When starting to homeschool in Colorado, you have three legal options to choose from:
- Registering with a Colorado public school district office via a notice of intent
- Enrolling in a Colorado-based independent umbrella school
- Homeschool under a licensed teacher in the state
Each of these options has accompanying requirements, which we have summarized below. Deciding which option best fits your situation, your needs, and your desired approach is usually the most difficult step. It’s a good idea to talk to other homeschoolers in your state to discover what method they’ve chosen and how it has worked for them before making your final decision.
- Requirements for Homeschooling in Colorado
- Homeschooling with a Notice of Intent
- Colorado Homeschool Testing Requirements
- Homeschool Record Keeping in Colorado
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Colorado
*This information was not compiled by a lawyer. This should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
Requirements for Homeschooling in Colorado
Compulsory school age in Colorado is between 6 and 17 years old, and all children must be enrolled in a public or private school or choose one of the three options for home education to avoid truancy complications. Depending on the homeschool option you choose, you’ll have specific guidelines you need to follow.
In general, the difference between families homeschooling with or without an umbrella school boils down to whose policies they follow. Families who file their notice of intent to homeschool will follow the policies of the homeschool law, while families enrolling with an independent school are subject to that school’s specific policies. (For more information on independent school homeschooling, visit our Colorado Homeschool Umbrella Schools page.) Homeschoolers with a teacher’s license have the least regulations of all; there are no testing, attendance, or record-keeping requirements with that option.
Non-Public Home Based Education Option
Using this option, families file a notice of intent (NOI) to homeschool annually with a Colorado school district. Requirements for homeschooling under this method include the following:
- The NOI must be filed 14 days before the family intends to begin homeschooling
- The NOI should be signed by the parent and should include the names, ages, address, and number of hours of attendance for any child who will be registered in the homeschool
- Teaching must be done by a parent, guardian, or adult relative designated by the parent
- Homeschoolers must receive instruction (at a minimum) in the subjects of reading, writing, speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and the U.S. Constitution
- Instruction should extend for at least 172 days of the year for an average of four hours per day
- Records for each homeschool student should be kept permanently by the parent and should include attendance, test and evaluation results, and immunization records
- Must take a nationally standardized test in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 or be evaluated by a qualified person
- Must submit all test scores to the school district where the NOI was filed
Colorado Homeschool Testing Requirements
As mentioned above, all students homeschooling via the non-public home based education option are subject to testing at five different grade levels: 3rd grade, 5th grade, 7th grade, 9th grade, and 11th grade. The test that is used should be a nationally standardized assessment. Examples of acceptable tests include the California Achievement Test (CAT), the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), and the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT). Students must receive a composite score of at least 13% on their assessment. The results of a homeschooler’s tests should be submitted to the school district where they submitted their original notice of intent.
As an alternative to testing, families can choose to have a professional academic evaluation of their child done. In general, this would be a licensed teacher or psychologist or someone with an advanced degree in education.
Homeschool Record Keeping in Colorado
No matter what method of homeschooling you use, it’s important to keep an up-to-date homeschool portfolio of your child’s accomplishments. Even if you use the umbrella school option, there is always the potential for their records to be lost or to be in error, so keeping your own set of records can be a helpful back-up. In addition to the required records listed above, homeschoolers in Colorado should consider including the following in their portfolio:
- homeschool report cards or a list of grades received by subject
- for high schoolers, a homeschool transcript
- examples of work by grade level
All of these items may prove helpful if you need to go back to public/private school after a period of homeschooling or for preparing college applications.
Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
Most every family considers the decision to homeschool a year-to-year one. Some families will homeschool from kindergarten through graduation, but many other families will use homeschooling as an alternative for specific grades or in specific circumstances. If, after a period of teaching your child at home, you realize that it is not the right choice for your family anymore, you’ll need to know how to transfer from homeschool to public school.
According to Colorado School Attendance Law, previously homeschooled children who want to enroll in public school may be tested by their school district for the purpose of placing the child in the grade level deemed most appropriate. The school you are enrolling with may also request your child’s attendance records and transcripts, although they cannot guarantee that the transcripts will mean assignment into a specific grade level, particularly if the child’s assessment test does not warrant it.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Colorado
Have other questions about homeschooling in Colorado? You may find the following pages helpful.