HOME SCHOOLING IN ILLINOIS
EVERY PERSON HAS A RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION. EVERY PARENT HAS THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE THEIR CHILDS EDUCATION AND THE RIGHT
TO HOME SCHOOL DCFS STATES THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT CHILDREN NEED TO BE HOME SCHOOLED.
WHERE DOES THE SEPARATION OF SCHOOL
AND STATE COME IN?
Popcorn & Peanuts
ALL the Illinois Home Education Laws in One Place
I have wanted to be able to find all the laws and regulations that apply to home education in Illinois. I have found
no single source for them all, so I am collecting them here as I find them. If you find some more or find an error, please
let me know! Some of this information is from notes I took at various seminars, and I will add the exact requirements and
legal citations as soon as I can. Consider this one parent's outline for further research, not a legal resource!
Presently this very long page is divided into these sections. Either scroll through, or click these shortcuts to go to
a section quickly. This will print to about 14 typed pages, depending on your screen magnification.
Sources for more information / Actual Laws and synopsis / Record Keeping? / Taking Classes
Elsewhere / Sports, Music, Art / Special Needs and IEPs / Miscellaneous Questions / Driver Ed / Graduation, SAT, ACT, College
Transcripts / Child Labor Laws / Sample Letters / CHEC Vaccination testimony / Other State and Country pages
Here are some on-line sources, where most of these may be found- or more information. I will try to indicate
my source for each law, regulation, or sample piece of paperwork.
* ILHSannounce Use this link to join our "open" email list for Illinois. Topics include legislative
information, homeschool activities, and question-answering.
* Illinois Association of School Boards Everything you want to know about the School Board Association.
They offer many links, but many of the most interesting ones don't seem to work regularly for me. So, I backtracked to get
the source for the whole School Code On-Line (1996 edition). It's searchable! You won't find a section for home education,
or even for Private Schools. You have to know what you want and search every area. Try the Lexis Law Library. A second source
link : IL Legislature School Reference. And, there are other places you need to look.
* Illinois State Board Of Education Home Page Such lovely people; so helpful of them to post all this
interesting stuff. Last year I asked for and got a copy of the proposed State Standards.
* The H.O.U.S.E. homepage. A secular Illinois home education group, resources pages. Excellent - if
I'd known their page existed I might not have attempted this one. They have some information I don't, and I have some they
* Christian Home Educators Coalition This is our State Home School lobbying group's new page. E-mail
them for any Illinois legal questions: school withdrawal information, reporting requirements, driver's ed, part time enrollment,
record-keeping, issuing a diploma; or legislative activity. They publish a bi-monthly legislative newsletter called the Connection,
$25/year for the full version by mail, or a brief version is available by email for free. Back issues are on-line.
You may call the CHEC Update Line at (708) 687 5713 for a tape recorded announcement of
current legislative activity of interest, and leave a message if you have a question.
* Eagle Forum of Illinois Parent information group, including homeschool legal watches.
* Illinois Christian Home Educators ICHE is sort of a central, unofficial, support group for support
group leaders. They provide support materials to group leaders, including hosting an annual winter retreat for leaders only,
and a support phone-tree. They also serve as a resource for people looking for Christian homeschool groups. Just email them
- register your group or ask for contacts in your area. If you are looking for a non-Christian group, try H.O.U.S.E..
* Concerned Christian Americans Pastor Robert D. Vanden Bosch, Director. "Rev. Bob" is a pastor who
spends a great deal of time working with the Illinois Legislature as a lobbyist on Home Education, Private Schools, family
and church matters. He is an expert on Goals 2000, and you can arrange for him to speak to your church or other group. He
offers a monthly newsletter called "News From CCA". This is a new site, but already has much helpful information posted.
* Eight Reasons for Illinois Homeschoolers NOT to Register an essay by Harvey Bluedorn, of Trivium
Pursuit. This is essential reading! Bluedorns have begun offering an Illinois email newsletter. Their site is linked from
* Home School Legal Defense Organization An insurance program/ advocacy group/ information source
on home education. This site includes brief synopsis of the laws and regulations by State. They really don't have much information
on-line for non-members. Quoting the Massachusetts description (bottom of this page) "Though HSLDA is in business to protect
homeschooling families, it is still selling a service. As with any service, you should be knowledgeable about what you are
purchasing. You can find a fair amount of information online both critical and supportive of the work of HSLDA.
* HSLDA A second site, with different information maintained by the LearnAtHome magazine. This is
the site for non-members to check.
* Home Education Magazine Secular Unschool/homeschool group: newsletters, FAQs, loops, legal requirements
for all states, and more. They host a few email lists and publish the magazine "Home Education.
* NHEN NEW secular/open National Home Education Net. Resources and now run most of the email lists
previously known as "AHA". Look for them at yahoo.com with the new prefix "NHEN".
* Homeschool Groups and Homeschool law Jon's site is huge, and he has collected quite a few State-oriented
Non-Homeschool information that still may be of interest to Illinois parents.
* State of Illinois Home Page Find all the IL official links here. Contact your Officials, read press
releases, kidlinks and more.
* Legislative Information Systems' Automated Bill Inquiry: call 217/782-3356 This phone number will
give you the status of any bill on the House floor. You do need to know the HB number.
* Registered Sex Offenders List Official list maintained by the Illinois State Police, and worth checking
* Goals 2000 and School To Work information sites. Think we're exempt? Think again- they're working
hard to include ALL students. One thing to keep an eye on is the CIM/CAM program, which has already made a diploma obsolete
in Oregon and possibly in Missouri. This program is in early stages in Illinois, under the name "Prairie State Initiative".
The Actual Laws and Regulations
This is not intended to be legal advice and is made available for information purposes only.
I have been told that some laws have moved since I made my notes - items identified as being in section 122 are now found
in 105. I will locate the correct citations. Please verify for yourself any that may affect you.
The jurisdiction of the Office of The Superintendent of Educational service Region over the Supervision of public and
non-public schools is regulated by the compulsory school attendance law.
OUTLINE OF ILLINOIS SCHOOL LAWS THAT PERTAIN TO
Subjects: Language arts, biological and physical science, math, social sciences, fine arts, health and physical development.
Ann. Stat. Ch. 122, 27-21 through 22; Ill. Admin. Code tit. 23, 1.420-440.
Ages: "between the ages of 7 and 16 years." Illinois Annotated Statues Chapter 122, 26-1
School must designate a "Record Keeper".
Article 26, Section 1, Paragraph 1, of the Illinois School Code states that:
"Whoever has custody or control over any child between the ages of 7 and l6 years shall cause such child to attend some
public school in the district wherein the child resides the entire time it is session during the regular school term, except
as provided in Section 10-19.1; Provided that the following children not be required to attend the public schools:
I. Any child attending a private or parochial school where children are taught the branches of education taught to children
of corresponding age and grade in the public schools, and where the instruction of the child in the branches of education
is in the English language."
(If a child does not speak English it is proper to teach in both English and the native tongue while the child learns
( The Illinois courts have held consistently that if instruction is given as the compulsory education law contemplates
then the term "private school" as a lawful substitute for public schooling has been extended to home schooling. The burden
is on the parent to show that an adequate course of instruction in the prescribed branches of learning is being pursued.)
PRIVATE (HOME) SCHOOLS
-Specific Home School Statutes: None
-Alternative Statutes Allowing for Home Schools: None
If contacted by state school officials, home schoolers must respond. They could submit a "statement of assurance" form
to the local school district for the purposes of verifying that their childrens' private education is providing instruction
as required by Section 26-1 of the Illinois State Statutes.
The statement of assurance process, however, is voluntary and not required by law. Parents who decide to submit a statement
of assurance should be aware of the fact that this form often has illegitimate points. Therefore, parents should modify this
form by omitting or removing non-required sections.
A typed and signed letter stating that the children are taught the appropriate branches of education and in the English
language, is probably better. Send it Certified mail, keep a copy and the receipt in your child's school file.
The statement of assurance form has often been exchanged for the non-public school registration form. On this form there
is now the option to check if you are homeschooling. This is still voluntary.
-State Accreditation or State Recognition of Private Schools: Not required by statute.
-Private (Home) School Visitations: Not required by statute.
Refers to Public Schools only.
I include this section because these are sometimes improperly advised as ALL School requirements.
Days: 176 days.
Ill. Ann.Stat. Ch. 122, 10-19.1
Hours: 5/day. Ill. Ann. Stat. Ch. 122, 18-8.
Subjects: Same requrements as above PLUS - Public schools are also required to teach honesty, justice, kindness and moral
courage, and a few others. Ill. Ann. Stat. Ch. 122, 27-12. Flag Education in 7th and 8th grade. Constitution tests in 8th
and 11th grades.
Teacher Certification: Only public school teachers must be certified (Section 21-1).
Truancy, Curfews and Neglect
1989 Ill. Ann. Stat., chapter 23, 2053
Synopsis: Removed the authority to investigate eductional neglect from the Department of Children and Family Services.
Truancy investigations will be left to the individual school districts.
If a zealous DCFS investigator does turn up for any reason, do not allow them in your home without a warrant. Not even
if they have a police officer with them. Not even to make a "Visual examination", which means they can look at anything in
your house that is not under lock and key including your checkbook, bills, and medicines. Do not allow them to interview your
children. Insist on a warrant- and call your lawyer.
Truancy is handled under Illinois Administrative Code, Chapter 1, Section 375.75, which is cited in the sample withdrawal
letter. Exact text of the law is:
"Within 14 days after enrolling a transfer student, an elementary or secondary school shall request directly from the
child's previous school, a "Certified Copy of the student's records"."
If no letter requesting these records is sent, the law gives the public school official the authority to investigate
the child as a possible truant. This will entail notifying the Regional Superintendent or local truancy officials and initiating
normal investigative proceedures.
If your child has never been enrolled in an Illinois Public School, and a Truant Officer does turn up, politely and sweetly
inform him that you are homeschooling (for his records). If you did withdraw the child, direct him to the school which failed
to notify him. Do not allow him to enter your home.
The Truant Officer may investigate if a child is sent to the store or library alone. No child under 14 should be left
at home alone, or they may be taken into "protective custody". While there is not a specific age where children must not be
unsupervised, there are these guidelines that the police and DCFS will consider.
These are taken from the Illinois Compiled Statutes manual Chapters 705 and 725 (specific sections as listed) There may
also be local ordinances regarding this situation and you should check with the local law enforcement agency in your area.
Illinois law does not set a specific age at which a child may be left alone.
The Child Abandonment section (Illinois Compiled Statutes section 720 ILCS 5/12-21.5) covers leaving a child under the
age of 13 alone without supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more. There are
15 subsections under paragraph (b) that set the requirements in determining if a violation has occurred.
The Endangering the Life or Health of a Child section (720 ILCS 5/12-21.6) is very broad in that it is a violation if
a child, under the age of 18, is placed in circumstances that endanger the child's life or health. What is considered dangerous
circumstances is left up to the judgement of those called to investigate any complaints that may be made.
The Neglected or abused minor section ( 705 ILCS 405/2-3 par. d) covers leaving a child under the age of 14 alone and
again lists (15) factors in determining if a parent is in violation.
There is a State Curfew for minors of 11PM on school nights, and 12 PM on weekends. This is tied to the Driver's License
restrictions for teens 16-18 as well, which means that teens working late must have an exemption statement attached to their
license. Also see the Child Labor Law restrictions for younger children, listed below.
Some towns in Illinois are passing "Daytime Curfews" tied to public school hours, where any school-age child must be
in school, in the physical presence of a custodial adult, or have a written permission. This is very inconvenient if your
child needs to go to the Library, or is enrolled in PS part-time, or at a community college. Get involved in local politics
and get this repealed as being un-Constitutional!
Here is a link to a similar law which has been passed in Virginia, if you think "that can't happen here!"
VA Bill Tracking - 1998 session
Required Record Keeping.
Though it will be a surprise to many Illinois homeschoolers, we are required to keep records. No one has the right to
see them, except a Judge with a court order, but there are records all schools are required to keep. Besides, if you move
to a different State you may need these later. Provide a file for each child, and I suggest keeping them in a LOCKED cabinet
or firebox. These records include:
Certified copies of their Birth Certificate. Get several copies made, because you will have to provide these to camps
and Little League.
Their Social Security card.
Medical Records to keep on file
Preschool, 5th grade, and 9th grade Dental, Vision, and Hearing exams.
Medical. Vaccination records- get a copy of the schedule your Doctor prefers (there are several around and they are regularly
changed) and keep it with your children's file. I keep my pocket record of vaccinations in my DayRunner, because you never
know when you will need this. Get a copy of their physical exams- you'll need it for camp and sports anyhow. Keep a simple
list of when your child has ordinary problems-Chicken Pox, breaks an arm, hospital visits- and note if this means time off
Opting out of vaccinations with religious objections or medical reasons? You can, but you will have to file some paperwork!
Notarized letters must be filed with your Doctor, the local hospital, and kept in your school records. You will need to keep
copies with you if you travel. More information on this choice may be found linked on my Health Page.
HERE are the exemption details and more information on Record Keeping, in articles from the "CHEC Connection, "March/April
1998, vol 6 issue 2, articles by Fran Eaton.
NEW LAW! HB705
Now, any child in IL up until his or her 19th birthday, will be able to get government-funded health care (including
full contraceptive services, if not abortions), if his or her family of four makes $32,000 or less each year.
Other Records to Include
If you withdraw your child from Public School or another Private school, they will send you a stack of papers. Put these
in this file. A sample transfer letter is provided. Type it neatly and send it Certified Mail. Keep a copy and the receipt.
You may wish to go in to the school in person and ask the secretary to give you a copy of everything in your child's
file. This is a good idea- when transferring the schools often only send the transcript and test scores. You are entitled
to a copy of everything in any file they have. If your child has special needs, special education classes, IEPs, or is in
counselling there may be separate files. The school may legally ask you to pay a small fee for the copies of up to 50 cents
per page. Pay it.
If you have any correspondence at all with the Public School, keep copies here. This includes the friendly little note
confirming that you are homeschooling, that the children are receiving an education equivalent to the public school, and it
is in the English language, that you must send if asked. Send it Certified, and keep a copy. Don't sign any variation of "Statement
of Assurance", or anything that says the local PS or Superintendent will approve your curriculum, or send a home visit. Smile
sweetly and send these papers to CHEC.
Transcripts and certificates from classes your child takes outside of home, including but not limited to: YMCA, College
For Kids, correspondance work, 4H or Scouts, sports camps, Junior college classes double-credited for High School, newspaper
articles and letters to the Editor your child writes, and letters of Recommendation from these teachers and employers.
School transcripts and grade reports. These are less important for Elementary school, essential for High School. (see
below). If you are using a correspondance or umbrella program they should provide you with these. If you are on your own you
need to buy a manual. There are several available and I suggest you look them over before deciding which to buy. I really
* CHE Curriculum Manual: Elementary
by Cathy Duffy
The 97-98 edition. Scope and sequence, curriculum, blank forms for all the records you need. Special section on learning styles.
* CHE Curriculum Manual: Junior/Senior High
by Cathy Duffy
The 97-98 edition!
This has everything you need to know about Highschool/Homeschool paperwork
including credits, transcripts, and graduation (in Illinois you may issue a valid diploma.)
How and Where to take Classes
Community Colleges - also called Junior Colleges. There is no State requirement for age, GED, or anything else. Some
offer special children's classes (often in the Summer). Most will allow teens to take classes as regular students, but expect
them to keep up! Public schools often offer this as an option for advanced students, to take one or two classes which are
"double-credited". This very interesting concept means that the child receives high school transcript credit AND, upon HS
Graduation, the earned college credits. If the child earns a "B" at the college, the high school transcript credit would usually
be an "A", reflecting the level of work expected.
The child is expected to be able to keep up to the older standard in
class, including taking notes, reading text assignments before class, and arranging to meet the teacher during office hours
for questions over lecture or text materials. Very few college teachers allow questions during class time. Texts may not be
referred to during lectures, but will be covered on the tests. The homework, including reading assignments and term papers,
usually equals two hours outside of class for every hour scheduled. A college grade of "C" on any assignment means the child
should arrange to see the teacher immediatly, and double any scheduled study time.
Constitution Tests and Flag Etiquette.
Public schools are required to give this in 8th and 11th grades. Private schools are not, but most do it anyhow. If you
enroll your child in PS you will have to certify that it was taken. You may teach it yourself, join a homeschool group, take
it through a private school, or sign up for an individual class at the public school. This is apparently the sole graduation
requirement for 8th grade or high school.
Flag Ettiquette is required to be taught (only in the public schools) for one hour per week for 7th and 8th grades.
Q - What if you want to have your child take some classes at the local PS? Perhaps there is a gifted French teacher there,
or you don't feel capable of teaching Chemistry? A - Easy- I got this through my Public Library:
Illinois School Code 10.20-24 Part Time Attendance
"Part-time attendance. To accept in part time attendance in the regular education program of the district pupils enrolled
in nonpublic schools if there is sufficient space in the public school desired to be attended. Request for attendance in the
following school year must be submitted by the nonpublic school principal to the public school before May 1. Request may only
be made to those public schools located in the district where the child attending nonpublic school resides.
To accept, pursuant to the provisions of Section 14-6.01, in part-time attendance resident pupils of the types described
in Sections 14-1.02 through 14-1.07 who are enrolled in nonpublic schools.
Ammended by P.A. 80-1509, & 1, eff. Jan 9, 1979.
I looked up Section 14 as well- those include the public access regulations for the handicapped as well as other private
school students. If your child requires a wheelchair ramp or other accomodation to take a class, look these up.
Do not expect the school to provide transportation to and from unless you are able to meet the big yellow bus on its
regular route. Note that if the class is full they do not have to open another section, and your child will be always be the
last one on the list as the class fills.
Special Education, Speech therapy, IEPs.
These programs are all funded separately from the Public Schools, even if they meet in the school facilities. Yes, you
may use these services. See Illinois School Code section 10.14-6.01.
An IEP is a Federal Program. It is an annual contract between you as the parent, and the provider. If you have signed
one, you must complete the year even if you withdraw the child from Public School.
If you need special services the school must provide them if you ask. However, you as the parent decide exactly which
services you will accept. Interviews on IEPs often include school personel, counsellors, psychologists, and I-don't-know-who-else.
This can be overwhelming! There is no obligation to acept any public services- you may choose to use private sources. If a
special service you need is not available in your PS, but is available privately, the school district may be obliged to provide
the funding (which they will be reimbursed for) and transportation.
If your child has documented special needs, it may be a good idea to write your own IEP, with goals for each year and
the resources you intend to utilize listed. Then file this in your child's records. At the end of the year, write an evaluation
and a revised IEP for the following year.
Tips on writing IEP and 504 plans may be found at the Aut-2B-Home site, or at CM Special Needs.
Worth remembering - According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, health care providers are required by law
to report all children 0-3 with a disability or POSSIBLE developmental delay (cognitive development, physical development,
including vision and hearing; language and speech development; psychosocial development or self-help skills.) A 800 number
is provided to all health care providers. The assessment they offer after reporting the child and family to a central agency
is, of course, "free" and optional. Beware- if you gladly take advantage of the program and later decide to get out, you may
find that you cannot. This is part of the Individuals With Disabilities Act (Part C as of July, 1998).
Q & A
Q - What about band, art, sports, using the school library?
A - This is where Idaho and Oklahoma are ahead of us. In Illinois you can expect to use public school resources for Band
and art if they meet during the day as regular classes. Interscholastic activities and competition high school sports are
only available under special conditions as part-time students. Here is the latest from Eagle Watch:
"The IHSA bylaw change, which was overwhelmingly supported by its members Dec. 16 and will become effective July 1, (2000,)
allows only "bona fide students" attending IHSA member schools to participate in sports and organizations ranging from marching
band to debate teams. Bona fide is defined as those students who attend at least four classes a day at the high school or
an affiliated alternative school."
This now includes homeschool students. Details may be found on the IllEagles page. The exact IHSA By-Law is number 3.011.
It does not remove the requirement for 4 hours per day as a part-time student, but instead allows the parents and the local
school to negotiate an enrollment where the child is given public school credits for classes actually taken at home. Details
of curriculum and course requirements are left to the local school. Please read this page carefully before talking to your
Q - What if I want to teach my relative's children or neighbors's child? My grandchild who lives with me?
A - Certainly! It is easiest to have the child officially being homeschooled by their parent, with your assistance. You
may also choose to arrange a joint Guardianship (see a lawyer) with the education being on your side. You may choose to set
yourself up as a private school, with fees and careful records. You may choose to register with the State on the Non-Public
Schools form, but it is not required.
As long as you are having school in your home, you are exempt from Public Health and Fire codes, including asbestos testing,
and from the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you choose to set up as a private school in another building you will be
subject to these (it can be complicated and expensive to comply.) This is beyond the scope of this page.
Q - Or Foster child?
A - This is different- because you are not the Guardian of the child, but only the caregiver. You need to obtain the
legal Guardian's written permission. This may be a Judge, this may be your friendly DCFS caseworker. You will probably have
to provide thorough documentation, record-keeping, regular testing, home visits and interviews. If you are involved in the
Foster Care system you are already familiar with most of this and can discuss it with your contacts. I have seen cases where
it was allowed, forbidden, or even ordered by a Judge!
Q - Using public school texts.
A - Guess what- you can. Go to the school, pay the regular yearly book rental fees and any fees for consumables (workbooks),
and walk out with the books. This is Policy, straight from the State School Superintendent's office. Why you'd want to, I
don't know! If you withdraw your child mid-year, you have the right to continue to use the books you have already paid the
rental on until June. If you wish next year's, you had better ask by that May 1 date so the school will be sure to order enough
of the consumables. Some public schools have been known to refuse, so ask.
Q - Standardized Testing?
A - Is not required for any private school student. You may arrange for private testing, or for your child to take the
standardized tests at the local school. Keep the results in your school records but remember they are highly confidential!
They can be useful for spotting weaknesses, or strengths.
This is an exception to home schools being considered private schools in Illinois (the other being curfews). CHEC and
the other legal people are aware of this and are trying to have all private schools combined to the same regulations. While
this is worked on, pay VERY careful attention to exactly how you sign your child up for Driver Ed classes. It's actually easier
for homeschoolers than for anyone else!
If you register as a homeschool student, you as a parent must provide the notarized letter which states that your child
has passed 4 credit classes for each of the two previous semesters before the class registration (which is subsection (a)).
No transcript, and don't specify the classes or materials used.
If you register your child as a private school student, you as the Principal will have to provide a notarized letter
(same requirements as homeschool) AND a transcript of grades, which will be submitted to the Secretary of State with the driver
education class records. I suggest contacting CHEC before trying this.
Here are the requirements for the parent's letter:
Illinois Administrative Code CH 1, S. 252.25 subsection (g)
"D.) A student enrolled in a home school who wishes to enroll in driver education offered by a public school district
or nonpublic school shall present, and each such entity shall accept as verification of the student's eligibility, a signed,
notarized statement stipulating:
i) that the student is enrolled in a home school;
ii) that he or she is eligible pursuant to subsection (a) of this section; and
iii) that the signature presented is that of the individual who administers the school attended by the student."
Added at 18 Ill. Reg. 16307, effective October 25, 1994.
This is the same if you use a private Driver Ed school. The DE law is changing- they have increased the hours of practice
driving required and there are other changes scheduled for the next two years. Students must remain in school and continue
to pass 4 classes per semester until graduation, their license is not valid after curfew unless they have a work exemption
attached, and you as a parent can have the license cancelled at any time between ages 16-18 by writing the Secretary of State.
Check out the exact provisions of the new "Graduate to Safety" laws at Graduated Licensing System.
Graduation, ACT, SAT, and College
As a Private School, you may issue your own diploma, and it is valid. You may purchase a blank, have one printed, make
it on your computer, or have a beautiful one done in Caligraphy. Many homeschool groups and churches are having group graduation
ceremonies, or you may prefer a private reception to celebrate your child's accomplishment.
What are the Illinois graduation requirements? I cannot find any at all for private schools, except that the children
must be instructed in the branches listed above. A GED may not be taken until after the child's public school class would
graduate. Public school students must pass the 8th and 11th grade Constitution tests, and 4 years of PE.
What is important for colleges and many jobs, is your transcript. You will need a manual. I like this one, which includes
sample forms as well as explanations of credits:
CHE Curriculum Manual: Junior/Senior High
by Cathy Duffy. This has
everything you need to know about Highschool/Homeschool paperwork including credits, transcripts, and graduation (in Illinois
we may issue a valid diploma.)
On the transcript be sure to include any credits from other sources, such as community colleges, correspondance classes,
or Internet classes. If you use a literature-based program, such as Charlotte Mason, or an Unschooling approach, be sure to
include a detailed booklist and document all credits carefully. Colleges also appreciate formal letters of recommendation
from adults outside your family who know your child well. Pastors, employers, politicians your child did volunteer work for
are all excellent. If your child worked as a legislative Page, or was in a theatrical production, or did other volunteer work,
you will have other sources of those recommendations. I suggest collecting them regularly instead of waiting until the Senior
year. A fat transcript is a good transcript!
ACT and SAT testing is essential for the college-bound. Get the applications from your public school counselor in your
child's Junior year. The ACT form says that homeschoolers do not need to register with the local PS, and lists a special "school"
number. Check this carefully- when I tried it, due to some glitch in the computers, our form came back with my child registered
to a school in Iowa.
Another good idea is to have your child take CLEP examinations through your local library. Many colleges accept these
credits. Take as many of the exams as you can- failing the exam does not hurt you. Only passing grades are counted.
When you apply for colleges, do not fail to apply for financial aid. If your child has an unusual transcript it can be
a good idea to apply to the larger colleges and Universities, who are usually more interested in diversity and accomplishments
outside the "normal" educational channels. A fat transcript is a good transcript!
Child Labor Laws
While this really has very little to do with education, it may affect your schedule. You cannot issue the required permit
yourself, it must be issued by a person authorized by your City or County Regional Superintendent of Schools or the Superintendent's
office. (Innacurate information saying you can issue this yourself has been circulated.) H.O.U.S.E. suggests that it is easiest
to find a large private school in your area, or a cooperative public school, who are authorized to issue the certificates.
Otherwise, you may have to provide educational records to the Superintendent.
From the Ill Dept of Labor site:
Child Labor Law (312-793-2804) (CHILD LABOR HOTLINE: 1-800-645-5784)
the employment of workers under 16 years of age. The law protects children by (1) requiring employment certificates. The certificate
confirms that a minor is old enough to work, physically capable to perform the job, and that the job will not interfere with
the minor's education; (2) prohibiting work in hazardous occupations; and (3) limiting working hours. All work before 7 a.m.
and during the school year after 7 p.m. is prohibited. Work until 9 p.m. is allowed from June 1 through Labor Day.
The Exact Law says, among the many detailed provisions:
(820 ILCS 205/11) Sec. 11. The employment certificate shall
be issued by the City or County Superintendent of Schools or by their duly authorized agents and shall be valid for a period
of one year. The person issuing these certificates shall have authority to administer the oaths provided for herein, but no
fee shall be charged. It shall be the duty of the school board or local school authority, to designate a place or places where
certificates shall be issued and recorded, and physical examinations made without fee, as hereinafter provided, and to establish
and maintain the necessary records and clerical services for carrying out the provisions of this Act.
Federal Regulations, applying to children between 16-18, are linked from that page.
This is frustrating for children who wish to work at the video store at lunch, or to have a Summer job before age 14!
There are work-arounds:
1) Apprenticeships. For this you and the designated mentor and the child sign a contract covering what will be accomplished
during a given time frame, usually a semester. The child receives school credit on their transcript, as well as getting on-the-job
training similar to the Goals 2000 Work-Study programs. NHEN and Home Education Magazine have a lot of information on apprenticeships.
2) Family business. No problem at all, except for the 7 PM cut-off. A nice benefit to this is that you can play with
their paycheck. You may pay other employees minimum wages, but you may pay family members anything over the minimum you want.
Why not pay your child $50/hour? Give them $5/hour cash, and place the rest in their bank account for college? You can, quite
legally, fiddle with the numbers here until your business has almost NO taxable profit, yet your children's bank accounts
grow rapidly. Remember- they must pay income taxes and Social Security on it ALL, but that will almost certainly be at a lower
rate than your business tax. I knew someone who did this with an ice-cream store. They said the only problem was that it affected
the sale price of the business later.
3) Their own business. Raise and sell goats, have an orchard, sell ice cream from a truck (check county health codes),
invent and patent and sell widgets to Sears for a million dollars. Keeping records, paying taxes, and filling out all those
business forms is very eductional!
These are sample letters for withdrawing children from Illinois schools, and other necessary correspondence. If you have
letterhead paper, use it. If not, neatly typed on plain paper is fine. Be sure to mail them by Certified Mail, with a Return
Receipt. Keep a copy of each in your child's school file, and staple the green Return Receipt to it. The second letter is
the one that notifies the Truant Officer. The exact wording of these letters is not important except where specific regulations
are mentioned. Neither is it required to have a "School Name" or letterhead paper. You may simply identify yourselves as homeschooling.
Letter #1) As the Parents:
City, State, Zip
Local Public School name
City, State, Zip
Dear (Principal's name),
This is to inform you that as of (date) our child, (full name), will be withdrawing from attendance at (public school
name). (Child's name) will be enrolled at (your home school name-have fun making one up).
You will be receiving a letter from (your school name) formally requesting a Certified Copy of (child's name)'s school
(You may wish to include a brief paragraph here expressing thanks or appreciation for any program, staff, or teachers
of particular excellence; or expressing a general affirmation of an excellent school. Remember- "Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever
things are of good report, If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. Phillipians 4:8 Be sure
to give any honest praise you can.)
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Your Typed names
Letter #2: As the Private School
School letterhead paper would include the name of the school, address, and phone number, so you would place only the
date at the top.
Name of Public School
City, State, zip
Dear (Principal's name),
This is to notify you or the enrollment of (child's full name) in (your school name) as of (date within two weeks of
the child's last appearance in the public school).
In compliance with Chapter 1, Section 375.75 of the Illinois Administrative code, we are writing to request that a Certified
Copy of (child's name)'s records be forwarded to us. Your prompt assistance in this matter will be appreciated, as it will
enable us to complete our files.
[At this point you may wish to either end the letter, or, if you want to leave no doubt, include the following: (your
school name) is a Private home school. (child's name) receives instruction in all branches of education in the English language
as required by law, in compliance with the requirements of the Compulsory Attendance Law, Chapter 122, Section 26-1 of the
Illinois School code.]
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Title (Principal, Administrator, whatever sounds good)
Letter #3) Driver's Education Letter: As the Parents
City, State, Zip
Local Public School name
City, State, Zip
Dear (Principal's name),
As the parents of (child's full name), who is enrolling in Driver's Education Class in your school, we wish to certify
in compliance with the Illinois Administrative School Code Ch.I,S. 252.25 that:
i) (child's name) is enrolled in a (Private) home school
ii) that he/she is eligible pursuant to subsection (a), and;
iii) that the signature presented is that of the individual who administers the home school attended by this student.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Your Typed names
This letter MUST be signed in the presence of, and sealed by, a Notary Public. You take it to the school (either the
Public School or a private Driving School) when you register the child for Driver's Education class. This letter will be sent
to the Secretary of State with the child's class scores. Do not include a transcript, grades, or which credits being counted
for part (ii). If you are intending to use the public school class, it is a good idea to register by May 1 of the school year
your child turns 15, in order to arrange the most convenient class from the next sessions.
If you choose to register your child as a Private School Student, with you as the Principal (instead of as a homeschooler),
you as the school will have to: Change "parent" to "Principal of Your School Name"
In Part (i) above, substitute the word "Private" for "home".
provide a transcript of the child's High School credits
showing that the child has passed (4) credit classes each of the two semesters previous to enrollment in the Driver's Education
class. This is part (ii) above. If time passes before the class begins, you may be asked for an updated transcript before
the scores are sent to the Secretary of State.
Part (iii) change "home" to "Private".
This letter will need to be on School letterhead, be signed as the Principal, and notarized.
The CHEC Immunization Information
Currect, detailed immunization information is available on the CHEC and Eagle Forum websites.
The Illinois CHEC Connection, March/April 1998, vol 6 issue 2 (email version, hard copy also available)
Fran Eaton, Director
This copyrighted article, which is also available on the CHEC website linked above, is reproduced
here by permission from Fran Eaton.
VACCINES -- Really a Parents' Choice?
The last CHEC Connection included a controversial article addressing the emotional issue of vaccinations. We have heard
from several persons who are very concerned about the actual content of Illinois law on immunizations, how it is enforced
and the alternatives parents have.
Since that time, much has come to light which is very important to all homeschoolers
of Illinois, whether they choose to immunize their children or not. CHEC will not take an official position on the individual
immunizations -- we want to serve all homeschoolers, regardless of their views on health care. But it is our purpose here
to fully inform Illinois homeschooling families on this issue in light of recent developments which brought the matter before
the IDPH (Ill Department of Public Health).
The Illinois School Code, Chapter 122, Sec.27-8.1 lists the children's vaccination requirements. The
law gives the IDPH ( soon to be called Department of Human Services) the authority to make rules and regulations as to how
the law will be enacted. But the Illinois School Code clearly states when health exams are to be given, and that these requirements
apply to "any public, private, or parochial school." Illinois home schools are private schools, as determined by the Illinois
Supreme Court's Levisen case in 1950. The combination of School Code and current IDPH requirements are in an accompanying
chart. (See chart on page .)
According to the Illinois School Code, "every school" is to report their vaccination records
to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the ISBE is to report its findings to the IDPH. These numbers are especially
important to the local school districts because as the law states, unless 90% of the children in a district are appropriately
vaccinated, 10% of that district's state funds will be withheld.
CHEC is currently investigating with attorneys as to the
current application of this, being that in 1996, private schools were removed from the authority of the ISBE. The question
is, what should homeschoolers do about this legal requirement of "all schools" to report to the State Board? CHEC strongly
opposes any laws or rules which would require private/home schools to reveal their existence, the number or ages of students
enrolled, or any additional private information to government authorities.
What exceptions are allowed to vaccination requirements?
There are two types of exceptions allowed under the current
rules and regulations passed by the IDPH for children's examinations and vaccinations. These exceptions are listed in Title
77: Public Health, Chapter I: Department of Public Health, Subchapter 1: Maternal and Child Health, Part 665 under the subtitle:
Subpart E, Section 665.510: "Objection of Parent or Legal Guardian".
The first of these exemptions addresses the religious
exemption and states: Parent or legal guardian of a student may object to health examinations, immunizations, vision and hearing
screening tests, and dental health examinations for their children on religious grounds. If a religious objection is made,
a written and signed statement from the parent or legal guardian detailing such objections must be presented to the local
school authority. The objection must set forth the specific religious belief which conflicts with the examination, immunization
or other medical intervention. The religious objection may be personal and need not be directed by the tenets of an established
religious organization. General philosophical or moral reluctance to allow physical examinations, immunizations, vision and
hearing screening, and dental examinations will not provide a sufficient basis for an exception to statutory requirements.
The local school authority is responsible for determining whether the written statement constitutes a valid religious objection.
Section 665.520 lists the criteria for a medical exemption:
a) Any medical objection to an immunization must be:
Made by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all its branches indicating what the medical condition is,
and signed by the physician on the certificate of child health examination and placed on file in the child's permanent record.
Should the condition of the child later permit immunization, this requirement will then have to be met. Parents or legal guardians
must be informed of measles outbreak control exclusion procedures when such objection is presented per Section 665.510.
In other words, all schools (including private/home schools) should have on file a copy of the last medical examination
record which should include an up- to-date list of all vaccinations which each child has received, or a medical or religious
exemption attached to the file. A medical exemption should be a letter pertaining to each vaccination not accounted for in
the examination record, and each medical exemption must be signed by the child's physician. A religious exemption should be
listed for each child, for each vaccination which is not listed on the medical examination record as being administered. The
religious belief may be personal, but the religious basis for the relief needs to be stated in the letter.
special notice that according to the IDPH rules, the local school district has the authority to determine if the parents'
religious objections are valid. (This concept is questionable as to its constitutionality, but as to CHEC's research, has
not been legally challenged to date.)
CHEC encourages all these exemption letters to be kept on file in the home- taught child's school records retained in
their home school. Each family should determine their own religious reasons for choosing exemption. No general religious forms
are available, each family needs to obtain their own religious reasons, and write their own letters to have on file. CHEC
cautions homeschooling families about volunteering these records to anyone outside of your home school.
Also, note that
only two exemptions are acceptable to the ISBE and IDPH at this time: medical and religious.
Ramifications of Ignoring These Mandates
According to School Code, any child in a public or private school which does
not file these forms with their local school by Oct 15 of the current school year, will be excluded from attending the local
school. During a child's exclusion from school, the parents or legal guardians "shall be considered in violation of Section
26-1 and subject to any penalty imposed by Section 26-10." Section 26-1 is the compulsory school attendance or truancy law,
and the penalty if found guilty is a $500 fine for the parents. This would most likely apply to parents of children in traditional
public or private schools. We are not sure yet what would happen to parents who teach their children in their homes.
According to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), a child without sufficient medical records can be
considered and investigated for "medical neglect or abuse."
CHEC has been notified of several homeschooling families who were turned in to the DCFS when an emergency room doctor
determined that their vaccination records were not up-to-date. As a mandated reporter, if an emergency room doctor or medical
personnel consider "failure or refusal to immunize" as "medical neglect," they are required by law to report the situation
to the DCFS. If a parent is found "indicated" in a medical neglect case, the children can be removed if the social worker
judges that it would be best for the child. Although we have not been notified of any child being taken away for failure or
refusal to vaccinate, we do know that at least one of the families who contacted us after their DCFS report were forced to
hire an attorney to write a letter of defense and explanation, after the parents obtained a medical exemption from their family
doctor. According to Home School Legal Defense Association, they will intercede on such situations with families who are HSLDA
Public Health Tries to Tie Homeschooling to "Medical Neglect"
In addition, the McHenry County Health Department attempted
to influence public opinion through the Northwest Daily Herald by reporting a breakout of whooping cough in three McHenry
County home schooling families. This came to our attention, thanks to alert families in McHenry. After CHEC spoke with two
of the three families who had dealt with the trauma of pertussis, we found that nine of the eleven children who had acquired
the dreaded disease had been vaccinated according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The McHenry County Health Department
not only made this situation known through the local newspapers, a representative of the board appeared before the IDPH Board
on March 26, 1998, to accelerate its alarm over homeschoolers who they believe may not be caring for their children's health
in accordance to Illinois law.
CHEC learned of the potential explosive nature of this situation, and sent a representative to the March 26th meeting.
When the McHenry Co official publicly testified, a representative of CHEC also presented oral testimony to refute the slanderous
comments made before the IDPH Board, the public and the press in attendance at that meeting. (See CHEC's testimony at the
hearing on page 6 & 7.)(below)
CHEC's Warning In light of the provisions for vaccination accountability as listed in HB 3344, CHEC is warning the homeschooling
parents of Illinois to get their children's health records updated as the law requires, and if you as a family are concerned
about vaccinating your children, find a doctor to write a medical objection, or state in a written letter your family's religious
reasons for abstaining from vaccinations. CHEC representatives are willing to come to your area to explain this situation
as our family schedules allow. It is our desire to protect homeschooling liberties in Illinois and to keep homeschooling families
Testimony for Illinois Department of Public Health Board Hearing
March 26, 1998
Offered by Mrs. Fran Eaton,
Christian Home Educators Coalition
I serve on the Board of Directors of the Christian Home Educators Coalition. Some 15,000 families are teaching their
children here in Illinois in private schools commonly called "home schools." I am here to assure you that the parents who
are teaching their own children not only are deeply concerned about their children's education, they are deeply concerned
about their children's health. We want our children to be healthy, contributing citizens to this state -- both now and in
The parents of this state who are choosing home education are aware of the laws which require certain vaccinations in
order to "attend school." We either have our children vaccinated as the Illinois Department of Health requires, or we have
in our files medical or religious exemptions, as the Illinois Administrative Code allows. We are careful to keep all of our
children's records up-to-date and accurate. We understand the heavy responsibility of being the health, education and welfare
providers for our children.
Home-educating families are as diverse as those in the public school system. Doctors, lawyers,
judges, attorneys and child psychologists as well as truck drivers, computer programmers and salesmen are teaching their children
in their homes. Many home teach because of religious reasons, while others want to offer their children individualized and
accelerated academic programs.
It has been quite disconcerting that in recent days, our organization has learned of public health authorities using
local newspapers to advance a stereo-type of homeschooling families as being negligent and irresponsible parents. It is inappropriate
for anyone to attempt to stereo-type such a diverse group of people. These families take great offense at this current trend
from our local public health authorities.
I hold in my hand an article that was written in the McHenry County's Northwest Daily Herald on March 20, 1998, entitled
"Whooping Cough Alert Hits County." I also hold in my hand a letter which I received late last night, from one of the families
involved in the pertussis outbreak. While the McHenry Health Department told the reporter that 11 of the children infected
with pertussis were homeschooled, they failed to tell the reporter that 9 of the 11 children who were believed to have had
pertussis had been vaccinated according to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This article appears
to have been written to undermine the parenting decisions of home schoolers in the McHenry County area. Most alarming is the
fact that this situation was brought to the attention of the public more than three months after the pertussis was confirmed
in one -- and only one -- of the mentioned children. Are these families being victimized by the very agencies whose purpose
is to protect our citizens?
CHEC has several concerns relating to the current provisions of health examinations and vaccination records:
is more threatening to a home-educating family than fearing that their children could be taken away by the Department of Children
and Family Services, simply because they have exempted their children from vaccinations for religious or medical reasons.
Several families have reported to us direct confrontations with the DCFS over the allegation of "medical neglect" based on
a child's vaccination records. These situations arose when an emergency room doctor -- as a mandated reporter and usually
unfamiliar with the family -- reports a discrepency in the vaccination records, especially if the parents have a medical or
religious exemption. The sheer terror these caring families experienced, while being considered guilty until proven innocent
by the social workers at the Department of Children and Family Services, was devastating to both the parents and the children.
We would like the possibility of such scenerios to end.
2. Philosophical reasons should be added to the list of acceptable exemptions. Some families' concerns about vaccinations
fall in between religious and medical reasons. The philosophical exemption would fit their situations more appropriately.
We ask that this addition be seriously considered.
3. Home schools are private schools in the state of Illinois. Reporting to the local public school with information which
would open our schools to examination by local authorities is unacceptable to us. While we pay property taxes to the local
community schools, we ask nothing in return, except to be left alone. It is our position that the local regional superintendents
should not have the authority to accept or reject religious or medical objections of students in the private school system.
This would place them in a position of deciding the outcome of a competing or comparable system which provides the same service
as they do. Such a system should not be allowed to function.
In conclusion, the home schoolers of this state are working very hard to produce healthy, contributing citizens for the
future. We are deeply committed to giving our children our very best. Many of these home schooling families are sacrificing
much-needed second incomes in order to provide a full-time teacher in the home. While they are buying their own children's
textbooks, providing caring, compassionate instructors and care-givers for their children's intellectual development, they
are watching carefully over their children's physical and emotional development as well. We have found a way to return to
self- or God-reliance for our children's needs -- the way our nation was historically founded and built to its pinnacle today.
Our children stand alongside the heroes of the past -- George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and yes, scientists
Booker T. Washington and Blaine Pascal, along with Florence Nightingale -- all of whom were home- taught. We ask that the
public health authorities view our contribution to Illinois history and culture for what it is -- a true, selfless effort
for all of our futures. Thank you.
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Here are a few other Homeschool Law pages that I have found.
Alabama / California / Colorado / 1997 Delaware School Code / Florida / Louisiana / Massachusetts Home Learning Association
/ Mississippi (summary) / Ohio / HERO of Oklahoma / Oregon / Texas / Washington Homeschool Info Page / West Virginia
Homeschool Groups and Homeschool law Jon's site is huge, and he has collected quite a few State-oriented resources.
Austrailia & New Zealand Also known as "Oz".
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