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Homeschooling in Illinois

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Get information about setting up and running a homeschool in Illinois with this article. You can check out state regulations and find great educational resources.

Beginning a Homeschool

You don't need to submit special registration to begin homeschooling your child in Illinois. However, you can inform the superintendent of your school district or the state Department of Education if you wish. Additionally, if your child is currently (or was previously) enrolled in public school, you will need to send a letter to the school stating that you are withdrawing your child to provide home instruction.

Educational Requirements

The state of Illinois requires you to instruct your child in:

  • Mathematics
  • Science (biological and physical)
  • Social studies
  • Language arts
  • Fine arts
  • Health and development

There are no regulations regarding the amount of time you have to spend providing instruction. Illinois offers no curriculum or standards that homeschoolers are mandated to follow, but you can access the learning standards used by Illinois public schools in order to ensure your child is receiving an equivalent education. These standards are available on the Illinois State Board of Education website (www.isbe.state.il.us).

To help your child with subjects they need to study across different grade levels, you can access these online homeschool courses. If you have a younger child, these math, language arts, science and social studies courses offer short, fun lessons that make it easy for them to learn.

Illinois does not require homeschooled students to take any kind of standardized tests, or to submit examples of yearly progress. However, you may want to retain information about your child's schoolwork, as these records may be helpful in the event that you enroll your child in public school. Records can also prove useful if your child intends to attend college.

Homeschool Graduation

Illinois does not offer high school diplomas to homeschoolers. Your child can receive a diploma if he or she returns to public schooling in time for senior year, and meets the educational requirements of the state. You can also create a diploma of your own, though your child will not be able to partake in public school graduation programs.

Your child can also complete the GED in order to obtain an Illinois High School Equivalency Certificate. Students can prepare for the test with this GED Prep Course. This study guide allows your child to go over all of the subjects that will appear on the GED. Students have the chance to complete interactive quizzes and tests that allow them to gauge their progress and identify any areas where they need further study.

Additional Information for Homeschoolers

As a homeschooler, your child can enroll part-time in a public school in Illinois. You will need to contact the principal of your local public school by May 1st in order to take advantage of this option. Your child will also be able to complete a driver's ed program through your local public school, and a notice must be sent to the school district by the first of April of your intent to enroll your child in the course.

Some homeschooled students may also participate in extracurricular activities, however, there are typically special conditions related to this participation. These regulations are usually maintained by the:

  • Illinois Elementary School Association (www.iesa.org)
  • Illinois High School Association (www.ihsa.org)

Finally, you may choose to enroll, or re-enroll, your child in public school at any time. Your child's educational level will be assessed by the school district, often through the use of a standardized test.

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