Homeschooling in Illinois: What’s Required and Helpful Resources

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Homeschooling In Illinois is an amazing opportunity for your family. Illinois is a great state in which to home school!

I have been homeschooling for 17 years now and we have always lived in Illinois. Over the years, we have seen support groups come and go, slight changes to the law (the compulsory school age is now 6-17 after being 7-16 for decades), and an increase in structured one-day-school programs.

But, one thing stays the same—the freedom to teach our children according to our family values. We enjoy these benefits of homeschooling and love helping others make the leap.

Homeschooling in Illinois offers many great opportunities.  Learn about the homeschool law, support groups, and other resources for success.

Homeschooling in Illinois: The law

Before you get started, it’s a good thing to know what the state requires of you.

In Illinois, each homeschool family in Illinois is considered a private school and is not required to register with any state education office or submit to standardized testing. Every school, including home schools, is required to teach children ages 6 to 17 in the same branches of education as are taught to their peers in the state public schools. This includes high school.

The burden of proof, however, falls to you if someone doesn’t believe you are really homeschooling. It’s a good idea to keep some records of what you’re doing each year, just in case. This can be as simple as keeping samples or photos of your child’s work and a book list.

For more information about this, check out Illinois law on homeschooling.

Homeschool Conferences in Illinois

A great place to learn more about homeschooling methods and philosophies, talk to speakers and curriculum providers, and find great deals is at a conference.

The conferences below are all faith-based and to be honest, most homeschool conferences are faith-based. There used to be a popular secular conference—INHOME Conference—organized by a committee of folks from Chicago-area H.O.U.S.E. members. However, that conference morphed into an unschooling conference that is now held in southern Wisconsin.

These are the currently active conferences held each year throughout Illinois:

Association of Peoria Area Christian Home Educators (APACHE) convention
ICHE Southern Illinois Conference
IHM Chicago Catholic Homeschool Conference
Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE) conference

Homeschooling in Illinois? Find a Group!

The best thing I ever did when I first started homeschooling in Illinois was join a local support group. Learning from online sources helps and Facebook groups are nice, but nothing compares to face-to-face connection.

We have participated in both support groups and homeschool co-ops. Both seem to come and go. Check the links below to see if the group is currently active and determine whether it will serve your needs.

Co-ops are much more parent-intensive than a mere support group. Both support groups and co-ops have provided for me a much-needed community of friends, encouragement and advice, and a wealth of knowledge and resources.

Connecting with other homeschooling families introduced my family to new interests and helped me discover community classes. If there is no city listed, it is in the Chicago area or it is statewide.

Homeschool Support Groups

Illinois Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience (HOUSE) (non-sectarian)
Christian Home Educators Support System (CHESS)
Crossroads Area Homeschool Association (central Illinois)
Decatur Area Homeschool Network (yahoo group)
Many Rivers Unschoolers (Joliet area) (yahoo group)
Peoria Area Homeschoolers (yahoo group)
Prairie Homeschool Collective (Chicago area, non-sectarian) (closed Facebook group. No website)
Sauk Valley Christian Home Educators
Society of St. Scholastica Home School Group (Catholic. Northern IL/Southern WI)
Splendor of Truth Catholic Home Educators (northeast IL/Southern WI)
St. Claire County Christian Home Educators
Teaching Homes for Christ
ICHE has a list of groups, although some of them do not include contact information.

Also, check with your local library and area churches as many homeschool support groups meet in these places. Many do not have websites, although they may have a closed Facebook or Yahoo group.

Homeschool Co-ops

These listings generally offer support and cooperative classes.

CHAMPS Homeschool Co-op (arts and music)
Christian Homeschooling Association (Springfield)
Christians United for Better Schooling (CUBS) (closed Facebook group. No website)
Christian Workshops of the Fox Valley
Classical Conversations (enter your town or zip code to find a community in your area. 36 communities in the Chicago area alone!)
Eastern DuPage for Godly Education (EDGE)
Family of Faith Resource Center (Monee)
The Greenhouse
Homeschool Friends of St. Charles (meetup group)
Homeschool Kingdom
Joy in Learning (Champaign)
Learning Vine (Naperville)
One Day Enrichment (ODE)
Tri-Cities Enrichment Co-op (Aurora)
True North Homeschooling Co-op (secular, Rockford)

If you're looking for more opportunities to connect with other homeschooling families, co-ops, and groups in your specific area, Homeschool Hall has created a comprehensive, FREE Homeschool Directory that is super helpful. Homeschool clubs, tutors, curriculum stores, and sports are also listed, so you can find almost anything you need to support your homeschooling.

Other Homeschooling in Illinois Resources

Over the years, we have taken full advantage of living in the Chicago area. The following are additional resources I am aware of that are either specifically for homeschoolers or can be used by us.

Johnsburg Homeschool Resource Center at the Johnsburg Library
Christian Liberty Used Book Sale every spring (Arlington Heights)
Field Museum Harris Learning Collection: For a fee, you can borrow exhibit cases and experience boxes for up to 3 weeks. These are great supplements or springboards for new interests.
Museum of Science and Industry Homeschool Learning Labs: Hands-on science programs for homeschoolers!
Maestro Heights – Gail Masinda is an online piano teacher

Forest Preserve District—Will and DuPage Counties. These are intermittent and sometimes need to be organized by a group of homeschoolers.

YMCA Homeschool Gym and Swim. Several Chicago-area YMCAs offer this program.

To find additional resources, local classes, and other opportunities in your area, be sure to connect with other homeschoolers through a support group or co-op. I hope you found this little guide helpful to you in getting started on your new adventure!

Are you homeschooling in Illinois? Drop a comment below and let us know your favorite resources and places to visit!

And if you’d love to have a printable resource to use to keep track of state homeschool requirements, key organizations, activities and field trip plans, and curriculum notes, grab a copy of my Curriculum & Activity Planner below (it’s free!):

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Interested in learning about homeschooling in another state? Check out the Homeschooling in 50 States Series.

About the Author

Julie Polanco

Julie Polanco is a master herbalist, author, speaker, podcaster, blogger, and 18 year veteran homeschooling mom of four. Her site, Julie Naturally, aims to equip Christian families with the tools they need to pursue natural living and natural learning even if they live in a city apartment.

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5 Comments

  1. I’m happy and blessed to be homeschooling in Illinois, one of the most homeschool-friendly states! This is such a rich resource for homeschoolers in Illinois, I will bookmark this page.

  2. This is SUCH a great post! We’ve been homeschooling for 12 years in Illinois now, and I have to say, that our CoOp (G.I.F.T – Godly Influenced Fine Arts Training https://www.homeschool-life.com/1872/index_public?Logout=1 ) has been one of the best resources that we’ve found. Once a week – all of our ‘extras’ in one place (including parents coming alongside other parents to encourage on the journey).

  3. Becky Adkins says:

    I’m grateful for the freedom we have homeschooling in Illinois. Thank you for these resources!!

  4. Homeschooling my kids—best decision I ever made 12 years ago; AND the hardest thing I’ve ever done! So thankful for it all and thankful for being in a very homeschool-friendly state. We live in the city of Chicago and being near some of the greatest museums has given us so many amazing experiences over the years!

  5. Jennifer Sears says:

    Hi we have been homeschooling in Illinois for 4 years officially, but really since birth. Homeschooling was such a natural progression of being a mom, it’s not always easy but the best thing I’ve ever done.

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