Transferring Children From Public School to Homeschool

(This article is not intended to be, and does not constitute, the giving of legal advice)

When parents choose to withdraw their children from public school there are certain procedures that need to be followed. If the procedures below are not followed the school will most likely assume the child is truant.

  1. Step 1: Read and understand those Illinois laws that apply to homeschools!
  2. Step 2: Write a letter to transfer your student out of the public school and into your own private (home) school. (See our sample letter of withdrawal) Print at least two copies, one for the public school's permanent records and one for your permanent records.
  3. Step 3: Deliver the letter to your child’s school in one of these three ways:
    • Go to the Post office and mail the letter “return receipt requested” OR
    • Fax the letter OR
    • Hand carry both copies of the letter to the school and ask the secretary or principal of the school to sign and date your copy of the letter acknowledging receipt of the letter.

    If you mailed or faxed your letter, be sure to staple the receipt to your copy for your records. This receipt proves the school received the letter. Schools occasionally lose paperwork, as we all do, and this way you can prove your official transfer if there is any confusion.

    It must be noted that verbally telling a teacher/school principal/school secretary of your intentions to homeschool is frequently not seen as officially withdrawing your child from school. If the school does not receive written notification from you, you run the risk of not being seen as “withdrawn” and the truancy officer may come to your door.

    We do not advise emailing this letter as there is no receipt that the letter was actually received.

  4. Step 4: On your school letterhead, request a “certified copy” of your child's records and mail it to your child's school “return receipt requested” as above. (See our sample of this letter) Again, staple the receipt to your copy of the letter. This action proves the successful transfer of your child.

    If you do not want your child's records you can wait to send the letter of successful transfer until July 31st of that year, but we advise you to do it as soon as possible so you don't forget. (See our sample letter of successful transfer without a request for records here)

    Note 1: You only need to send one version of this letter, not both.

    Note 2: It is not uncommon for public school officials to refuse to send the records requested by a private homeschool. Technically, the public school has no right to withhold a child's records from a legally existing private school. However, this is such a minor point that you may wish, in the event of such a refusal, to let the matter drop, especially if your child is of elementary school age.

What if you have already withdrawn your child from public school and DID NOT use the above procedure?

You may fit into one of the following situations:

  • If you withdrew your child in the spring and plan to resume schooling at home in the fall, the above formal withdrawal procedure can certainly be completed over the summer.
  • If your child's withdrawal occurred during the school year, you may wish to wait until contacted by your local public school officials. If you receive some belated contact about your child's withdrawal, including a truancy notice, it is a simple matter to explain your lack of experience with this legal detail. You can offer to supply the necessary correspondence for the public school official's file. We recommend replying in writing right away and not waiting and hoping they will go away. Generally, they will not.

If You Are Contacted By the School:

After all the steps are completed, you still may be contacted by the schools in writing, by phone, or in person at your home.

If officials phone you, politely ask them to put their questions to you in writing so that you can respond in writing. Explain that by doing so both parties will have a written record of the questions and answers. This will also give you plenty of time to research your best response or to contact a support group leader for advice.

If a truant officer or a police officer comes to your door, it is very important that you assert your 4th amendment rights and do not let them in unless they have a signed search warrant! Read our truancy page.

If they contact you in writing, they will probably send you forms to fill out. These forms have been called various things over the years: “Statement of Assurance”, “Home School Registration Form”, “Nonpublic School Registration, Enrollment, and Staff Report”.

These forms are all voluntary. We do not recommend that you fill them out.

Arguments against registering as a homeschool can be read here. We have more details on the Home School Registration Form here.

Writing a Letter:

Be sure to write an error free professional letter on your school letterhead or contact your curriculum provider if you have been so instructed. If you do not have letterhead for your school, then an error free letter, neatly typed on plain paper will suffice. You must keep copies of all correspondence on file.

Transferring Children From a Private School to Private Homeschool:

Illinois law requires no action on the part of parents when withdrawing their children from a private or parochial school. However, once again, common sense dictates that some written notification be given to the private school, if only to state that the child will be attending a different private school. Many private schools routinely notify public schools if notice of enrollment elsewhere is not received. It is definitely in your interest for that not to occur.

The legislation on which these recommendations are based can be read at:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09600SB3681ham001&GA=96&SessionId=76&DocTypeId=SB&LegID=51869&DocNum=3681&GAID=10&Session