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Homeschooling in Illinois
Hi, my name is Candace and I homeschool in Illinois. I am a certified teacher in Illinois who realized the school system was not addressing the basic needs of students. I have six children who range in age from 5 to 16 years.
Hi, my name is Cassandra and I also homeschool in Illinois! I have two kids, a 13-year-old son who has ADHD and a 10-year-old daughter. I have been married for 18 years. My husband and I are do-it-yourselfers so we always have projects going on, and of course, we get the kids involved. Currently, we are staining the deck and pergola.
To find out more about the legal requirements for homeschooling in Illinois, 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 Illinois. 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.
How to Find Local Resources in Illinois
Our local library has been the biggest help to me in my homeschooling journey. It was there that I met another homeschooling mom who happened to see me with an armful of books on homeschooling that I was checking out. She gave me lots of great day-to-day advice, and she let me come over and see what she does. She also gave me the contact info for a homeschool support group in our area called Great Explorers. I would tell anyone to check their local library or online for any groups like that in their area.
Through our group we are able to take the same field trips that kids in public schools do, such as museums, plays, musicals, the Planetarium, etc. You'd be surprised at how many classes or special consideration for homeschoolers there are. Two local skating rinks have homeschool-only skate times. The Gymquest offers homeschool classes as well. There are also great programs through the Village you could sign up for. Our Will County Forest Preserve District is also another source of classes and field trips. In Joliet, at the local junior college, the woman who actually runs our local homeschool support group teaches a class there for persons wanting to homeschool. She provides all sorts of advice and resources through her class.
We made friends with a couple that live on a farm nearby and they give us eggs to incubate or baby chicks to raise. We have turkey eggs right now we are trying to hatch. When they get big enough, they go back to the farm. This has been a terrific learning experience. My son and I also did some work for them as well. Ask around for what you're interested in and you never know what could happen. People are eager to share their knowledge, especially with kids. If we go to doctor's office or restaurant (my son loves to cook and has taken cooking class as well) and tell them we homeschool and want to learn about what they do, they always show us around and teach us something new.
Basic Requirements for Homeschooling in Illinois with Candace
I really enjoy homeschooling in Illinois. It is relatively easy as we don't have to send in any reports to the state. The ISAT's are also optional. The area I live in is great as far as field trips and hands on learning experiences. We also have wonderful museums to visit in Chicago. There is lots to see and do and explore in the state.
In Illinois, the basic legal requirements for homeschooling are that you need to teach the branches of education in the English language (if the children are between the ages of 7 - 17).You will have the freedom to shape your school day and your curriculum for your children's specific needs and talents. Illinois government does not require testing, evaluation, or special oversight such as sending in reports to the state.
I LOVE Time4Learning! It holds the attention of my kids, plus I can keep track of their learning without hovering over their shoulders.
I am really pleased with Time4Learning. It has made a world of difference in my son's academic performance in school!
How Candace Homeschools in Illinois
For those of us who homeschool in Illinois, we need to pull together to learn about all of the great resources available. So many times I would run across other parents by accident and we would begin to build off of each other. I have also learned that as a homeschooling parent you can never have too many resources to help you properly educate your children!
In Illinois, you need to be sure to follow state guidelines which will help you guarantee your child's success! By following state guidelines you're sure to allow your child the benefit of keeping up with other kids in his or her community. If you have to place them back in public school, then they will be where they need to be academically.
You also need to maintain accurate records of your child's work and development so that you can always have their grades and records ready. You could keep this information on disc for the duration of your homeschooling experience and then you would be able to submit it to the public school if you decide to stop homeschooling. I keep all of my children's grades on computer disc and in written form just in case something happens to one I have the other to fall back on.
Successful Homeschooling Resources and Tips From Candace
One of the greatest resources for me is my church. There are other parents who homeschool there, and we are able to communicate and work together to help our kids succeed! We share material and talk about good curricula and those that don't work well at all. We also take time to allow our kids to play and interact, which is very important for both kids and parents. Balance is everything -- knowing when to try something different and knowing when to take a break and move on to something your child is good at.
The library has saved me a great deal of money because there are so many free resources, learning books and fun activities. Another important step is good planning. I have individual lesson plans for each child to keep myself and my children focused.
The software appealed to me because you can change the grade level of their instruction, to customize it for your child's needs.
1st graders learn about "parts of a whole" from Sally and Pong in 'The Art of Fractions' lesson.
A Typical Homeschool Day With Candace
A typical day for our family begins at 6:00 a.m. We start with prayer and then breakdown into our reading groups. My oldest son Jordan reads to his younger brother Denzel. While they are reading, I do various reading exercises with my 12-year-olds who are racing to see who can finish first. My 9 and 10-year-olds are working on their math problems during this time. At about 9:00 a.m., my daughter Lovie, who is 12, will begin her Time4Learning. She loves the exercises and is motivated to do well because she wants to be a doctor. While Lovie is on the computer, the other children are working on their science projects. Yes -- projects! Each child has different interests and enjoys different things so I let them create projects which teach a common theme and allow them to understand the concept for themselves. During the day, each child takes turns using the computer and using Time4Learning. I have found that because Time4Learning is grade appropriate, it helps me and them be sure we are on track. They enjoy working independently!
How Cassandra Fulfills the Requirements
Time4Learning is the best tool I have at my disposal! We tried other avenues, but this is the best for our family. My daughter was begging us to go back to it when we stopped for awhile. Hey, you can't beat it if they're begging to do schoolwork! It tracks the kids' progress, which my husband loves, and that saves us both a lot of headaches. It also provides resources for us to print out as extra aides if the kids need it. T4L provides lessons in math, science, language arts and social studies which meet the state requirements. But also included within these lessons are lessons on health, geography and some art history. The lessons are informative and creative; we love all the characters that teach the lessons!
I supplement with a health and nutrition workbook for health class. As for the fine arts, the kids are currently taking an art class offered at our local library for homeschoolers only and at no cost! They have taken knitting, pottery and ice skating classes. I also teach them character building skills and we do volunteer work in the community. I bought a violin and am teaching the kids to play via free online violin lessons. I was in orchestra in school so I do know what I am doing just in case you wondered, however, you could do it without the knowledge as well, it's pretty straightforward.
Time4Learning is vibrant, engaging, educational, and funny. It sure beats our previous homeschool curriculum which was textbook/workbook based.
Time4Learning is so effective that very little intervention is required. This works great if you're homeschooling multiple children.
Cassandra Watches Her Children Grow
Below is what a day in our homeschool looks like.
After breakfast, brushing teeth and caring for our pets, we start school. I will usually sit with one child at a time and go through lessons. I will have the other child do chores, some writing work or reading at this time or all of the above. Then, I switch kids. Afterward, we either walk the dog or go to the park or go fishing at the preserve for some exercise. Sometimes I borrow educational videos from the library and we watch those. Our neighbor had surgery on her shoulder, so lately we've been helping her by walking her dog and watering her yard. On Fridays we go to a nursing home and read the Bible to a friend of ours. In the evening (at least two times a week), we do some reading and studying together as a family and sometimes play games or watch a movie together. Whatever we do, we try to teach as much as we can. I teach my kids life skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for pets, etc. They even have their own savings account at a bank. Now that it's spring, they help me plant. I let them start plants as seeds and watch them grow. That's the best part of my day, just like those seeds, I am always there to watch my children grow!
Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
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 Illinois, head over to the Illinois Parents Forum.
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 what's available for each grade and subject.
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.
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.
Hints & Help Section - Whether you're new to Time4Learning, a long term member, or a future member with questions about how the program works, this section answers questions about navigation, lesson planning & previewing, how the teacher guides and worksheets work, and more!
Puffin Academy App - Learn how to use Time4Learning on most mobile devices with the Puffin Academy app for iOS and Android! Get details on this kid-friendly app, including how to download and use it on the go with Time4Learning.