Home-schooling in Illinois is considered to be a form of private education. 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 who choose to educate their children at home are obligated to teach their children “…the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools” and they are further obligated to offer instruction in these core courses in the English language. The “branches of education” include language arts; mathematics; biological and physical sciences; social sciences; fine arts; and physical development and health.
The Regional Superintendent of Schools for the student’s county of residence has first-line responsibility for investigating reports of noncompliance with the compulsory attendance laws found in Article 26 of the Illinois School Code. In fulfilling this legal responsibility, Regional Superintendents may expect the parents who seek to educate their children at home to establish, when necessary, that they are providing instruction that is at least commensurate with the standards established for public schools. With evidence that home instruction in a specific instance does not satisfy the requirements of state law, the regional superintendent may request the regional or school district truant officer to investigate to see that the child is in compliance with the compulsory attendance law. Truant officers are peace officers empowered to conduct investigations, enforce the compulsory attendance law and to refer matters of noncompliance to the courts. A parent who allows a child to attend a home school that does not comply with the standard of Section 26-1, as interpreted by Levisen, allos the child to be truant and can be found to have committed a Class C misdemeanor.
Parents who elect to home school their children are not required to submit the ISBE Registration Form to the ROE. However, we encourage you to do so to help our attendance officer respond when complaints of truancy are lodged by concerned citizens. ROE 33 assures you that the information is used only to maintain an internal database of home-schooled students.