PR 08005.016 Illinois

A. PR 04-346 Money Creek Academy (Meghan K. C~, ~)

DATE: July 5, 2001

1. SYLLABUS

  • Illinois recognizes home schooling as a private school provided that:

    * The teacher is competent (see the opinion for a discussion of this requirement);

    * The required subjects are taught; and

    * The child receives an education at least equivalent to public schooling.

    The education in a private school must include instruction in the subject areas taught to students in the public schools, and the instruction must be in English. Subjects required for a high school diploma include three years of language arts; two years of mathematics; one year of science; two years of social studies (at least one of which must include American history or a combination of American history and American government); and one year of music, art, or a foreign language. An education "equivalent to public schooling" must include instruction in courses taught in the public schools. Illinois requires 5 hours of school work per day in a school year of at least 176 days; this equals 880 hours per year.

  • A parent or home school instructor should submit evidence of:

    * The courses to be taught;

    * The length of instruction time, including hours per day and days per year;

    * The teacher's competency; and

    * A basis for comparison of the child's performance to that of public school children of corresponding age and grade level.

2. OPINION

You asked whether Money Creek Academy qualified as an educational institution under Illinois law. You also asked us to consider the specific case of Meghan K. C~.

We conclude that there is probably sufficient information to determine that Meghan K. C~'s attendance at Money Creek Academy during the school year September 8, 1998-May 28, 1999 qualified as "home schooling" and accordingly satisfied the education requirements set forth under 105 ILCS § 5/26-1 {2000}.

BACKGROUND

Meghan K. C~ attended Money Creek Academy, a home school staffed by her parents Richard and Mitzi C~, during the academic year 1998-1999. Meghan reported, in September 1998, that she would be attending Money Creek Academy from the time she would attain age 18 in January 1999 through May 28, 1999. See SSA 1372-F4.

According to the information you supplied, Mitzi C~, who taught most of the classes, is a registered nurse with at least some college coursework. Richard C~ is a high school graduate. The C~s acquired educational materials and a curriculum provided by A Beka Home School Academic Programs. Mr. and Mrs. C~ administered tests to Meghan, and the grading was done by them rather than by A Beka. Meghan attended school at home for five hours a day for nine months during the year. Her curriculum consisted of courses in English, mathematics, science, social studies, and economics. Meghan scored above average in almost all areas on the Stanford Achievement Test. Subsequently, Meghan obtained a GED and enrolled in college.

Education Requirements Under Illinois State Law

Illinois law requires whoever has custody or control of a child between the ages of 7 and 16 years to see that the child attends a public school in the district where the child resides. 105 ILCS § 5/26-1 (2000)._1 A child attending a private or parochial school is exempted from this requirement, as long as the education includes instruction in the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools and the instruction is being given in the English language. 105 ILCS 5/26-1(1). "Private school" has been interpreted by the courts to include home schools "where the teacher is competent, the required subjects are taught, and the child receives an education at least equivalent to public schooling." People v. Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d 205, 208, 180 N.E.2d 889, 890 (1962), citing People v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E.2d 213 (1950). Parents and guardians who choose the home school option have the burden of showing that they have, in good faith, provided adequate instruction in the required branches of learning. Levisen, 34 Ill. at 578, 18 N.E.2d at 215-16.

_1 For a comprehensive examination of the legal requirements of educational institutions in each of Region V's six states see "Memorandum from OGC Region V to Region V Assistant Regional Commissioner, Qualifications For Home Schools Under the Laws of the Six States in Region V (January 31, 2001)."

An education "equivalent to public schooling" must include instruction in the branches of education taught in the public schools. 105 ILCS 5/26-1(1); see Levisen, 404 Ill. at 578, 90 N.E.2d at 215. Requirements for achieving a high school diploma include:

1. three years of language arts.

2. two years of mathematics

3. one year of science

4. two years of social studies (at least one of which must include the study of American history or a combination of American history and American government)

5. one year of music, art, or a foreign language

See 105 ILCS § 5/27-22.

Additionally, Illinois law requires that students complete five hours of school work per day (105 ILCS § 5/18-8.05(F)(1)) in a school year which includes at least 176 days of actual student attendance for a total of 880 hours per year. See 105 ILLS §5 5/10-19 and 5/18-8.05(F)(1).

Finally, case law indicates that a parent or guardian home schooling his or her child should be prepared to present information regarding the courses to be taught with a specific emphasis on the branches of learning taught in the public schools, the length of time instruction is offered, including days per year and hours per day, the competency of the teacher, and a basis upon which the child's performance will be compared to public school children of corresponding age and grade level. See Levisen, 404 Ill. at 577, 90 N.E.2d at 215; Harrell, 34 Ill. at 208, 180 N.E.2d at 890-91._2

_2 You indicated that the initial denial of Meghan's claim was based on a report of contact with an Illinois school official who stated that a home school could be recognized if it affiliates with a local school district and works out an acceptable schooling arrangement with the superintendent of schools. We did not locate any authority for that proposition.

DISCUSSION

Meghan K. C~ turned sixteen years old on January 12, 1997. Under Illinois law, she was not required to attend school after her sixteenth birthday. See 105 ILLS § 5/26-1 {2000). Accordingly, state authorities would not pursue legal action against her parents for the period in question (the 1998-1999 academic year). We conclude that prosecution is not a valid consideration in this case.

You asked whether Meghan's attendance at the Money Creek. Academy during the academic year 1998-1999 was equivalent to public schooling under Illinois law. The duration of Meghan's school day and length of her school year appear consistent with Illinois school attendance requirements. See 105 ILCS §§ 5/10-19, 5/18-8.05(F)(1), 5/27-22.

Under Illinois caselaw, a child who is home schooled must receive an education that is equivalent to what she would have received in public school. Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d at 208, 180 N.E. 2d at 890 {1962), citing People v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E. 2d 213 (1950). Assuming that Meghan completed all of the courses required for completion of high school, under 105 ILCS § 5/27-22, the equivalency requirement appears to be met, since she successfully completed GED requirements and was admitted to college after successfully completing an entrance examination. See Levisen, 404 I11. at 577, 90 N.E. 2d at 215 (home schooling complied with Illinois compulsory school attendance law where child, who would have been in third grade in public school, was being taught third grade subjects, had regular hours for study, and showed a proficiency comparable to an average third grader).

In Harrell, the Illinois appellate court stated an additional requirement that the teacher be "competent." Specific competency requirements were not set forth in that, case, although the court noted that one of the teachers at the private school in question had not completed high school. Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d at 207, 180 N.E. 2d at 890. The Harrell court concluded that the school in question did not meet the requirements of a private school because it was "disorganized, lacking in system, with mostly inexperienced teachers attempting to teach from textbooks without uniformity." Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d at 208, 180 N.E. 2d at 891. Thus, Harrell provides little guidance with respect to the competency of teachers for home schooling. In Levisen, the Illinois Supreme Court did not explicitly state that there was a teacher competency requirement. The court relied on two cases in which the teachers had previously been public school teachers. Levisen, 404 Ill. at 577-578, 90 N.E. 2d at 215 (citing State v. Peterman, 32 Ind. App. 665, 70 N.E. 550 (1904) and Wright v. State, 209 Pao. 179 (1922). However, the court found that the home schooling by the parents in the Levisen case was sufficient to meet Illinois requirements, despite the fact that neither parent was a certified teacher. Levisen, 404 Ill. at 577-78, 90 N.E. 2d at 215. The father was a college graduate and the mother, who provided the bulk of the instruction, had two years of college with some training in pedagogy and educational psychology. Levisen, 404 Ill. at 576, 90 N.E. 2d at 214.

Although no definition of teacher competency is provided either in Illinois caselaw or by Illinois statute, it would appear from the Levisen decision that the teacher competency requirement is at least somewhat less than that of a certified teacher. It is not clear whether Mitzi C~, who appears to have provided the bulk of Meghan's instruction, has any training in pedagogy or educational psychology as did the teacher in Levisen. However, she does appear to have at least the same amount of college education. In light of that fact and the fact that the mother's instruction allowed Meghan to obtain a GED and pass a college entrance examination, we think the teacher competency requirement for home schooling was met in the present case.

Based on the information you have provided, we conclude that the Money Creek Academy constituted a recognized educational institution under Illinois law for purposes of Meghan's entitlement to benefits as a full-time student.

Your inquiry also alluded to benefit entitlement issues regarding Zachary K. C~, Meghan's brother. If Zachary also was home schooled, he may be entitled to benefits based on his ability to furnish evidence that demonstrates his schooling conformed to the educational requirements set forth above. It is unclear from your memorandum whether Zachary applied for benefits as a full-time student.

CONCLUSION

Based on the information you have provided, we conclude that under Illinois law,. the Money Creek Academy constituted a recognized educational institution for purposes of home schooling Meghan K. C~ during the 1998-1999 academic year.

Thomas W. C~
Chief Counsel, Region V

By: _______________________
Patrick a~
Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 02-095 Qualifications for Home Schools Under the Laws of the Six States in Region V

DATE: January 31, 2001

1. SYLLABUS

Illinois recognizes home schooling as a private school provided that:

  • The teacher is competent;

  • The required subjects are taught; and

  • The child receives an education at least equivalent to public schooling.

An education “equivalent to public schooling” must include instruction in courses taught in the public schools. Illinois requires 5 hours of school work per day in a school year of at least 176 days; this equals 880 hours per year.

A parent or home school instructor should submit evidence of:

  • The courses to be taught;

  • The length of instruction time, including hours per day and days per year;

  • The teacher's competency; and

  • A basis for comparison of the child's performance to that of public school children of corresponding age and grade level.

2. OPINION

You have requested information regarding the educational institution (EI) requirements for each state in the Chicago region. Section 202(d)(7)(c)(i) of the Social Security Act defines an elementary or secondary school as a school which provides elementary or secondary education, respectively, as determined under the law of the state in which it is located. This definition also appears in 20 C.F.R. § 404.367 which addresses the federal full-time attendance requirement for student benefits. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1) provides that a student is instructed in an elementary or secondary education at home if such education is provided in accordance with the home school laws of the state in which the student resides. The Program Operations Manual System (POMS) provides that a home schooled child is eligible for student benefits if the student meets the federal standards for full-time attendance1, the law of the state in which the home school is located recognizes a home school as an EI, and the home school attended by the student meets the requirements of the state laws in which the home school is located. POMS RS 00205.275(B). A home school instructor must submit evidence that the school meets the state requirements for home schools. POMS RS 00205.275(C). The following is a survey of the state law requirements for EIs and home schools in each of the states in the Chicago region.

Illinois

Illinois law requires whoever has custody or control of a child between the ages of 7 and 16 years to see that the child attends a public school in the district where the child resides. 105 ILCS § 5/26-1 (2000).2 A child attending a private or parochial school is exempted from this requirement, as long as the education includes instruction in the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools and the education is being given in the English language. 105 ILCS 5/26-1(1). “Private school” has been interpreted by the courts to include home schools “where the teacher is competent, the required subjects are taught, and the child receives and education at least equivalent to public schooling.” People v. Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d 205, 208, 180 N.E.2d 889, 890 (1962), citing People v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E.2d 213 (1950). Parents and guardians who choose the home school option have the burden of showing that they have, in good faith, provided adequate instruction in the required branches of learning. Levisen, 34 Ill. at 578, 18 N.E.2d at 215-16.

An Attorney General's opinion regarding the right of parents to instruct their disabled child in the home issued in 1991, confirms the holdings in both Harrell and Levisen, and further cites People v. Berger, 109 Ill. App. 3d 1054 (1982) (upholding parents' conviction under 105 ILCS 5/26-10 because they took daughter out of school for alleged sickness but failed to provide instruction at home or a valid medical excuse), to support the proposal that “there must be an organized, coherent plan for educating the child in a home school using appropriate materials and teaching methods, in order to satisfy section 26-1 of the School Code.” 1991 Ill. AG LEXIS 45, 1991 Op. Atty Gen. Ill. 92.

An education “equivalent to public schooling” must include instruction in the branches of education taught in the public schools. 105 ICLS 5/26-1(1); see Levisen, 404 Ill. at 578, 90 N.E.2d at 215. Courses requisite for a high school diploma are: (1) three years of language arts; (2) two years of mathematics, one of which may be related to computer technology; (3) one year of science; (4) two years of social studies, at least one of which must be history of the United States or a combination of U.S. history and American government; and (5) one year chosen from music, art, foreign language (which includes American Sign Language) or vocational education. 105 ICLS § 5/27-22.3 Additionally, Illinois requires five hours of school work per day (105 ILCS § 5/18-8.05(F)(1)) in a school year which includes at least 176 days of actual student attendance for a total of 880 hours per year. 105 ILCS §§ 5/10-19 and 5/18-8.05(F)(1). A parent or guardian home schooling his or her child should be prepared to present information regarding the courses to be taught with a specific emphasis on the branches of learning taught in the public schools, the length of time instruction is offered, including days per year and hours per day, the competency of the teacher and a basis upon which the child's performance will be compared to public school children of corresponding age and grade level. See Levisen, 404 Ill. at 577, 90 N.E.2d at 215; Harrel, 34 Ill. at 208, 180 N.E.2d at 890-91.

Indiana

Indiana law states that it is unlawful for a parent to fail, neglect or refuse to send a child to public school for the full term “unless the child is being provided with instruction equivalent to that given in the public schools.” Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-34. Home schools may satisfy the requirements of this statute. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(h)(2); Mazanec v. North Judson-San Pierre School Corp., 614 F.Supp. 1152, 1159 (N.D. Ind. 1983), affirmed 798 F.2d 230 (7th Cir. 1986). Generally, a child is subject to the compulsory attendance law from the earlier of the date the child officially enrolls in a school or the beginning of the fall term for the school year in which the child will turn 7 years of age, until the child graduates, reaches the age of 16 but less than 18, and meets the withdrawal requirements of Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(j), or reaches the age of 18. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(b). However, a child whose parent or guardian intends to enroll the child in a nonaccredited, nonpublic school or to provide the child with instruction equivalent to that given in a public school, is not subject to the compulsory attendance law until the child reaches the age of 7. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(h). The parent or guardian of a such a child must certify to the superintendent of the relevant school corporation of their intention. Id.

In order for a student to satisfy the compulsory attendance law at a nonpublic school, the student must attend school each year for the number of days the public schools are in session in the school corporation (district) in which the student is enrolled in Indiana, or, if the student is enrolled in a school outside of Indiana, for the number of days the public schools are in session where the student is enrolled. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(d). Indiana law requires public school students to receive five hours a day of instruction for grades one through six and six hours per day for grades seven through twelve. Ind. Code § 20-10.1-2-1(b). A school year is to include at least 180 days of instruction. Ind. Code § 20-10.1-2-1(c). Instruction must be given in English. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17(a). Instruction must be given in the following subjects: (1) language arts, including English, grammar, composition, speech and second language; (2) mathematics; (3) social studies and citizenship, including the histories, constitutions and governmental systems of Indiana and the United States; (4) sciences; (5) fine arts, including art and music; (6) health education, physical fitness, safety and the effects of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and other substances on the human body; and (7) any additional studies selected by each governing body subject to revision by the state Board of Education. Ind. Code § 20-10.1-4-5. However, the state exempts from the curriculum requirements set forth in Indiana Code chapters 20 and 21, schools which are nonpublic, nonaccredited and not otherwise approved by the Indiana state board of education. Ind. Code § 20-8.1-3-17.3.

Case law indicates that parents and guardians opting for a home school exemption to compulsory attendance have the burden of showing that the home program provides an education equivalent to that offered in the public schools. See Mazanec, 614 F.Supp. at 1159-60. Indiana does not have any codified law regarding the qualifications of the home school instructors.

Michigan

In Michigan, every parent, guardian or person having control and charge of a child from the age of six to the child's sixteenth birthday must send the child to a public school for the entirety of the school year. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(1). A child is exempt from the compulsory attendance law if the child is regularly attending and being taught in a state-approved, nonpublic school which teaches subjects comparable to those taught to children of corresponding age and grade level in the public schools of the district in which the nonpublic school is located. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(3)(a). The Michigan Department of Education (MDOE) has interpreted “comparable” curricula as instruction in mathematics, reading, English, science, social studies at all grade levels, and the Constitutions of the United States and Michigan, the history and present form of civil government of the nation and the state, and the political subdivisions and municipalities of the state in high school. http://www.mde.state.mi.us - Parents, Home Schools, “Information on Nonpublic and Home Schools,” p.4. A child is also exempt from the compulsory attendance law if the child is taught at home by a parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing and English grammar. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(3)(f). A child being educated at home may be exempted from compulsory attendance under either subsection (a) or subsection (f) of the state's compulsory education law. Mich. Stat. § 380.1561(4).

Under subsection (3)(a), a home school may be considered a nonpublic school if it is in compliance with the Private, Denominational and Parochial Schools Act. Mich. Stat. § 388.551 et seq. In order to be in compliance with the Act, qualifying nonpublic school teachers must (1) obtain a Michigan teaching certificate (Mich. Stat. § 388.553), (2) obtain a substitute, full-year or emergency teaching permit, or (3) obtain a bachelor's degree. When a nonpublic school claims to object to the certification requirement on the grounds of sincerely held religious beliefs, however, the minimum education requirements for teachers are waived. People v. DeJonge, 442 Mich. 266, 268, 501 N.W.2d 127, 129 (1993). The state of Michigan, however, may still require teacher certification for home instruction pursuant to subsection (3)(a), which is not based on religious convictions. People v. Bennett, 442 Mich. 316, 327-28, 501 N.W.2d 106, 111-12 (1993); Mich. Stat. § 388.553. Additionally, although nonpublic schools must provide a basic curriculum, including courses in reading, mathematics and writing, the instruction is not required to be identical to that of a public school. Snyder v. Charlotte Public School Dist., 421 Mich. 517, 540, 365 N.W.2d 151, 162 (1984). In Clonlara, Inc. v. State Board of Education, 442 Mich. 230, 242, 501 N.W.2d 88, 94 (1993), the Michigan Supreme Court found that the Nonpublic School Act did not require such a school to be in session for the 180 days required of public schools, as required by Mich. Adm. Code § R 340.10(4).

If a child is exempted from the compulsory education law under the home school provision, subsection (3)(f), the following conditions apply as listed on the MDOE website: (1) the home school is not a nonpublic school; (2) the Michigan Department of Education has no role with the home school family; (3) the home school does not report to the Department of Education; (4) the intermediate and local school district is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the compulsory attendance law; (5) there are no minimum qualifications for teachers except that they must be the parents or legal guardians of the children; (6) the home school family must provide an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing and English grammar. http://www.mde.state.mi.us - Parents, Home Schools, “Information on Nonpublic and Home Schools”, Attachment B1.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, the parent of a child is primarily responsible for insuring that the child acquires knowledge and skills essential for effective citizenship. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 1. A parent is a parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a child. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 3. All children between the ages of seven and 16 must receive instruction. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 5. For the purposes of the compulsory attendance law, a school is a public school or a nonpublic school, church or religious organization, or a home school where the child is instructed according to the dictates of Minn. Stat. §§ 120A.22 and 120A.24. Instruction must be given in at least the following subject areas: (1) basic communication skills including reading, writing, literature and fine arts; (2) mathematics and science; (3) social studies including history, geography and government; and (4) health and physical education. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9. Instruction and materials must be in the English language. Id.

A home school instructor must meet at least one of the following requirements: (1) hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and the grade level taught; (2) be directly supervised by someone with a valid Minnesota teaching license; (3) successfully complete a teacher competency exam; (4) provide instruction in a school that is accredited by an agency recognized according to the dictates of Minn. Stat. § 123B.445, or recognized by the commissioner; (5) hold a bachelor's degree; or (6) be the parent of a child annually assessed for performance under the dictates of Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 11. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 10. Subdivision 11 provides that each year every child not enrolled in a public school must be performance tested against a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test. The district superintendent and the person in charge of the child's instruction must agree on the specific test to be used as well as the administration and location of the test. If the test does not assess all subject areas enumerated in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9, the parent must assess the child's performance in the applicable subject area(s); this requirement applies only to parents who do not meet the requirements of subdivision 10, clauses 1-3. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 11, clause (b). If the above mentioned tests indicate that the child's performance on the total battery score is at or below the 30th percentile or one grade level below the child's age, the parent is required to obtain additional evaluation of the child's abilities and performance in order to assess whether the child has learning problems. Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 11(c).

Minnesota statute § 120A.24 requires the person in charge of providing instruction to a child to submit the following information to the superintendent of the district in which the child resides: (1) the name, birth date and address of each child receiving instruction by October 1 of each school year; (2) the name of each instructor and evidence of compliance with one of the requirements specified in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd 10; (3) a yearly instruction calendar; and (4) for each child instructed by a parent who only meets the requirement of Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 10, clause (6), a quarterly report card on the achievement of the child in each subject area specified in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9. The person in charge of instructing the child must make available documentation indicating that the subjects required in Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9 are being taught, including class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction and descriptions of the methods used in assessing performance. Minn. Stat. § 120A.24, Subd. 2. A nonpublic school, person or other institution which is accredited by an agency recognized according to Minn. Stat. § 123B.445, or the commissioner, is exempt from the above listed requirements of Minn. Stat. § 120A.24, except for reporting the name, birth date and address of the student to the superintendent. Minn. Stat. § 120A.24.

Ohio

Ohio requires the parent, guardian or other person having charge or care of the child of compulsory school age to send the child to school or a special education program that conforms to the minimum standards prescribed by the state board of education for the full time of the session, which cannot be less than 32 weeks per school year. ORC § 3321.04. A child of compulsory school age is between the ages of 6 and 18, or a child under the age of 6 who has been enrolled in kindergarten, unless the child has been withdrawn from kindergarten after consultation with the child's teacher and principal. ORC § 3321.01(A).

A child may be excused from future attendance at or past absence from a school or special education program if the child is being instructed at home subject to certain conditions and the approval of the superintendent of the city or exempted village school district or the educational service center in which the child resides. ORC § 3321.04(A) and 3321.04(A)(2). Home instruction must be by a person qualified to teach in the branches of required instruction and any additional branches the needs of the child may warrant as determined by the superintendent. ORC § 3321.04(A)(2). In home school situations, the superintendent approving the excuse must file in his or her office, a copy of the excuse along with papers showing how the qualifications of the person providing the home instruction were determined. ORC § 3321.04(A)(2). The home school excuse becomes void upon the cessation of proper home instruction. Id.

Additionally, the parent or guardian of a home schooled child must supply certain information to the superintendent. OAC § 3301-34-03(A).

The parent must supply:

  1. the school year in which the notification (of intent to home educate) is made;

  2. the name and address of the parent;

  3. the name and address of the person(s) who will be teaching the child the subjects to be listed below;

  4. full name and birth date of the child to be home educated;

  5. assurance that the home education will include the following, excepting any concept, topic or practice that conflicts with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent: language, reading, spelling and writing; geography, history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state and local government; mathematics; science; health; physical education; fine arts, including music; and first aid, safety and fire protection;

  6. a brief outline of the intended curriculum for the current year;

  7. a list of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula and other basic materials the parent intends to utilize in the home education;

  8. assurance that the child will be given at least 900 hours of home education each school year;

  9. assurance that the home teacher has one of the following qualifications: a high school diploma or the certificate of high school equivalence or standardized test scores demonstrating high school equivalence or other equivalent credentials found appropriate by the superintendent, or, lacking any of these, the home teacher must work under the direction of a person with an undergraduate degree from a recognized college until the child's test results demonstrate reasonable proficiency or until the home teacher obtains a high school diploma or certificate of equivalence;

  10. a signed affirmation that the information supplied is correct.

Courts have upheld the requirement that a parent wishing to home school his or her child must apply to the superintendent for approval of the program. See State v. Schmidt, 29 Ohio St.3d 32, 505 N.E.2d 627 (1987). Additionally, it has been judicially determined that it is not sufficient that a parent maintain that the home education being provided is equivalent to that being provided in the public schools, if the parent applied to but did not obtain the approval of the superintendent and failed to appeal the denial to Juvenile Court. See Akron v. Lane, 65 Ohio App. 2d 90, 416 N.E.2d 642 (1979). On the other hand, superintendent approval is conclusive evidence of a home school's compliance with the minimum education requirements of Ohio. Memorandum from Regional Chief Counsel, Chicago, to Ass't Reg. Comm.-MOS, Chicago, Requirements For Home Schooling In Ohio To Be A School Under Section 202(d)(7) Of The Social Security Act, at 3 (March 1, 1991).

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the compulsory school attendance law generally requires the person having control of a child between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend either a public or private school “regularly”4 during the full period and hours, excepting religious holidays, that the school in which the child should be enrolled is in session, until the term in which the child turns 18. Wis. Stat. § 118.15(1)(a) (1999). A child engaged in a home-based program which meets all of the criteria under Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1), may substitute that instruction for public or private school attendance. Wis. Stat. § 118.15(4). The administrator of a home-based educational program must submit to the Department of Public Instruction by October 15, a statement of the enrollment of elementary and/or high school age students and a report indicating whether the program meets all of the criteria under Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1). Wis. Stat. § 115.30(3) (1999). It should be noted that the state defines a “home-based private educational program” as a program provided to a child by the child's parent or guardian, or by a person designated by the parent or guardian; if the program provides for more than one family unit, it is not a home-based private educational program. Wis. Stat. § 115.001(3g) (1999).

Wisconsin statute § 118.165(1) requires at least 875 hours of instruction each school year. Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1)(a)-(c). The institution must also provide a sequentially progressive curriculum of instruction in the fundamentals of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health. Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1)(d). The institution is not required to include in its curriculum any concept, topic or practice in conflict with its religious doctrines or to exclude any concept, topic or practice consistent with its religious doctrines. Id. Additionally, the institution must not be operating the educational program for the purposes of circumventing the compulsory school attendance law of the state. Wis. Stat. § 118.165(1)(e).

Wisconsin does not have statutory requirements regarding teacher qualification for home schools. However, it is important to remember that the state defines a home school on the basis of a single family unit.

CONCLUSION

These are the current requirements for home schooling in each of the six states in our region.

Thomas W. C~
Chief Counsel, Region V

By: _______________________
Elizabeth F~
Assistant Regional Counsel

C. PR 00-015 Qualifications For Home Schools Under The Laws In Region V

DATE: January 31, 2001

1. SYLLABUS

Illinois recognizes home schooling as a private school provided that:

  • The teacher is competent;

  • The required subjects are taught; and

  • The child receives an education at least equivalent to public schooling.

An education "equivalent to public schooling" must include instruction in courses taught in the public schools. Illinois requires 5 hours of school work per day in a school year of at least 176 days; this equals 880 hours per year.

A parent or home school instructor should submit evidence of:

  • The courses to be taught;

  • The length of instruction time, including hours per day and days per year;

  • The teacher's competency; and

  • A basis for comparison of the child's performance to that of public school children of corresponding age and grade level.

2. OPINION

You have requested information regarding the educational institution (EI) requirements for each state in the Chicago region. Section 202(d)(7)(c)(i) of the Social Security Act defines an elementary or secondary school as a school which provides elementary or secondary education, respectively, as determined under the law of the state in which it is located. This definition also appears in 20 C.F.R. § 404.367 which addresses the federal full-time attendance requirement for student benefits. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1) provides that a student is instructed in an elementary or secondary education at home if such education is provided in accordance with the home school laws of the state in which the student resides. The Program Operations Manual System (POMS) provides that a home schooled child is eligible for student benefits if the student meets the federal standards for full-time attendance 1/, the law of the state in which the home school is located recognizes a home school as an EI, and the home school attended by the student meets the requirements of the state laws in which the home school is located. POMS RS 00205.275(B). A home school instructor must submit evidence that the school meets the state requirements for home schools. POMS RS 00205.275(C). The following is a survey of the state law requirements for EIs and home schools in each of the states in the Chicago region.

Illinois

Illinois law requires whoever has custody or control of a child between the ages of 7 and 16 years to see that the child attends a public school in the district where the child resides. 105 ILCS § 5/26-1 (2000). A child attending a private or parochial school is exempted from this requirement, as long as the education includes instruction in the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools and the education is being given in the English language. 105 ILCS 5/26-1(1). "Private school" has been interpreted by the courts to include home schools "where the teacher is competent, the required subjects are taught, and the child receives and education at least equivalent to public schooling." People v. Harrell, 34 Ill. App. 2d 205, 208, 180 N.E.2d 889, 890 (1962), citing People v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E.2d 213 (1950). Parents and guardians who choose the home school option have the burden of showing that they have, in good faith, provided adequate instruction in the required branches of learning. Levisen, 34 Ill. at 578, 18 N.E.2d at 215-16.

An Attorney General's opinion regarding the right of parents to instruct their disabled child in the home issued in 1991, confirms the holdings in both Harrell and Levisen, and further cites People v. Berger, 109 Ill. App. 3d 1054 (1982) (upholding parents' conviction under 105 ILCS 5/26-10 because they took daughter out of school for alleged sickness but failed to provide instruction at home or a valid medical excuse), to support the proposal that "there must be an organized, coherent plan for educating the child in a home school using appropriate materials and teaching methods, in order to satisfy section 26-1 of the School Code." 1991 Ill. AG LEXIS 45, 1991 Op. Atty Gen. Ill. 92.

An education "equivalent to public schooling" must include instruction in the branches of education taught in the public schools. 105 ICLS 5/26-1(1); see Levisen, 404 Ill. at 578, 90 N.E.2d at 215. Courses requisite for a high school diploma are: (1) three years of language arts; (2) two years of mathematics, one of which may be related to computer technology; (3) one year of science; (4) two years of social studies, at least one of which must be history of the United States or a combination of U.S. history and American government; and (5) one year chosen from music, art, foreign language (which includes American Sign Language) or vocational education. 105 ICLS § 5/27-22. Additionally, Illinois requires five hours of school work per day (105 ILCS § 5/18-8.05(F)(1)) in a school year which includes at least 176 days of actual student attendance for a total of 880 hours per year. 105 ILCS §§ 5/10-19 and 5/18-8.05(F)(1). A parent or guardian home schooling his or her child should be prepared to present information regarding the courses to be taught with a specific emphasis on the branches of learning taught in the public schools, the length of time instruction is offered, including days per year and hours per day, the competency of the teacher and a basis upon which the child's performance will be compared to public school children of corresponding age and grade level. See Levisen, 404 Ill. at 577, 90 N.E.2d at 215; Harrel, 34 Ill. at 208, 180 N.E.2d at 890-91.

1/ On the basis of their ages, some students applying for benefits will be exempt from their state's compulsory attendance laws; however, federal law still requires at least 20 hours per week of scheduled attendance (with some exceptions) for benefits. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c). Whether a home school qualifies as an EI for student benefit purposes depends on the school's compliance with state law. Generally, all the states in Region V require a full-time program for home schools to satisfy state standards; therefore, it is necessary to discuss the various compulsory education laws regardless of the age of the claimant.

2/ All state statutory and administrative code references are from 2000 (LEXIS) unless otherwise indicated.

3/ Illinois law requires the teaching of numerous other subjects in the public schools, including consumer education, conservation of natural resources, physical education and career education. 105 ILCS 5/27-12.1, 5/27-13.1, 5/27-5 to 7, 23 Ill. Adm. Code § 1.420. It does not appear that the state requires home schools to adhere to course requirements other than the core subjects listed above.


Footnotes:

[1]

On the basis of their ages, some students applying for benefits will be exempt from their state's compulsory attendance laws; however, federal law still requires at least 20 hours per week of scheduled attendance (with some exceptions) for benefits. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c). Whether a home school qualifies as an EI for student benefit purposes depends on the school's compliance with state law. Generally, all the states in Region V require a full-time program for home schools to satisfy state standards; therefore, it is necessary to discuss the various compulsory education laws regardless of the age of the claimant.

[2]

All state statutory and administrative code references are from 2000 (LEXIS) unless otherwise indicated.

[3]

Illinois law requires the teaching of numerous other subjects in the public schools, including consumer education, conservation of natural resources, physical education and career education. 105 ILCS 5/27-12.1, 5/27-13.1, 5/27-5 to 7, 23 Ill. Adm. Code § 1.420. It does not appear that the state requires home schools to adhere to course requirements other than the core subjects listed above.

[4]

“Regularly” means constantly and uniformly. State v. White, 180 Wis. 2d 203, 215, 509 N.W.2d 434, 438 (Wis. App. 1993).


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1508005016
PR 08005.016 - Illinois - 04/22/2008
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:04/22/2008