Welcome to the Illinois State Board of Education’s webpage on homeschooling, where you will find information on registration, requirements, resources, and more. The information is divided into several topics, which you can click on to learn more. If you prefer, you can view all of the information below in a printable document:
1. What home school laws or requirements must I follow as a parent or guardian?
I. You must provide instruction in the following subject areas:
- Language Arts
- Biological and Physical Science
- Social Science (Social Studies)
- Fine Arts
- Physical Development and Health
II. You must offer education that is at least equivalent to that which is offered in public schools.
2. What materials, resources, recommendations or other help can ISBE provide?
The Illinois State Board of Education does not provide recommendations for materials or provide assistance with planning a home school curriculum. However, we have prepared a list of resources that may be helpful to view, if parents or guardians are unsure where to start.
3. Is there an application or registration process that must be completed before I start home schooling?
No. The state of Illinois
require parents to register before they begin home schooling. The state does offer a voluntary registration process, which parents are encouraged to complete by filling out the following
ISBE Home Schooling Registration Form
. There are no other forms, documents, or procedures required by the state of Illinois.
4. My child is currently attending a public school. Is there a formal procedure I must follow to withdraw before I begin to home school?
While there is no formal procedure mandated by state law, parents or guardians should notify the public school of their intent to home school. Failure to do so may result in the public school marking the student absent and eventually referring the student to a truancy officer.
ISBE highly recommends that you give the public school a dated letter (keeping copies for your records) that state you will be withdrawing your student and intend to home school. We also recommend including a copy of the
ISBE Home Schooling Registration Form along with your letter to show that you are aware of your obligations as a parent.
In addition to the public school, parents or guardians are encouraged to send the same letter and form to their Regional Office of Education. You can find your Regional Office of Education by searching for your County on the
Regional Office of Education Directory.
5. Does my child have to take standardized tests?
No. If you choose to administer tests to assess academic progress you are not required to submit the results to any school official or state agency.
6. Eventually, I want to send my child back to public school. What should I know?
If you decide to re-enroll the student in public school after a period of home schooling, the public school enrolling the student will make a determination of grade placement. The school may administer a test to the student or ask for proof of the material covered during the period of home schooling. ISBE highly recommends that parents keep in close communication with the public district in which they intend to enroll or re-enroll the student. By doing so, you can ensure that your child will be ready for whatever assessment will be used and therefore placed in the grade level that matches the student's academic ability. Moreover, for high school students entering a public school it is critical that parents can demonstrate proof that a student has earned credits during the home school process for classes required for graduation.
Finally, parents or guardians should know their rights in grade placement. A district may not make a placement decision that is unreasonable or arbitrary. For example, a public school cannot require a home school program to be “registered" or “recognized" through the State Board of Education since the School Code excludes home schools from this voluntary process. A method of grade placement (such as the use of contemporary testing) that treats all students in the same way whether entering from nonpublic schools in Illinois or from public and nonpublic schools in other states would be a reasonable policy for a district to adopt.
Laws and Court Cases Involving Home Schooling
In a 1950 decision of the Illinois Supreme Court, People v. Levisen
, the Court held that home-schooling could be considered private schooling if the teacher were competent, the required subjects were taught, and the student received an education at least equivalent to public schooling. As a result, home schooling is considered to be a form of private education in the State of Illinois.
Parents or guardians who choose to educate their children at home are under a legal obligation to meet the minimum requirements stated in Illinois' Compulsory Attendance Law (Section 26-1 of the Illinois School Code). Parents who choose to educate their children at home are obligated to teach their children “…the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools" and they are further obligated to offer instruction in these core courses in the English language. The “branches of education" include language arts; mathematics; biological and physical sciences; social sciences; fine arts; and physical development and health.
Parents or guardians who permit a child to attend a home school that is up to the standard of Section 26-1, as interpreted by Levisen, are free to decide the manner, time and materials which best suit the learning needs of their children. Parents may determine what type of home-schooling curriculum is best for their students, what materials to use, how much homework to assign, how homework is to be assessed, and what records of the student's accomplishments should be kept.
While the law affords Illinois parents a great degree of latitude in designing and/or choosing a program of home education that best meets the needs of their children, it also has the effect of placing near-total responsibility on parents for their student's education while they are being home-schooled. In a 1974 decision, a federal district court stated that under Illinois law the burden of proof rests with parents to establish that the plan of home instruction which they are providing to their children meets state requirements.
The regional superintendent of schools for the student's county of residence has first-line responsibility for investigating reports of noncompliance with the compulsory attendance laws found in Article 26 of the Illinois School Code. In fulfilling this legal responsibility, regional superintendents may expect the parents who seek to educate their children at home to establish, when necessary, that they are providing instruction that is at least commensurate with the standards established for public schools. With evidence that home instruction in a specific instance does not satisfy the requirements of state law, the regional superintendent may request the regional or school district truant officer to investigate to see that the child is in compliance with the compulsory attendance law. Truant officers are peace officers empowered to conduct investigations, enforce the compulsory attendance law and to refer matters of noncompliance to the courts. A parent who allows a child to attend a home school that does not comply with the standard of Section 26-1, as interpreted by Levisen, allows the child to be truant and can be found to have committed a Class C misdemeanor.
How can we help today?
This page has been archived. The content on this page may no longer be in effect.