General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Illinois
The local laws in Illinois state that all children here who are between the ages of 6 and 17 need to attend school. Students can be homeschooled in this state, in which case their home is treated as a private school for the purpose of Illinois’s compulsory attendance law.
Notification of Intent to Homeschool in Illinois
The first step to take when homeschooling a child is to notify the authorities of your intention to do this. This ensures that you are fully complying with the requirements set out by the local laws, as listed in Article 26 of the Illinois School Code. In Illinois, this step is viewed as being voluntary on the part of the parents rather than mandatory. If doing so, the parent can find a form on the Illinois State Board of Education website that can be filled in and sent to the State Board of Education or regional superintendent.
Qualifications Required to Homeschool in Illinois
There are no qualifications listed as being needed for parents who want to homeschool their children here. However, it is important to note that the instruction received must be in the English language. Another point to bear in mind is that the private school needs to comply with the standards listed in Section 26-1 of the Illinois School Code.
See video below for more information about Illinois Homeschooling:
In the case of the family being contacted by state school officials, the parent can choose to provide them with a “statement of assurance” that confirms the homeschooling education given complies with Section 26-1 of the Illinois State Statutes. However, it is not a process that is required by law and some parents choose to omit points 10 and 12 from the official form that is supplied for doing this.
Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers in Illinois
In Illinois, there are no criteria used to determine how many hours of instruction should be imparted on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. The times and days that the classes take place are left entirely up to the family to decide. However, they need to be sure to cover an adequate curriculum that contains the subjects pointed out below. This can follow the school year as set out by the public schools in Illinois or else any other type of routine that suits the family.
What Subjects Need to be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Illinois?
The official guidelines in Illinois mention providing an “adequate course of instruction” for the student.
The study materials should also be similar to those taught to children of the same age and grade in the state’s public schools.
This means that their homeschool program should cover the following subjects: math, language, social sciences, biological and physical sciences, fine arts, and physical development and health.
It is important to bear in mind that a federal district court has established that the burden of proof for showing that a homeschooling plan is adequate rests with the parents.
What are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers in Illinois?
It should be noted that specific recordkeeping requirements aren’t laid out in Illinois in the way that they are in other states. Having said that, it is still important that parents keep a good record of the subjects that have been taught. Ideally, this will list information such as the dates, the materials used, and the progress achieved. Test results and other relevant details should also be kept. This should be neatly kept in good order, as well as being signed and dated as appropriate.
Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted in Illinois?
Part-time enrollment in a public school is permitted for homeschoolers in this state. This has to be done as a part of the standard education program that corresponds to the student’s age and grade. It is also dependent upon there being space in the school for them.
Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities in Illinois?
The matter of allowing homeschooled children to participate in extracurricular activities is generally left to the discretion of the individual school in Illinois. Sports events can be more difficult, as the student should technically only be allowed to be part of a team that belongs to their own school.
Since the homeschooling environment is classed as a private school, it should really have its own sports team. Therefore, they can only compete with a public school if they have earned enough credits there. Currently, this means 20 credit hours of work are needed with the school.
To receive more information about the homeschooling laws in the State of Illinois, you may want to visit the Illinois Christian Home Educators website.