Homeschooling in Colorado
Hi, my name is Laura, and I homeschool in Colorado! I grew up in Colorado and have been in the Colorado Springs area for nine years. I have one child, a 9-year-old son, who has Asperger's Syndrome.
Hi, my name is Heather, and I also homeschool in Colorado! I am a mother of two boys and I have been married for 12 years. I have lived in the Denver, Colorado area for 21 years. This is our third year homeschooling and each year has been different as well as interesting.
To find out more about the legal requirements for homeschooling in Colorado, articles, and state-specific resources, you can also visit one of these sites:
Legal disclaimer: This section is two families' stories and how they meet the mandatory school attendance laws in Colorado. It is not intended and should not be used as definitive legal advice. In most states, parents find a variety of legal methods to pursue the educational approach that they prefer for their child.
Laura's Favorite Resources in Colorado
If you are looking for a good link to Colorado homeschool laws, you might want to check out the Rocky Mountain Education Connection.
Another link for parents in the Pikes Peak region is www.peakparent.org. There is a good homeschool mom's group here in Colorado Springs. We have enrichment classes for our children two days a week and a mom's group is available once a week if you wish to participate.
I am still learning all the ways to get connected and looking for resources. As I learn about them I will post them on the forum. If you have information you would like to share, especially outside of the Pikes Peak region, I would love to hear about it and pass it on!
I would also suggest contacting your local school district and talking to them. Many have homeschool programs available. Some of those even provide free supplies. Each district is different. If your area allows CHOICE options for the school districts, check with your neighboring districts as well. My son participates in a homeschool program with a district that is next to ours. This is wonderful as we don't have to physically move our family home to different district limits to be able to participate in the programs they have to offer. The downside is you may have to go on waiting lists, as those families who are within the district get first priority.
Laura's Homeschool Experience
I don't have experience homeschooling outside of Colorado, but for us, Colorado is very homeschool friendly! Since my son's diagnosis of Asperger's, it became more important to me to be able to do everything necessary to make sure he was succeeding in all areas of his life. I am able to create the curriculum that suits his wide range of abilities (he is reading at a college level, but his math and writing skills need lots of extra attention). I was also concerned about his ability to test well. Colorado has an option for homeschooling families to use a State-Licensed Homeschool Evaluator in lieu of the required testing. We use an evaluator more frequently than required because I find her expertise and input is extremely invaluable in keeping us on track. Also, one of our local school districts has just recently decided to work with homeschool families by creating a Homeschool Academy. This is a huge blessing. They offer a full day of classes once a week for homeschooling families to enroll their children. My son has really enjoyed this. For me, working with the local school district to supplement our schooling at home is a win-win scenario.
After his first day using Time4Learning, my son looked over at me and said 'I'm really smart mom!' That statement is priceless!
Time4Learning started out as a supplement, but has now become more of a center piece to our homeschooling. I wasn't expecting that at all!
Laura's Approach to Homeschooling
I am not a naturally structured, organized person! But as my son gets older, I am having to become a little more so. Unfortunately, we do not have a typical day. I have found that we have to be very flexible in our schooling since our lives seem to be so crazy. I try to focus on a certain subject each day. However, I try to get math and spelling (two subjects he needs extra work on) in almost every day. When I have to go to work, I make sure that I have the day planned out, most of it being on Time4Learning as I will not be there to provide specific instruction. For example, Fridays are "science Friday" for us. It also happens to be a day I work and that he spends with my parents, so he watches "Science Friday" on PBS then does a few lessons in a workbook. Then he works on a science module on Time4Learning. When I am at home, I use Time4Learning during those times when I need to clean or cook. I review his work regularly through the report page to see what areas he may need more work on. Mondays we do math, spelling, language arts, and French. Wednesdays are our history day - we work on world history & American history, then French lessons. Tuesdays and Thursdays he takes classes outside the home. We use Saturdays to catch up on anything we missed during the week.
For those of you that are super organized, you are probably going crazy looking at our schedule! But it works for us and he is excelling in his schoolwork. Also, my parents feel like they are involved in his education and I think that is a huge added bonus! They enjoy it as much as we do.
Since our lives are so diverse and every week seems to have something different going on, I school year-round. This keeps me from feeling very stressed out if we miss days or if we want to take a family vacation during the winter or spring.
Homeschool Laws in Colorado
The requirements here in Colorado are pretty standard. You must file a"Notice of Intent to Homeschool" form to your local school district at the beginning of each school year. This must be done from ages 6 to 16; however you do not need to start schooling until age 7. This must be filed at least 14 days prior to beginning your homeschool program. It is also required to instruct your child(ren) a minimum of 172 days, averaging four hours a day of instruction, in the school year and include, but not limited to, the subjects of communication skills in reading, writing and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and regular courses in the instruction of the Constitution of the United States. There is also a Colorado history requirement.
State standard tests, or an evaluation by a licensed evaluator, must be done at grade levels 3,5, 7, 9, and 11, and the results must be filed with your school district.
It is important to keep records for each child, name, place of residence, immunization records, curriculum, hours of instructions, test, and evaluation results. While it is not required to file these records, the school district may request them and they must be provided if requested.
I couldn't believe that my child was able to take charge and do the program alone! The software is so user friendly and I really do love it!
In this lesson, students are prompted to
Heather's Favorite Resources in CO
In order to stay connected with other homeschoolers and keep up with what is going on in my state, I use the following resources:
Heather's Homeschool Experience
I feel fortunate because Colorado allows parents much flexibility when it comes to home education. Anything from field trips to library trips to playing Scrabble is considered part of your daily education. Also, there are many great resources including co-ops, homeschooling groups of many types, enrichment courses, and virtual academies.
Children must be registered as homeschoolers beginning with first grade. A short written letter of intent is all that is required. It is not necessary to file a letter of intent for kindergartners. Basic skills testing is not mandated until grade 3, and then every other year after that. Of course, the other option is to register through the public or charter school virtual academies, or to register through CHEC, FACE or a variety of curriculum publishers who provide private school status and diplomas. I enrolled through CHEC for $50 per year. I investigated many options and felt this was the right choice for our family. We may just send a letter of intent next year to keep it simple.
Heather's Homeschool Day
Our family uses a mix of programs. Mostly we do lapbooking/unit studies, living books, art projects, and of course we love to use Time4learning!
If I were to describe a day in our homeschool, it might go something like this:
In the morning, after we have breakfast and feed the pets, we'll mosey on down to our basement, where most of our schooling materials are kept. We'll do songs, flag pledge, sharing or show and tell, stretching and yoga, calendar and weather, circle time which usually includes flash cards, book reading about whatever our topic is that week, and a game using an object like counting bears, beanbags, geoprisms, rice boxes, maps, or whatever I come up with that day. Then we do snack, an art project and several worksheets (or coloring sheets for my pre-k son). The boys go outside and play while I make lunch. In the afternoon, I run errands or do field trips, play dates, or go to the park. When we return, my older son works on Time4Learning while my younger son takes a rest or watches a movie and I clean house and do any chores. Many days we'll also play UNO, Chess, Scrabble, and other games in the afternoon. Then I make dinner, dad comes home and we just spend time together before bath and bed. Some days, the boys will have an enrichment class or sport to fit in as well.
Also, my son attends the Woodrow Wilson Charter School Homeschool Connection one day per week. This is a publicly funded enrichment program for homeschooling children K-6. I do have four good friends who are homeschooling moms and we find time to do lessons together and go on field trips together. My children have taken homeschooling gymnastics and homeschooling swim lessons at our local recreation center.
My daughter has a great time with Time4Learning. She thoroughly enjoys the reading part of the lessons and is able to really expand her phonics and reading, skills in a fun and interactive way.
On timed reading assignments, my son has to beat the clock. Then he is scored and asked to read the assignment again with more fluency. I love that the emphasis is on reading fluently.
Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
Colorado homeschool law includes the freedom for families to pick and choose their own curriculum based on what works best for their child. However, families new to homeschooling quickly discover a dizzying array of choices when it comes to selecting homeschool curriculum. There is no more popular discussion among homeschoolers on the web than the pros and cons of various homeschool curriculum. After sifting through the homeschool curriculum reviews, most parents end up mixing and matching homeschool programs, trying to create the best match for their child.
Time4Learning's experience shows that there is no single, best homeschool material. Rather than feeling torn between homeschool resources, parents should select a diverse blend of materials and activities.
For families with more than one child, choosing a homeschool program can be more problematic. What works for one child may not work for another. What works for one subject may not work on the next. What works one year, may fall flat the very next year.
Some of the features that make Time4Learning so successful include:
Time4Learning is proven effective with homeschoolers, has a low monthly price, is easy-to-use, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can make sure that it works for your children!
Sign up for Time4Learning as part of your overall homeschool program.
If you have any more questions or comments about homeschooling in Colorado, head over to the Colorado Discussion Group.
Some Helpful Tools and Resources
Welcome to Homeschooling Guide - Are you new to homeschooling? This guide was written by seasoned homeschoolers to answer some of the difficult questions new families often struggle with.
Curriculum Lesson Plans - An overview of the number of lessons that are included for each grade and subject. All students have access to at least 2 (and in most cases 3) grade levels of curriculum for each subject, so they can move ahead or review at their own pace.
Homeschool Portfolio Information - Answers common questions about homeschool portfolios and evaluations. It includes tips on organization methods, what to include and how Time4Learning can be used as part of your homeschool portfolio.
The Lesson Activity Finder - One of the many helpful tools that Time4Learning offers its members. The activity finder is a shortcut that makes it easy for parents to preview lessons or find extra practice for their child. You can visit our hints and help section for more information about the activity finder.
Lesson Planning Worksheet - Wondering how many lessons to have your child do each day? Estimate the number of activities per day using this easy to use, printable worksheet.
Online Parent's Forum - Reach out to homeschoolers in your area, join discussions, ask questions and trade ideas on our online community of homeschooling parents. Having the support of seasoned homeschoolers can really help make your homeschooling journey a success.
Sign up for Time4Learning and gain access to a variety of educational materials, which will engage and challenge your child to succeed. Make Time4Learning a part of your children's homeschool resources.