How to Homeschool in Illinois: 2024 Unbiased Guide

Looking for an unbiased homeschool resource that doesn’t have a hidden agenda? You’ve come to the right place to learn how to homeschool in Illinois.

To homeschool in Illinois, a parent or guardian should become familiar with Illinois homeschooling laws and regulations. Families must decide on a curriculum that fits their needs and be prepared for the self-discipline required to maintain a robust academic schedule.

Home helping homeschooled daughter

How to Homeschool in Illinois

Homeschooling in Illinois is regulated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). If you want to homeschool your child in Illinois, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Notify the ISBE: Illinois law requires parents who homeschool their children to notify the ISBE of their intent to homeschool. You can do this by completing the Notice of Intent to Homeschool form, which can be found on the ISBE website.
  2. Develop a curriculum: You will need to create a curriculum that meets the state’s educational requirements. This can include materials from a variety of sources, such as textbooks, online resources, and hands-on activities.
  3. Keep records: You will need to keep records of your homeschooling activities, including attendance records, lesson plans, and any assessments or evaluations you conduct.
  4. Administer standardized tests: Illinois law requires homeschooled students to participate in standardized testing in grades 3, 6, 9, and 11. You can find more information about testing options on the ISBE website.
  5. Comply with state laws: As a homeschooling parent, you are responsible for following all relevant state laws and regulations. This includes making sure your child receives an appropriate education and maintaining accurate records.

Educational and Interactive Word Search Puzzles

If you have any questions about homeschooling in Illinois, you can contact the ISBE for more information.

As of February 2020, at least 9 million Americans had been homeschooled at least once.

Free Illinois Homeschool Programs

As educational needs evolve, free homeschooling programs in Illinois are becoming increasingly popular.

Virtual classes give families more control over their children’s education, provide an interactive way for parents to stay involved, and offer a convenient option for scheduling.

These programs, which are often free of charge, offer parents a great opportunity to provide their children with an extraordinary education at an affordable cost.

Through these classes, learners can build an array of skills including literacy and numeracy that provide them with a strong footing for future success.

Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular with Illinois families due to its flexible educational opportunities.

The Illinois State Board of Education can provide extra guidance for homeschooling your child in Illinois.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is an amazing resource, offering updates on homeschooling laws in Illinois, webinars, and articles to assist parents with homeschooling.

Homeschooling with a private tutor

Does Homeschool Have to be Accredited in Illinois?

Illinois parents who opt to homeschool their children can breathe easy, as they are not required by law to gain accreditation.

Parents must submit a notification of intent to their local school district and guarantee that their student receives an education that fulfills or surpasses minimum standards in certain subject areas.

Parents can decide what education route best fits their child, and if they’re looking for accredited courses, they may look into private organizations.

Accreditation status notwithstanding, homeschooling parents should access resources and support groups in order to ensure their child is getting a good education at home.

Between 2019 to 2020, the percentage of homeschooled students changed from 3.4% to 9%.

Illinois Accredited Homeschool Programs

To be accredited homeschools must submit evidence of enrollment and attendance, keep complete grade records, take mandated yearly standardized tests accepted by the state, have a designated teacher with at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and remain informed about all curriculum modifications.

Private schools that are accredited need to make sure their admission policies comply with necessary laws and regulations, in order to stay within the state’s attendance requirements.

Parents can provide their children with a quality education at home through an accredited homeschool program, enabling them to learn in a familiar and comfortable environment.

67% of the homeschooled students successfully graduate from college.

Create a Designated Learning Place

Homeschoolers should have a specific area set aside for learning, to help establish a daily routine and provide an environment where their child can concentrate on schoolwork.

A dining table is an ideal spot for studying. It’s easily cleared off at the end of each day which allows it to be used for eating as well.

You can also provide your child with their own desk in their bedroom for added privacy and the opportunity to decorate it. Whatever you decide, be sure to create an environment that helps them focus on learning.

Over 300 million students were homeschooled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay On Track with a Daily Schedule

Sticking to a daily schedule for homeschooling has many advantages; here are some of them:

  • Establishing a daily routine can help homeschoolers prioritize tasks, complete more in less time, and improve productivity. Families with multiple students or other outside commitments may particularly benefit from this strategy.
  • Effective time management begins with planning. A daily schedule makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done and when, and prevents feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Allocating specific blocks of time to tasks can help your family stay organized.
  • Homeschooling can provide a sense of structure and regularity, especially beneficial for kids accustomed to attending a traditional school. This can make them feel safer and more prepared to learn.
  • Families can benefit from daily schedules to stay accountable and meet their homeschooling objectives. This is important for those who tend to be easily distracted or delay their tasks.
  • Having a daily schedule in place can facilitate better communication among family members, helping to avoid misunderstandings and building a stronger bond between them.
Homeschool Calendar

Ease Into It

Homeschooling for new parents can be a big shift, so it’s crucial to not apply excessive pressure from the start. It is best to ease into this transition and move forward at a steady pace.

Homeschooling parents can begin with just a few basic supplies and then build on their resources as they get more confident with the homeschooling process.

When it comes to homeschooling, there are numerous options, so you should find one that works best for your family. Don’t be afraid to venture out and experiment with different techniques; the less stressed you feel, the more successful your learning experience is likely to be.

Regardless of the educational level of their parents, homeschooled students score between 80% and 90%.

Involve Your Child in Setting Learning Goals

Involving your child in homeschool assignment planning and curriculum scheduling is important for several reasons:

  • Offering students a sense of importance and ownership in their education will provide them with motivation and boost engagement.
  • Involving them in the homeschool process will help them feel that they are part of it, rather than it being done to them.
  • Getting your child involved in the homeschooling decision-making will give you a better understanding of their likes, talents, and shortcomings; allowing you to modify the learning environment to better accommodate them.

Generally, having your kid involved in homeschooling planning is key to a successful experience for everyone.

Mom and children looking at a globe.

Explore Other Ways of Learning Outside the Classroom

Homeschooled kids have an advantage as they can explore many educational possibilities not found in a regular school. This helps them gain a diverse range of knowledge and experience, resulting in a more comprehensive education.

In many cases, homeschoolers benefit from strong connections in the community. These relationships can open doors to new learning opportunities, such as classes and workshops taught by experts or members of the community.

Parents who homeschool their children should seize these chances to broaden their kids’ education.

Homeschooling families can give their children a very enriching education by exploring different learning techniques.

Children learning at a museum

Reach Out to Other Homeschool Families

Homeschooling can be difficult, especially for families without a support system. Luckily, there are various ways to make connections with other homeschoolers and build a community. One way is by connecting with local homeschooling organizations.

Homeschool groups can provide emotional support, practical advice from experienced homeschoolers, and opportunities for field trips and social interactions.

Joining an online forum or Facebook group is an excellent way to network with other homeschool parents.

Joining a parenting group can be helpful for exchanging resources, asking questions, and obtaining advice from parents who have the same experiences.

Making connections with other homeschooling families can help parents lessen the feeling of isolation and build a supportive environment for their kids.

When educated at home rather than in public schools, boys do 44% better on reading examinations.

Can Homeschooled Students Play Sports in Illinois?

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) mandates that homeschooled student-athletes must be enrolled in a public school to play sports and take 25 credit hours or five classes.

The IHSA holds homeschooled students to the same educational expectations as other learners and requires evaluation for athletic participation.

All students receive a fair chance to compete, as each has been evaluated and placed on a team that matches their skill set.

The process is complex, but it guarantees everyone an opportunity to play the sport they love.

Homeschooled boys playing soccer

How to Homeschool When Both Parents Work

Illinois parents who opt to homeschool their children have to be creative with balancing work and school, as it is a difficult task.

With some ingenuity, it’s possible to work and homeschool at the same time. Let’s examine some pointers to help you achieve it.

Prior to February 2020, just 68% of parents who had homeschooled their children said it had been a success.

Get Your Childcare Involved

Some parents are lucky enough to have assistance in homeschooling while they’re away at work due to childcare.

When it’s not achievable or budget-friendly for all households, one should think outside the box to devise a plan that fits everyone’s needs.

Boy doing schoolwork

Delegate Chores

Involving your children in household tasks is an effective method to reduce the strain you may be facing between work and homeschooling. It also provides them with an opportunity to learn about responsibility.

It’s prudent to be mindful of your child’s abilities. A five-year-old probably won’t be able to do the laundry, but they can lend a hand with things like dusting or laying the table.

As they age, give your children more chores. By involving them in household tasks, you can reduce your work while teaching them essential life skills.

Before the epidemic, 69% of homeschooled children expressed a desire to continue their studies in this manner for the upcoming school year.

You and Your Spouse Work Alternate Shifts

Balancing homeschooling with both parents working can be difficult, especially if you and your partner have alternating shifts. Here are some strategies to help make it work:

  • It’s important to organize your week in advance by creating a schedule that includes all of your work hours and other responsibilities. This will help you plan effectively for homeschooling.
  • Make use of online materials: Utilizing online components like lesson plans, videos, and virtual excursions can be a great way to supplement your kid’s schooling when you are not able to be with them in person.
  • Be flexible with your homeschooling: If your daytime commitments don’t make 9 to 3 schooling feasible, think outside the box. For instance, you can do lessons at night or at the weekend. Or, break up the day into shorter chunks of time for educational activities.
  • Ask for assistance: Don’t be scared to look for support when you need it. This could involve employing a tutor or nanny to aid with home-based instruction while you are busy, or requesting the aid of relatives and friends.
  • Homeschoolers should be aware that it’s okay to take breaks. Finding a balance between work and homeschooling will help ensure that commitments are met on both fronts.

Homeschooling can be a tricky task if both parents are working. But it can be done with the right amount of planning and creativity, making it an enriching experience for the whole family.

Girl doing schoolwork on the computer

Take Advantage of Online Curriculums

Homeschooling is a great option to personalize your child’s education, yet it can be difficult to fit work and school into one schedule. To make it easier, why not opt for an online curriculum?

Structured learning programs can assist your child in their development and ensure concentration while you are away.

Furthermore, online learning can be tailored to your child’s individual requirements, making it convenient to discover a course that suits their distinctive learning approach.

In their children’s upcoming academic year, 54% of parents who were homeschooling before February 2020 were likely to do so full-time.

Assign the Child Solo Activities to Do While You’re at Work

Parents in Illinois who teach their kids at home must find ways to keep their children entertained while they are working. One way is to assign independent curriculum projects.

Tasks such as reading assignments, research projects, and math and writing exercises may be included.

It’s essential to select activities that are suitable for your child’s age and skill level.

If your child attends childcare, ask your provider to remind them to complete their homeschooling tasks daily.

Proper planning can help your child become independent and accomplish tough tasks during the workday.

Homeschooled girl doing school work

Allow Yourself Flexibility and Grace

Balancing a job and homeschooling can be difficult for parents, so it’s vital to give yourself some leniency and kindness while managing these duties.

Striving for perfection is an unattainable goal that can lead to disappointment. Focus on the successes, no matter how small, and congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Keep in mind that your kids are observing you, and will take after you. By displaying a positive outlook and openness to change, they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Balancing work and homeschooling can be difficult, but it also presents an excellent opportunity to impart valuable lessons to your children. Show them how to be adaptable and graceful in any situation, setting them up for victory down the line.

The typical cost of homeschooling is between $350-$750 per year for the parent(s).

Illinois Homeschool Curriculum Requirements 

In Illinois, parents who choose to teach their children at home must provide instruction in core subjects such as reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.

Furthermore, parents must make sure that their kids receive physical education and health classes.

Parents should give their children the chance to learn art and foreign languages.

To measure academic progress, parents must give their children regular standardized tests.

To provide their children with a comprehensive education, Illinois homeschooling parents should adhere to these regulations.

Parent writing a letter of intent to homeschool

Letter of Intent to Homeschool in Illinois

In Illinois, homeschooling parents don’t have to file a Letter of Intent with the school district, though it is appreciated. This letter serves as a notification of the parents’ plan to teach their child at home during the upcoming school year.

Parents can also use this opportunity to share their educational goals and beliefs.

In Illinois, submitting a Letter of Intent isn’t mandatory but it can help make the transition easier for parents and the school district.

The parents may find it beneficial to show their dedication to homeschooling if necessary.

An Illinois homeschooling family should always consider submitting a letter of intent due to its many benefits.

The federal government saves $24 billion in taxpayer money thanks to homeschooling.

Is the Illinois Homeschool Curriculum Free?

The Illinois State Board of Education does not provide support for home schools. It is suggested that parents seeking guidance about materials and curricula for homeschooling talk to their local public school districts.

Local school districts may provide information on free resources that can be used to complement homeschooling.

Parents are encouraged to inquire with private schools and colleges to determine whether they have courses or programs available for homeschooled students.

Numerous websites provide free homeschooling resources, like lesson plans, worksheets, and other materials.

Through research, parents can access a range of resources to assist them in crafting an effective homeschooling plan for their kids.

Older girl sitting holding a jar of money

How Much Does It Cost to Homeschool in Illinois?

Homeschooling in Illinois can be inexpensive if you plan carefully, considering the curriculum and whether you’ll need to buy materials or hire tutors.

Homeschooling can be costly due to the expense of curriculum materials.

You can find multiple free or low-cost curriculums as well as high-quality ones that require purchase.

Hiring tutors or professionals to help with teaching may be another cost.

Sometimes, you can find programs offering the same services for free or at reduced prices.

Homeschooling can be cost-effective as families don’t have to worry about expenses related to childcare and extracurricular activities.

Homeschooling can come with some related expenses, but they’re usually manageable.

A safe environment was cited as the main motivation by 50% of parents who homeschool their children.

How Many Days Are Required for Homeschool in Illinois?

In Illinois, there are no attendance requirements for homeschooled students. However, it is still recommended that parents establish a schedule that is similar to that of students in public schools. This will help to ensure that children receive a consistent and well-rounded education.

Homeschooled students enjoy much more flexibility than their counterparts in traditional schools.

For example, they can take classes online, at their own pace, and in subjects that they are interested in.

Also, they can take advantage of unique learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships.

As a result, homeschooled students often have a more individualized and tailored education than those who attend traditional schools.

Homeschooling months of the year

Illinois Homeschool Record Keeping 

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, homeschoolers are not required to maintain records of their educational activities. However, many homeschooling families find that keeping records can be helpful in a number of ways.

Records can provide a valuable record of the student’s academic progress over time. This can be especially useful when it comes time to apply to colleges or for jobs.

In addition, records can help parents to monitor their child’s progress and identify areas where additional attention may be needed.

Well-organized records can make it easier to comply with any legal requirements that may arise.

As a result, recordkeeping plays an important role in many homeschooling families.

Here are some things that are important to keep a record of during the homeschooling years:

  • Test results
  • Samples of your student’s academic work
  • Documentation of the type of curriculum being provided to your child
  • Dialog with state and/or school officials
  • Attendance records

A good rule of thumb is to save these records for at least two years or longer if required.

Therefore, it is important for homeschoolers in Illinois to keep careful records of their educational activities.

Test results, extracurricular activities, and socialization were mentioned as reasons for homeschooling by 14% of the parents.

Illinois Homeschool Graduation Requirements 

The state of Illinois does not have a specific homeschooling requirement in place for a student to graduate. Graduation standards are set by the parents as the facilitators of their child’s education. Once the student accomplishes the expected milestones set forth by the parents, they will graduate.

HS diploma

Illinois Homeschool Diploma 

For homeschooled students in Illinois, earning a diploma can be an even greater accomplishment. Homeschooled kids don’t have the structure of a regular school schedule, so they have to be self-motivated and disciplined to do well. A high school diploma is a symbol of hard work and dedication.

Earning a diploma shows that they have what it takes to set goals and achieve them.

In addition, a diploma for Illinois homeschoolers can open up new opportunities, such as colleges and scholarships.

For homeschooled students, a high school diploma is an important milestone on the road to success.

Over 300 million students were homeschooled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Does a Homeschooled Student Get a Diploma?

If a homeschooled student in Illinois wishes to obtain a diploma, there are two options available. The first option is for the parent to supply the diploma. The second option is for the student to join a public school as a senior and graduate traditionally with his or her class.

In order to do this, the student must meet all of the same requirements as any other public school senior, including taking and passing state-mandated tests.

Once these requirements are met, the student will receive a high school diploma from their local school district.

Of course, parents will want to ensure that their child meets all the necessary requirements for graduation, such as taking required courses and passing exams.

However, they also have the freedom to tailor the curriculum to their child’s interests and learning style.

As a result, homeschooled students often emerge with a well-rounded education that prepares them well for success in college and beyond.

Before COVID-19, 42% of parents said they wished their kids had more freedom to pursue their hobbies.

Are Homeschool Diplomas Valid?

The homeschooling movement has been growing steadily in recent years, as more parents opt to educate their children at home. While homeschooling can provide a number of benefits, there is one potential drawback: homeschool diplomas may not be as recognized by colleges or employers.

Some institutions may require additional testing or coursework for homeschooled students, so students should be prepared to take some tests to show their level of academics.

It’s not uncommon whatsoever for homeschooled kids to be more academically advanced than their peers who attended a public school, so in the long run, homeschoolers are quite capable of holding the advantage.

However, it is important to note that homeschool diplomas are becoming increasingly common and should be accepted by most colleges and employers.


Although the information in this article was researched with the utmost integrity and sincerity, it cannot be held legally liable or expected to take the place of legitimate legal advice for your specific situation.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering their educational options. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.