Illinois Homeschool Requirements
Every state in the U.S. allows parents to oversee their child’s education, but each state has widely different requirements to homeschool your child. The Prairie State is considered a low-regulation state for homeschooling, especially when compared with states that require homeschoolers to submit frequent assessments or participate in annual testing. Illinois even has some schooling options that most other states don’t offer, such as the ability to attend traditional school part time.
If you’re feeling anxious about the new homeschooling adventure you are embarking on, knowing the Illinois homeschool laws should start to put your mind at ease. Read on to discover what you need to know about getting started, keeping accurate records, switching from homeschool to public school (and vice versa) and much more.
- Illinois Homeschool Laws
- Part Time Homeschooling in Illinois
- Homeschool Record-Keeping in Illinois
- Illinois Homeschool Graduation Requirements
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources for Homeschooling in Illinois
*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.
Illinois Homeschool Laws
The first thing most any parent wants to know about homeschooling is, “Can I do this?” That is usually followed closely by the question, “What are the requirements for homeschooling?” These are the same questions that almost all parents ask when considering the idea of educating their child at home. The good news is that you can do this. That’s because the homeschool laws in IL are so simple and straightforward that instead of focusing on the “can” of homeschooling, you can move right into the “how” of it.
The main guideline that Illinois requires of homeschoolers is regarding the subjects they must cover in their instruction. Illinois homeschool law specifies that they must teach at least the following subjects:
- Language Arts
- Biological and Physical Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Fine Arts
- Physical Education and Health
Beyond that direction, there are no specifications about the materials to be used, how much to assign or how often, or even how to track the student’s progress. (Although we have some suggestions for those below.) If your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, you may want to officially withdraw him or her from the school to avoid any truancy confusion when you begin homeschooling.
More information relating to the home education rules for Illinois can be found at A2ZHomeschooling.com.
Full Details of Illinois’ Homeschool Laws
Part Time Homeschooling in Illinois
Illinois school code outlines a unique homeschool option that is not available in most states: part time homeschooling. Homeschoolers in IL are allowed to participate in any part of the academic and extracurricular programs of the school system if there is space available for them. To find out if your homeschooler can take part in the upcoming school year, you would need to put in a request with the individual school before May 1, as the “private school principal” of your homeschool. These requests can only be made to schools in the district where your homeschool resides.
Homeschool Record-Keeping in Illinois
Just because Illinois law does not require homeschoolers to submit any forms or records to the state or school district does not mean that you should not track your homeschool progress. You will discover that any future transitions in educational status such as moving back to school after homeschooling, applying for college, or enlisting in the military will all go more smoothly if you have kept comprehensive records of your homeschool activities.
Some of the things you may want to keep in a homeschool portfolio include:
- The results of any standardized tests your homeschooler takes while homeschooling
- An overview of the curriculum you’ve used as well as samples of assignments completed by your student, quizzes or tests, and written work, something Time4Learning makes very easy
- A general progress report for each homeschooler for the current homeschool year
- For high school homeschoolers, a detailed transcript
Illinois Homeschool Graduation Requirements
Taking responsibility for your child’s education means looking past the current moment and considering their future goals and career. That’s why so many new homeschooling parents have questions about what it means to graduate as a homeschooler.
In Illinois, as in most states, the requirements for graduation are determined by the homeschool administrator (that’s you!). Because you’ll be making the decisions about what courses, tests, grades, and activities to include in these requirements, it’s a good idea to explore what future potential employers, colleges, vocational schools or the military may require and then align your program with those. Some parents find it helpful to compare what their state expects of traditionally schooled students. To assist with that, we’ve provided a comparison of state and homeschool graduation requirements below.
|Illinois diploma requirements||Students must have a minimum of 16 completed units to graduate in Illinois and receive a diploma.||Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements and can issue their own homeschool diploma; students of private/online schools may receive diplomas from those institutions.|
|Illinois high school testing requirements||All public school students enrolled in grade 11 will take the SAT or the DLM-AA, an alternate test for students with significant cognitive disabilities.||Homeschool students are not subject to testing requirements for graduation.|
|Illinois high school transcripts||IL public school transcripts include identifying information, standardized test scores, attendance information, credit totals and a complete credit history by course including course titles, grades received each semester, and cumulative grade average for each.||Homeschool parents may create their own student transcripts, and may include any information they deem pertinent to colleges, military, and/or future workplace organizations.|
|Illinois high school course credits||In order to graduate, IL high schoolers must have 4 years of language arts (including 2 years of writing-intensive courses), 3 years of mathematics (which must include algebra and geometry), 2 years of science, 2 years of social studies (which must include U.S. history and a semester of Civics), and a choice of 1 year of either art, music, foreign language, or vocational education.||Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements; for the purpose of creating transcripts, some homeschool parents do assign credits to individual courses.|
|GED eligibility||IL students who are at least 18 years old and have not earned a high school diploma from an accredited high school and are not currently enrolled in a public high school are eligible to apply to take the General Education Diploma test.||The same requirements for eligibility apply to homeschoolers as to public school students.|
How to Transfer from Homeschool to Public School
Even if you are intent on homeschooling for the duration of your student’s primary and secondary school years, there are circumstances that sometimes make an unexpected return to school a necessity. Sometimes there is a change in personal or financial circumstances. Other times, the student expresses a true dissatisfaction with homeschooling and misses the classroom setting. For whatever reason you need to place your child in school after a period of homeschooling, there are some things to keep in mind.
- There is no formal notice you need to make to withdraw your child from homeschooling. You simply need to enroll him/her in the school of your choice.
- Each school will probably have a different process of evaluating your child’s current academic level for grade placement.
- Schools may request records you’ve kept in your homeschool such as test scores, samples of work completed, or examples of curriculum you’ve used.
- If you are returning a student to public/private school during the high school years, the school may request a current transcript of work completed from 9th grade forward.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Illinois
Have other questions about homeschooling in Illinois? You may find the following pages helpful.