The Colorado Homeschool Law “In A Nutshell”
Before you begin homeschooling in Colorado, the first thing you have to do is read our Home School Law CRS 22-33-104. Knowing the rules is not only mandatory, it’s the best protection you have. If you don’t know what our law requires or prohibits, you may unintentionally do something that gets you and yours in hot water. We don’t want that.
Colorado’s Homeschool Law Turns Twenty: The Battle Should Never Be Forgotten
Written in 2008, (our law turned 30 in 2018), this retrospective is a condensed timeline of what an uphill battle it was to get a homeschool law passed. Parents were laughed at, threatened, harassed, taken to court, had their phones tapped. It wasn’t easy. Don’t ever take it for granted. And keep a close eye on your elected representatives. Every year there are always a few who want to add restrictions, water it down, or outright kill it.
I realize the wording of the homeschool statute is vague. It was written that way on purpose. The open-ended verbiage was meant to give us as much educational freedom as possible. If it listed a bunch of dos-and-don’ts, it would limit us as to which curriculum we could use, how we could teach subjects, which tests were sanctioned, etc., etc. It’s better this way. Unfortunately, this same wonderful vagueness also causes a lot of confusion and “how do I” and “when do I” and “but what if” questions. If that weren’t enough, it is a law, composed mostly by politicians, chock-full of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. Right up there with stereo instructions written in Sanskrit.
That’s what I’m here for — to explain the legalese in layman’s terms we everyday Joes can understand.
Please remember I’m not a lawyer, but I was trained to understand and explain Colorado’s home school law by the best: the home school parents, lawyers and former Governor Bill Owens who co-authored the wording and fought long and hard to get it passed.
Homeschooling is an “exception” to Colorado’s Compulsory School Statute (the legal requirements for public schooled students). Meaning we have our own rules that have nothing to do with public (or private) schools. We are a completely separate entity.
What Questions Does The Nutshell Answer?
— What are the two legal homeschooling options?
— Which Colorado law are we exempt from, and which law do we have to comply with?
— What ages does the law apply to?
— Where do I send my NOI?
— What information am I required to include?
— Do I need to file a new NOI every year?
— I just moved to Colorado. How soon do I have to file?
— I just pulled my 5-year-old out of school. She’s not ‘compulsory school age’. Do I still have to file an NOI?
— Do I have to fill out the school district’s form?
— Does my homeschool year begin and end at the same time as the public school?
— Can my child take outside classes?
— Can someone else homeschool my children for me?
— What’s an ‘umbrella school’? How do they work? Why are they called ‘umbrellas’ anyway?
— What subjects do I have to teach?
— At what grade level do I have to teach each subject? How many hours do I need to log? What materials am I allowed to use?
— When does my child graduate?
— How does my child get a high school diploma?
— Am I allowed to issue a diploma myself?
— Where do I get an achievement test? Can I administer it myself?
— What’s an “evaluation”? Is it preferable to testing? What happens during one?
— My child’s been suspended from public school. Can we still homeschool?
— My child’s been declared “officially truant”. Can we still homeschool?
— Can my child take sports, sing in the choir, play in the band, attend the prom at a public school?
Best of all, it’s AD FREE!
… unlike web pages.
The Law in a Nutshell is a pdf “ebook”. You can read it and save it, but not print it. It’s meant to be downloaded to your computer and read like any other pdf file/ebook. It’s formatted this way because of previous digital piracy and plagiarism headaches. Shortly after your payment is received, you’ll receive an email with a receipt and instructions how to download The Nutshell to your device. Remember to check your spam folder! Technology does have its glitches. If you encounter any problems, contact Cindy. I’ll fix ‘er. 🙂