Homeschool Legally: Homeschooling Requirements in Illinois
written by: Deidra Alexander
• edited by: Amanda Grove
• updated: 8/2/2012
Each state in America has to tell parents if they can homeschool their child and specify any conditions. Parents and guardians use public information to abide by homeschooling requirements in Illinois in order to achieve legitimate recognition as an institution of learning.
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What to Expect
Approved Program(s): Homeschooling requirements in Illinois inform the public of parental duties and qualifications to instruct their children. Here, homeschoolers are a part of the private education sector. There is no particular curriculum or program for students outside of the public system to use, and accreditation from the state is not extended to homeschoolers.
Homeschooled students must learn all basic areas of instruction (mathematics, language arts, social sciences, physical sciences, fine arts, biology, physical development, and health) at the same level of students in public education using the English language .
Parents can legitimately homeschool their children if they can prove competency and show that all required subject areas are taught at a level that meets public schooling standards. If ever curriculum were requested, parents have to submit proof of an actual program to the department of education.
At minimum, homeschools have to meet the compulsory attendance law in the state of Illinois.
There are no set hours of the day or number of days out of the year a parent has to spend on instruction in their private homeschool.
Before taking the student out of public school, it is advised that parents send a letter to the local district. Apparently, this letter is admissible any time during the school year.
Part-time homeschool is allowable. To do so, space has to be available in the public school, the school principal has to be notified by May 1 of part-time homeschool for the next school year, with proof that the homeschool curriculum is on par with that of the public school.
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Application: Parents voluntarily turn in an Illinois State Board of Education Home Schooling Registration every September. The form asks for simple details about the student, the curriculum name, core areas taught, and grade level for each child taught in the homeschool.
Standardized Testing: Illinois homeschooling requirements do not enforce norm-referenced testing to assess home study students. Parents have the free will to test their student through private companies to track progress.
Public schools can include homeschoolers on their standardized testing dates but the Illinois Standards Achievement test is not considered suitable for a student taught outside of public school as the test is formulated around Illinois educational standards.
When education criterion is not met in a homeschool, local superintendents will initiate an investigation of the program on the grounds of truancy. Truancy is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor in that state.
Driver’s Education: Illinois grants homeschoolers the right to driver’s ed in the public school. To gain access the student must do the following:
Pass at least 8 courses in their home study program in the past 2 semesters
Give notice to the local district by April 1 to be included in the class for the next school year
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Sports: Homeschool students cannot participate in the extracurricular activities of the public school.
Reentry: Districts will evaluate students using consistent measures, such as standardized assessment reports for grade level placement or attributing course credits to the student’s transcript.
Graduation: Homeschoolers cannot earn a middle school or high school diploma in Illinois. Parents who wish to graduate a child can simply present the child with a certificate of completion.
If the student reenters in grade 12, they can graduate from an Illinois public school.
Financial Aid: Parents can apply for assistance with transportation for their homeschool through the state board of education.
Special Education: Services are offered to students with an individualized education plan (IEP) but not to the same degree as granted to a public education student. What the student can receive is based on what they require and what the state has left over after attending to the needs of the student in public classrooms.
Parents have to meet with officials in the student’s district of attendance rather than their district of residence for consultation on what is available and what can be afforded for an exceptional child. However, exceptional students can attend on a part-time basis (taking at least one course) in their district of residence with an IEP that the particular district offers.