that the law mandates are that part-time enrollment of homeschooled students should be recorded for public school funding purposes.
Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in Colorado?
Yes, the homeschoolers in Colorado are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities. According to the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Rules, they have the right to join in the interscholastic and extracurricular activities at a public school in any school district in the state provided that the student has provided that school district with a letter of intent to home school as a home school student with that public school district.
In some cases, a homeschooled student may also participate in an activity at a private school located in her school district of residence. This will be so if the private school allows the homeschooled student to participate in such activity because private schools have the discretion in agreeing who to allow in the participation of their extracurricular activities.