Colorado Education Code For Homeschooling
*This is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Check for updates at the Colorado Department of Education website for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Home Schools.
Compulsory attendance – Between 7 and 16 years of age.
What ages does the homeschool law apply to?
NEW Law Change – Effective July 2008: Colorado’s Home School Statute applies to all children between the ages of 6-16. If your child will turn 6 years old by August 1, you must file A Notice of Intent (NOI) to Homeschool. HOWEVER, you do not need to actually begin homeschooling until age 7.
Every year thereafter, from ages 7-16 you must file a new NOI annually, 14 days before you begin your homeschool program.
Compulsory school age ends at age 16 in Colorado. If your child will turn 16 more than 14 days before your homeschool year starts, an NOI is no longer required.
22-33-104. Compulsory school attendance.
(1) Every child who has attained the age of seven years and is under the age of sixteen years, except as provided by this section, shall attend public school for at least one thousand fifty-six hours if a secondary school pupil or nine hundred sixty-eight hours if an elementary school pupil during each school year; except that in no case shall a school or schools be in session for fewer than one hundred sixty days without the specific prior approval of the commissioner of education.
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a child:
(b) Who is enrolled for a minimum of one hundred seventy-two days in an independent or parochial school which provides a basic academic education. “Basic academic education” for the purpose of this article means the sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.
(i) Who is being instructed at home:
(I) By a teacher certified pursuant to article 60 or 61 of this title; or
(II) Under a non-public home-based educational program pursuant to section 22-33-104.5.
22-33-104.5. Home-based education – legislative declaration – definitions – guidelines.
(1) The general assembly hereby declares that it is the primary right and obligation of the parent to choose the proper education and training for children under his care and supervision. It is recognized that home-based education is a legitimate alternative to classroom attendance for the instruction of children and that any regulation of non-public home-based educational programs should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate a variety of circumstances. The general assembly further declares that non-public home-based educational programs shall be subject only to minimum state controls which are currently applicable to other forms of non-public education.
(2) As used in this section:
(a) “Non-public home-based educational program” means the sequential program of instruction for the education of a child which takes place in a home, which is provided by the child’s parent or by an adult relative of the child designated by the parent, and which is not under the supervision and control of a school district. This educational program is not intended to be and does not qualify as a private and nonprofit school.
(b) “Parent” includes a parent or guardian.
(c) “Qualified Person” means an individual who is selected by the parent of a child who is participating in a non-public home-based educational program to evaluate such child’s progress and who is a teacher certified pursuant to article 60 of this title, a teacher who is employed by an independent or parochial school, a licensed psychologist, or a person with a graduate degree in education.
(3) The following guidelines shall apply to a non-public home-based educational program:
(a) A parent or an adult relative designated by a parent to provide instruction in a non-public home-based educational program shall not be subject to the requirements of the “Teacher Certification Act of 1975”, article 60 of this title, nor to the provisions of article 61 of this title relating to teacher employment.
(b) A child who is participating in a non-public home-based educational program shall not be subject to compulsory school attendance as provided in this article; except that any child who is habitually truant, as defined in section 22-33-107 (3), at any time during the last six months that the child attended school before proposed enrollment in a non-public home-based educational program may not be enrolled in the program unless the child’s parents first submit a written description of the curricula to be used in the program along with the written notification of establishment of the program required in paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of this section to the superintendent of the child’s school district of residence.
(c) A non-public home-based educational program shall include no less than one hundred seventy-two days of instruction, averaging four instructional contact hours per day. [A2Z Record Keeping Resources]
(d) A non-public home-based educational program shall include, but need not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States as provided in section 22-1-108.
(e) Any parent establishing a non-public home-based educational program shall provide written notification of the establishment of said program to a school district within the state fourteen days prior to the establishment of said program and each year thereafter if the program is maintained. The parent in charge and in control of a nonpublic home-based educational program shall certify, in writing, only a statement containing the name, age, place of residence, and number of hours of attendance of each child enrolled in said program. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 22-33-104 (1), a parent who intends to establish a nonpublic home-based education program is not required to:
(I) Provide written notification of the program to a school district within the state until the parent’s child is six years of age;
(II) Establish the program until the parent’s child is seven years of age; or
(III) Continue the program or provide the notification after the child is sixteen years of age.
NOTE: The age range for students who attend public school is from six to seventeen years. For more information, see Compulsory School Attendance Law.
(f) Each child participating in a non-public home-based educational program shall be evaluated when such child reaches grades three, five, seven, nine, and eleven. Each child shall be given a nationally standardized achievement test to evaluate the child’s academic progress, or a qualified person shall evaluate the child’s academic progress. The test or evaluation results, whichever is appropriate, shall be submitted to the local school district of residence or an independent or parochial school within the state of Colorado. If the test or evaluation results are submitted to an independent or parochial school, the name of such school shall be provided to the local school district of residence. The purpose of such tests or evaluations shall be to evaluate the educational progress of each child. [Portfolios]
(g) The records of each child participating in a non-public home-based educational program shall be maintained on a permanent basis by the parent in charge and in control of said program. The records shall include, but need not be limited to, attendance data, test and evaluation results, and immunization records, as required by sections 25-4-901, 25-4-902, and 25-4-903, C.R.S. Such records shall be produced to the local school district of residence upon fourteen days written notice if the superintendent of said school district has probable cause to believe that said program is not in compliance with the guidelines established in this subsection (3). [A2Z Record Keeping Resources] No scores for a child participating in a nonpublic home-based educational program shall be considered in measuring school performance or determining accreditation pursuant to article 11 of this title.
(4) Any child who has participated in a non-public home-based educational program and who subsequently enrolls in the public school system may be tested by the school district for the purpose of placing the child in the proper grade and shall then be placed at the grade level deemed most appropriate by the local school district of residence.
(5) (a) (I) If test results submitted to the local school district of residence pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (f) of subsection (3) of this section show that a child participating in a non-public home-based educational program received a composite score on said test which was above the thirteenth percentile, such child shall continue to be exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement of this article. If the child’s composite score on said test is at or below the thirteenth percentile, the local school district of residence shall require the parents to place said child in a public or independent or parochial school until the next testing period: except that no action shall be taken until the child is given the opportunity to be retested using an alternate version of the same test or a different nationally standardized achievement test selected by the parent from a list of approved tests supplied by the state board.
(II) If evaluation results submitted to the local school district of residence pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (f) of subsection (3) of this section show that the child is making sufficient academic progress according to the child’s ability, the child will continue to be exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement of this article. If the evaluation results show that the child is not making sufficient academic progress, the local school district of residence shall require the child’s parents to place the child in a public or independent or parochial school until the next testing period.
(b) If the child’s test or evaluation results are submitted to an independent or parochial school, said school shall notify the local school district of residence if the composite score on said test was at or below the thirteenth percentile or if the evaluation results show that the child is not making sufficient academic progress. The local school district of residence shall then require the parents to proceed in the manner specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (5).
(6) (a) If a child is participating in a non-public home-based educational program but also attending his local school district of residence for a portion of the school day, the local school district of residence shall be entitled to count such child in accordance with the provisions of section 22-54-103 (10) for purposes of determining pupil enrollment under the “Public School Finance Act of 1994”, article 54 of this title.
(b) For purposes of this subsection (6), a child who is participating in a non-public home-based educational program may participate on an equal basis in any extracurricular or interscholastic activity offered by a public school in the child’s public school district of residence or offered by a private school, at the private school’s discretion, as provided in section 22-32-116.5.
(c) No child participating in an extracurricular or interscholastic activity pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection (6) shall be considered attending the public school district where the child participates in such activity for purposes of determining pupil enrollment under paragraph (a) of this subsection (6).
(d) As used in this subsection (6), “extracurricular or interscholastic activities” shall have the same meaning as “activity” as set forth in section 22-32-116.5 (10).
(e) If any fee is collected pursuant to this subsection (6) for participation in an activity, the fee shall be used to fund the particular activity for which it is charged and shall not be expended for any other purpose.
22-32-116.5. Extracurricular and interscholastic activities.
(1) (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, each school district and each public school, subject to the requirements of this section, shall allow any student enrolled in a school or participating in a nonpublic home-based educational program to participate on an equal basis in any activity offered by the school district or the public school that is not offered at the student’s school of attendance or through the student’s nonpublic home-based educational program. A school district or school shall not adopt or agree to be bound by any rule or policy of any organization or association that would prohibit any participation allowed by this section. Each nonpublic school may allow a student to participate in a particular activity offered by the nonpublic school, at the nonpublic school’s discretion.
(4) (b) To participate in an activity at a school of participation, a student shall:
(I) If the student is participating in a nonpublic home-based educational program, comply with all laws governing said programs;
(II) Comply with all eligibility requirements imposed by the school of participation;
(III) Comply with the same responsibilities and standards of behavior, including related classroom and practice requirements, as are imposed on other students participating in the activity at the school of participation.
(6) (a) A school may charge any student participating in an activity a participation fee as a prerequisite to participation. The fee amount that a school of participation charges a nonenrolled student shall not exceed one hundred fifty percent of the fee amount the school of participation would charge an enrolled student to participate in the activity.
(Please read the entire C.R.S. 22-32-116.5 if you want your child to participate in the previously described programs.)
Alternative Statutes Allowing for Home Schools in Colorado:
Home Schools have two additional options:
1. Home School children can enroll in a Colorado independent school but teach at home. The case, People in Interest of D. B., 767 P2d 8Q1 (Colo. App. 1988), held that, according to Colo. Rev Stat. 22-23-104(2)(b), children “enrolled in” an independent or parochial school that provides a basic academic education can be allowed by that school to be taught at home.
The Court of Appeals stated: “Since the district has not challenged the adequacy of the education provided by the academy, the matter of the sufficiency of the children’s attendance is between them (the homeschoolers) and the independent school in which they are enrolled” 767 P.2d at 802. In other words, once homeschool children are enrolled in a Colorado independent school, they are exempt from the compulsory attendance law and the homeschool law, and can still teach their children at home. Colorado independent schools are not regulated and may be comprised of several families.
2. Or, if a homeschooling parent or anyone else is certified in Colorado to teach, the homeschool in which they are providing instruction is exempt from all other requirements, including testing. 22-33-104(2)(i).
Home Schooling in Colorado
From the Colorado Department of Education. Included in the section: A copy of the law associated with homeschooling, some frequently asked questions about Colorado homeschooling and their answers, and a listing of some homeschool support groups around the state.