It has been estimated that approximately 60,000 students were home educated in the state of Illinois with a national estimate of 1,376,804 homeschooled students in 2010/2011. And in most states the number of home schooled students is growing annually. This article will explore why many parents are opting to teach their children at home and some of the helpful resources available to help home-schoolers.
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.
Including these resources for parents:
- Questions you may have about Illinois Home-Schooling (.pdf)
- ISBE Home Schooling Registration Form (.pdf)
Other helpful resources for Illinois families are the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) self-described as “a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms” and the ICHE (Illinois Christian Home Educators) which was formed in 1983 with the goal of “encouraging the formation of distinctly Christian support groups, compiling information to help form such groups, and making the information available to support group leaders.”
HSLDA has a list of state organizations and county organizations which can help parents stay updated on local education issues, as well as national news, issues and home-school advocacy efforts.
ICHE has resources for beginners through high school students, including those with special needs, as well as hosting and organizing an annual convention for families who home educate their children and for those who are exploring home education and curriculum for the first time.
These organizations can help you navigate your way through Illinois education laws, as well as put you in contact with others of like-mind who can offer advice, encouragement and support.
Home education appeals to many Christian families who disagree with the curriculum of the state schools and believe God has given parents a mandate to teach their children:
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, ESV