May 5, 2005

Winnebago County Unjustifiably Requires State Approval for Homeschools

When an HSLDA member family in Winnebago County, Illinois, decided to withdraw their child from public school in order to homeschool her, the Regional Superintendent of Schools replied to the family's letter of withdrawal with a letter of his own.

In the letter, the superintendent outlines the family's homeschool "rights" and "responsibilities" under Illinois law. These responsibilities included completing and returning the "Home School Registration Form" to the Regional Office of Education. This form requested the name, address, email address, and telephone number of the parents and children; the curriculum they would be using; the grade level, birth date, race, and gender of each student; and a list of subjects that would be taught. Although the form did note that it was voluntary, the cover letter implied that the family could not withdraw their child from school until they had, "[R]eceived approval verification from the Regional Office of Education."

The family immediately contacted HSLDA upon receiving the letter, concerned that they would be required to register or be reported truant. HSLDA staff sent a letter to the superintendent in response of the letter sent to the member family. The letter explained that a homeschool family was not required to register their program, and did not need to receive approval verification from the state in order to withdraw their child from public school.

If you receive a letter from your superintendent requiring approval verification from the state to homeschool, please notify our offices immediately.