This letter is written to you to clarify the responsibilities of a parent who wishes to home school his/her child or children.
In 1950, the Illinois Supreme Court held in People vs. Levisen, 404 Ill.574, 90 N.E. 2nd 213 (1950) that the term “private school” in this context includes home schooling if the teacher is competent, required subjects are taught, and the student receives an education at least equivalent to public schooling. The Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois State Board of Education have not established any specific regulation regarding home school instruction of children, including the certification of the teacher.
In a more recent court decision in 1974, Scoma vs Chicago Board of Education, 391, F. Supp. 452 (N.D. Ill.1974), the court emphasized that the burden of proof rests with the parents to establish that the plan of home instruction, which they are providing to their children, meets state requirements. The Regional Superintendent of Schools of the Macon-Piatt Regional Office of Education has the responsibility for monitoring compliance with the compulsory school law.
The regional superintendent may expect the following:
1. Parents provide instruction that is a least commensurate with the standards of the public school.
2. Parents are expected to document the subjects taught.
3 .Parents must include “branches of learning” taught in the public schools.
4. Parents must have an annual calendar and a daily and weekly schedule for subjects being taught.
5. Parents are expected to establish, by written examination or by other means, that the child’s level of academic achievement is comparable to that of the child’s peers of corresponding age and grade level.
If the regional superintendent is notified that home instruction requirements are not being met, he will order the truant officer to investigate to determine if the child is in compliance with the compulsory attendance law. If the truant officer finds just cause for concern, the matter of noncompliance will be reported to the courts.
A parent intending to home school his/her child should seek resource materials needed to provide adequate instruction. This can be accomplished by visiting the local library, the state library, and by contacting home school associations. Your local school district is not required by law to assist you with curriculum, courses of study, or materials.
I hope this letter will be of some assistance to you as you embark upon a most important venture.
Matthew T. Snyder
Regional Superintendent of Schools
The following is a list of additional resources for Home Schooling: