Ad Hoc ROE Letter (2020)
Ad Hoc Committee
Illinois Home Education Legal and Legislative Matters
To Whom It May Concern:
We so appreciate your efforts for the advancement of education here in Illinois. We know that the present crisis has added a tremendous burden to your already busy lives. We would like to help alleviate a little of that load when it comes to those who are considering homeschooling.
It has come to our attention that some public-school officials across the state of Illinois are communicating to parents who are opting for homeschooling that they must submit to various protocols which are in fact not required by state law. This is causing confusion and anxiety for some and more work for the schools. We believe this misinformation to be a misunderstanding of Illinois law and not a rejection of that law. These practices include but are not limited to:
Implying that registering with the Illinois State Board of Education is mandatory rather than voluntary
Requiring curriculum to be submitted for approval
Saying that there will be “spot-checks” by truant officers or social workers
Expecting additional forms to be completed
Saying that annual forms must be completed
Threatening homeschoolers that their high school credits will not be received by schools and that all homeschooling students will be readmitted as freshmen
Telling parents that their children will not be allowed to return to the public school system
The purpose of this letter is to help clear up these misunderstandings of Illinois state law, so that officials will cease instructing parents to do more than the law requires.
Illinois law mandates that students between the ages of 6 and 17 attend either a public or private school. A homeschool is considered a private school. There is no separate category for homeschools apart from other private schools under the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/26-1).
In 1950, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that homeschools are to be considered private schools. In 1974, the U.S. District Court stated in the case "Scoma v. Chicago Board of Education" that the "Levisen" decision quoted above was "reasonable and constitutional.” Thus, the federal and state courts recognize that the legal requirements for a homeschool are the same as any other private school in Illinois. Furthermore, there is no law requiring private schools to register with any public school official, nor are they required to seek state recognition, approval, or accreditation.
While our organization does encourage sending a Letter of Withdrawal to the school the child has been attending, the law does not require this. However, it seems to us to be a common courtesy to minimize confusion on the part of the school, and therefore we recommend it to all new homeschoolers. Additionally, the law does not recognize any of the aforementioned bullet points as things parents “need to do” before exiting the public school.
We hope this clarification is beneficial and we humbly ask that you review your information and address any errors. Like you, we want what is best for each child and believe that loving parents are best qualified to make these decisions. If you have any questions, feel free to visit our website at www.il-adhoc.org/home or send an email at Contact@il-adhoc.org.
Ad Hoc Committee for Illinois Home Education Legal and Legislative Matters
Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience (H.O.U.S.E.)
Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE)
Roman Catholic Home Educators Network (RCHEN)
July 30, 2020