Driver's Education & the Home-Schooled Student
In Illinois you have 2 options
Have your 15 - 17 year old student take a state-approved driver's education course through either the public high school or a private driver's training facility OR
First time driver's license applicants, aged 18-20, who have not completed driver education must successfully complete a six-hour adult driver education course through a certified adult driver education provider, before obtaining a license.
For full details, we highly recommend you download and carefully review the "Illinois Rules of the Road" and https://www.ilsos.gov/departments/drivers/driver_education/instructpermit.html.
You will be asked for a consent form, here is a downloadable example: https://ilsos.gov/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_cdts56.pdf
If you choose to take the public school driver's education classes, the parts of the Illinois School Code that apply to Driver's Education can be found here
In part, this reads:
"Both the classroom instruction part and the practice driving part of such driver education course shall be open to a resident or non-resident student attending a non-public school in the district wherein the course is offered. Each student attending any public or non-public high school in the district must receive a passing grade in at least 8 courses during the previous 2 semesters prior to enrolling in a driver education course, or the student shall not be permitted to enroll in the course; provided that the local superintendent of schools (with respect to a student attending a public high school in the district) or chief school administrator (with respect to a student attending a non-public high school in the district) may waive the requirement if the superintendent or chief school administrator, as the case may be, deems it to be in the best interest of the student. A student may be allowed to commence the classroom instruction part of such driver education course prior to reaching age 15 if such student then will be eligible to complete the entire course within 12 months after being allowed to commence such classroom instruction."
Some suggestions for actually dealing with your local school district when making a request for your homeschooled student to attend their driver's education course are as follows: Try calling your local high school first; ask who is in charge of the driver's ed course as you would like to go about enrolling your non-public school student (or private/homeschooled student) in the course.
In the ideal scenario, you will then be referred to the appropriate individual who will be knowledgeable about the provision for non-public school students. This individual may ask for information such as the name address and phone number of the student as well as a birthdate (in some schools, priority is given to the oldest students first).
If the individual thinks that your student cannot be enrolled, you might try explaining the provision in the Illinois School Code. If that does not seem to help, you might try working your way up the "chain of command." Try the principal, then the local school superintendent, then the regional superintendent until you find someone who is indeed aware of the provisions of the law.
In at least one instance that we are aware of, the first contact said that there wasn't any room for the student. When the local superintendent was phoned, he in turn let the initial person contacted know that if they didn't find room for the student, the local school district would have to pay for the student to attend a course in an adjacent district. Needless to say, room was found.
Yes, you do have to provide the school with some verification that your student has passed at least 8 courses during the last 2 semesters. The school is legally obligated to verify this. Note: A "course completed" does not necessaily mean a credit completed. Courses in high school are often quarter or half credit courses.
As noted above, you may be able to find a private agency qualified to teach students under the age of 18. This usually costs more than the public school, but it has the advantage of being under your control to a greater extent, and you may find their hours to be more convenient than those of the public school.
There are some correspondence courses available from various sources, but in Illinois these do not satisfy the requirement that the student be enrolled in a certified course.