Illinois Education Code For Homeschooling
This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at your public library.
Compulsory attendance – From 7 to 17 years of age. (Law changed from 16 to 17 as of January 1, 2005)
The jurisdiction of the Office of The Superintendent of Educational Service Region over the Supervision of public and non-public schools is regulated by the compulsory school attendance law.
Article 26, Section 1, Paragraph 1, of the Illinois School Code of Illinois states that:
“Whoever has custody or control of any child between the ages of 7 and 17 years (unless the child has already graduated from high school) shall cause such child to attend some public school in the district wherein the child resides the entire time it is in session during the regular school term, except as provided in Section 10-19.1, and during a required summer school program established under Section 10-22.33B; provided, that the following children shall not be required to attend the public schools:
Any child attending a private or 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.”
The Illinois courts have held consistently that if instruction is given as the compulsory education law contemplates then the term “private school” as a lawful substitute for public schooling has been extended to home schooling. The burden is on the parent to show that an adequate course of instruction in the prescribed branches of learning is being pursued.
You will note that the Illinois School Code has only two basic requirements for private home schools. They are as follows:
1. That the branches of education or subjects taught in a private home school be equivalent to those being taught in the public schools.
2. That the daily instruction of a child in a private home school be in the English language.
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Summary Outline of Illinois School Laws the Pertain to Private Homeschools
Compulsory Attendance: Illinois Annotated Code Section 26-1, (1981)
Ages 7-17 years of age (both inclusive)
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Specific Home School Statutes:
Alternative Statutes Allowing for Home Schools:
1. Section 26-1-“Any child attending a private or parochial school where children are taught the branches of education, 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.”
2. If contacted by state school officials, home schoolers could: submit a “statement of assurance” form to the local school district for the purposes of verifying that their childrens’ private education is providing instruction as required by Section 26-1 of the Illinois State Statutes. The statement of assurance process, however, is voluntary and not required by law. Parents who decide to submit a statement of assurance should be aware of the fact that this form has two illegitimate points. Therefore, parents should modify this form that is sometimes sent by public school officials, entitled: “Statement of Assurance” by omitting points ten and twelve.
Only public school teachers must be certified (Section 21-1).
Not required by statute.
State Accreditation or State Recognition
Not required by statute.
Private Home School Visitations
Not required by statute.
This is an example of a compliance letter that should only be sent in response to a contact from a state school official.
Attendance does NOT mean sitting at a desk for five hours. Homeschooling, by its very nature, incorporates a wide variety of experiences. Homeschoolers do not need to keep any records of attendance in Illinois.
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Home-schooling in Illinois is considered to be a form of private education. Parents 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). From the Illinois State Department of Education.
From Illinois House.
People vs. Levisen
Illinois House helps explain how this case established the rights of parents to homeschool in Illinois.
Public Act 093-0858
January 1, 2005, update to compulsory education age from 16 to 17, and other modifications, most of which do not affect homeschoolers in Illinois.
What do I do if a truant officer comes to my door?
Be polite but do NOT let them in unless they have a signed search warrant. Make your children unavailable to them.
Withdrawing Children From Public Schools
When parents choose to withdraw their compulsory attendance aged children (ages 7 – 17) from public school, there are certain procedures that should be followed.