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Home School in Colorado
Interested in starting a home school program?
Learn more about important considerations during COVID, how to get started with home school and other resources to help you on the way.
Some families are considering homeschooling their children in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Colorado law, in order to home school, a notification of intent to home school must be provided to a school district office (not CDE) and meet other meet other requirements. Guidance on the notice and other applicable requirements is included below.
During times of suspended in-person instruction either due to Governor Executive Orders or local health orders, we received questions related to home school gatherings and assessments. As conditions may be different in local communities in the year ahead, we would like to offer the following guidance:
- When a home school considers participating in larger gatherings, it is reasonable to interpret these types of activities as falling under any state or local health order related to public gatherings.
- The requirement that children in home-based education be evaluated in grades 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 (22-33-104.5(3)(f), C.R.S.) is different from the state's obligation to administer assessments to public school students under 22-7-1006.3. As a result, any decisions made related to the administration of state assessments such as CMAS or SAT would not apply to the home school evaluation requirements. If parents or adult relatives running a nonpublic home-based education program can meet the requirements of 22-33-104.5(3)(f) without violating state or local health orders related to public gatherings, they should. For more information about this requirement, please reach out to the school district that the notification of intent to home school was submitted to.
Letter of Intent to Home School
Pursuant to Colorado law, parents who wish to begin home schooling must provide written notification of the establishment of the home school program 14 days before beginning the home school program to a Colorado school district. The written notification must include the name, age, place of residence, and number of attendance hours for each child that will be participating in the home school program. Written notification must be re-submitted to a Colorado school district each year.
Subjects to Teach
Colorado law states that home school programs must include, but are not limited to, the subjects of communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and regular courses of instruction in the Constitution of the United States. The selection of curriculum is at the discretion of the parent who is overseeing the home schooling program. The state cannot offer any guidance in this area, and encourages contacting the district that received the written notification if there are further questions.
Home school programs must have no less than 172 days of instruction, averaging 4 contact hours per day.
Records for each child participating in a home school program must be kept on a permanent basis by the parent who is overseeing the home school program. The records must include, but are not limited to, attendance, test and evaluation results, and immunization records as required by C.R.S sections 25-4-901, 25-4-902, and 25-4-903. The records shall be produced and provided to the school district that received the written notification, not the state of Colorado, at the school district's request. School districts cannot request records without probable cause and must give fourteen days written notice. CRS 22-33-104.5 (3)(g): “Such records shall be produced to the school district that received the notification required by paragraph (e) of this subsection (3) upon fourteen days' written notice if the superintendent of said school district has probable cause to believe that said program is not in compliance with the guidelines established in this subsection (3).”
Students that are participating in a home school program must have academic progress evaluated in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Students can take a nationally standardized achievement test or a qualified person, as described in C.R.S. 22-33-104.5(3)(f), can be selected by the parent to evaluate the student’s academic progress. The results of the evaluation, whether by assessment or qualified person, shall be submitted to the applicable entity as specified by 22-33-104.5 (3)(f), C.R.S. The state cannot provide guidance regarding assessments or evaluation. Please contact your local school district for resources or specific deadlines for submitting evaluation results.
- According to CRS 22-33-104.5 (3)(f), test or evaluation results “shall be submitted to the school district that received the notification required by paragraph (e) of this subsection (3) or an independent or parochial school within the state of Colorado.”
- The law does not specify specific deadlines but leaves the determination of when a child reaches a grade up to the parents.
Other Things to Know About Home School
Home school is considered nonpublic and is not regulated by the state of Colorado. The parent who oversees the home school program is taking on the responsibility of obtaining books, supplies, tests, and is responsible for any costs associated. Because home schooling is considered nonpublic education, home school is not accredited by the Colorado Department of Education or by a local school district.
The links below include a copy of Colorado Home School Law, how to get started home schooling your child, and a resources link to home school organizations that provide information on networking, support groups, curricula, and testing.
Additional questions or concerns?