Home-schooling in Illinois is considered private education and parents who choose to educate their children at home are under a legal obligation to meet the minimum requirements stated in Illinois’ Compulsory Attendance Law (Section 26-1 of the Illinois School Code). Parents are obligated to teach their children “…the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools” as well as the English language. The “branches of education” include language arts; mathematics; biological and physical sciences; social sciences; fine arts; and physical development and health.
In People v. Levisen, the Illinois Supreme Court held that home-schooling could be considered private schooling if the teacher were competent, the required subjects were taught, and the student received an education at least equivalent to public schooling.
Parents who choose to for their child to attend a home school are free to decide the manner, time and materials which best suit the learning needs of their children; including curriculum, materials and homework. Testing is not required in the state of Illinois for homeschoolers; however there are private testing resources if parents choose to have their children evaluated. Parents who choose to educate their students in the home through the high school years may determine when their student has met the graduation requirements of their private home school and is therefore entitled to receive a high school diploma.
Homeschooling in Illinois permits a great degree of latitude in designing the appropriate program of home education, but it also places near-total responsibility on parents for their student’s education while they are being home-schooled. In a 1974 decision, a federal district court stated that under Illinois law the burden of proof rests with parents to establish that the plan of home instruction which they are providing to their children meets state requirements.
In Illinois, registration of home-schooled students is not required. Parents may choose to notify their regional superintendent of education and/or the State Board of their intention to home-school.