You homeschool? … How does that Work?
In the state of Illinois, according to Section 26-1, “any child attending a private or a 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 is in the English language” is in compliance with the Illinois compulsory attendance law.
By following the above standards, a homeschool is considered a private school according to People Vs. Levisen.
Is There Testing?
Short answer: No!
In the state of Illinois, there is actually no required testing for children being home-schooled. If a parent chooses to have private testing done, they can use …
Do you have to get special training to homeschool your kids?
According to Section 21-1, only public school teachers are required to be state certified in teaching. There are also no requirements for education degrees needed to teach children in a private school.
What that means is, in Illinois, you are trusted as a parent to be fully capable of teaching your own child. Pretty awesome, right?
How Do You Give Grades?
Grading and reporting is the responsibility of the parent. in Illinois, you are not required to report any grades or assessments to the state.
How do “THEY” Monitor You? Do you report to anyone?
There are letters of intent and forms you CAN submit to the board of education but they are not required to homeschool in Illinois. In fact, It is suggested that you DO NOT register your children.
If a truancy officer ever shows up at your house, RUN. No just kidding. If a truancy officer does find their way to your home, you will be asked to show how and when you teach your children. This can be done easily with any schedule you follow, classes you have them enrolled in, or curriculum you follow.
Compulsory attendance currently begins upon a child’s 6th birthday (Effective July 1, 2014 ) and continues until their 17th birthday (unless the child has already graduated from high school). This is according to Illinois Annotated Code Section 26-1.
Note – Attendance: Attendance does NOT mean sitting at a desk for five hours. Homeschooling, by its very nature, incorporates a wide variety of experiences. There are no mandated numbers of hours per day or days per year of attendance for private schools in Illinois.
What if you wanted to go back to public school?
If you choose to re-enter your children into the public school, there are a few requirements you will want to make sure you follow to ensure the process is smooth and the transition is what is best for your student. Illinois HOUSE has great resources for both Withdrawing and Re-entry into public schools.
How do you receive services for your child with Special Needs? Is the IEP still valid?
According to Public Law 94-142., As a parent of a child with special needs, you can receive special services from your school district at no further cost — you have already paid for them with your taxes. This includes speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiologists’ and social workers’ services. However, sometimes this can be easier said than done. Simply put in a few calls to your local school and be polite but persistant. If you do not already have an IEP they may require your child to go through additional testing to determine eligibility. In some cases, your child’s IEP will be changed to a “Service Plan” since your child would be considered a non-attending student.
Want more information about homeschooling a student with Special Needs?
What about Graduation?
Each Illinois private school develops their own and gives their own graduation diploma. For reference, State of Illinois graduation requirements can be found by clicking here.
Does the state provide your curriculum?
While the state will not provide curriculum for you, some districts will provide you with materials. I know when we transferred the boys out of Chicago public schools, we were given the workbooks they would have used in the school. I would suggest contacting your local school.
According to the Illinois Annotated Code Section27-22 the branches of education are Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Fine Arts, Physical Science, Physical Education, and Health.
There are multitudes of curriculum to choose from, methods of homeschooling, and materials you can find for free. As part of this series, I plan to share great resources for finding the perfect curriculum for you. You can also check out how to use Pinterest for Free Homeschool Materials and follow me on Pinterest, where I am always pinning lesson ideas and resources!
For More Information on Homeschooling In Illinois
Home School Legal Defense Association | Laws, Articles, and Latest Developments
Illinois State Board of Education | FAQ and Information about Homeschooling in Illinois
Illinois HOUSE | Statewide Network of Support Groups
A2Z Home’s Cool | Illinois Homeschool Resources
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