Homeschooling in Illinois

If you decide to homeschool your child(ren) you know you’ll be taking a crucial decision that will affect your life seriously. All states have their own laws on homeschooling, and Illinois offers its residents a lot of freedom when it comes to home education. In Illinois, homeschoolers are regarded as private educators. Home schooling parents must meet the legal requirements that the state imposes on them and teach their children in accordance with and at the same level what is taught with grade and age in public schools. Home schooling parents must teach core subject fields in English. The subject fields include math, language arts, social sciences, fine arts, biological & physical sciences, and physical development & health.

Illinois law requires that all children aged 6 to 17 must attend school, and though there is no minimum number of days or hours that homeschoolers receive education, the law requires home educated children to receive training and education that’s at least equivalent to education standards in public schools. Public schools must provide at least 176 days of education annually, and an instructional day needs to come with at least five instructional hours.

Illinois parents have the liberty to choose the time, the method, the materials, and the courses for their home education, and parents of high school-level homeschoolers can determine by themselves if and when their children are entitled to receive their high school diploma. All individual schools, so also private home schools, are issuing their own diplomas. In Illinois, you can register that you are homeschooling but you are not required to do so, but parents may need to prove that their home education meets all state requirements. This means that if a truancy officer requires you to so, you must be able to produce proof that you educate your child(ren) in line with what the law requires.

Illinois has no testing requirements, and in case you assess your child’s academic progress through standardized tests, there’s no obligation to submit any results. There are many standardized tests available online, for example from this website or from BJU Press. If you want to withdraw your child from public school you need to inform the school principal in a letter that you will withdraw your child and place him or her in a private school. In that case, the school is not likely to report your child to county education officials as truant.

Homeschoolers may also attend a local public school on a part-time basis, but you need to make sure that there’s space at the local school, that you have submitted your request timely (generally a year in advance), and you can only do so for regular curriculum courses. Public schools, on the other hand, are not obliged to make their extracurricular activities, such as athletics, available to students that attend private schools. If you want to re-enroll your child in public school again after a home or private schooling period, your local school will evaluate your child’s work and determine grade placement.

Many universities and colleges have specific procedures for admitting homeschoolers to their institutions, and as homeschooled students usually pretty bright and highly self-motivated, they generally experience little trouble getting into the college they wish. College or university admittance procedures may take somewhat longer, though, so be sure to start your research early and see what documentation is required, even before your child would enter high school.