Contacts in the land of Lincoln
Several Home School Legal Defense Association member families in Illinois have been contacted by their local school system for information regarding their children, home school instruction programs, and teaching schedules. Even with the freedom Illinois home schoolers have, many school districts insist on having families "register" their home schools. You should contact HSLDA if you receive communication from your local school or regional office of education.
When a member family in Evanston Community Consolidated School District #65 withdrew their son from public school in order to home school him, the assistant superintendent threatened to turn them in for truancy unless they "registered" their public school. HSLDA wrote the assistant superintendent, explaining that, under Illinois law, home schooling families are not required to register with the school district. As long as a family meets the requirements of the Levisen case by instructing in the English language and teaching the required subjects, they are in full compliance with the law.
The Henry County regional superintendent's office asked a member family to verify their compliance with Illinois home school requirements by filling out a statement of assurance. This form asked for the family's address, children's names and birth dates, weekly and monthly schedules, parents' educational levels, and a general description of curricula.
Home schooling families in Illinois are not required to "verify" their compliance with the law. School districts are to assume that families are in compliance unless they have evidence to the contrary. HSLDA informed the regional office that the family was in compliance with all requirements for operating a private school, and that they would not submit the requested information.
Kane County's Regional Office of Education demanded that a member family verify they are providing home instruction to their children by filling out a detailed form, which asked for children's grade levels, subject areas and instruction hours, school religious affiliation, and other information. HSLDA wrote to Kane County and explained that the family was not required to submit this laundry list of personal information. School districts may only contact families if they have evidence that the family is not in compliance with the law.
A Naperville School District high school told an HSLDA member family that the school was "required" to keep on record a letter indicating intent to home school, subjects to be taught, and minutes of instruction per week. HSLDA explained to the high school principal that the family was in compliance with all requirements for the operation of a private school. Naperville's additional "requirements" of submitting notice of intent to home school, subject list, and instruction minutes cannot be found in Illinois law. The member family did not send in the requested information, and this situation was resolved.
Will County Regional Office of Education Superintendent informed an HSLDA member family that it was the district's responsibility to ascertain that all children in the county have the opportunity to attend school, and that family could "begin the official process" by submitting certain information.
The superintendent claimed that state law required the family to provide a school calendar of 176 attendance days with a daily schedule of five hours or more, as well as proof that they are maintaining an educational program comparable to that of the public schools. HSLDA pointed out to Will County that the law requires neither submission of a school calendar nor the family's educational program.
- Christopher J. Klicka