Colorado Homeschool Law In A Nutshell

The Colorado Homeschool Law “In A Nutshell”

NutshellBefore you begin homeschooling in Colorado, the first thing you have to do is read our Home School Law CRS 22-33-104. Knowing the law is not only mandatory, it’s the best protection you have. If you don’t know what our statute requires or prohibits, you may unintentionally get yourself in hot water.

Colorado’s Homeschool Law Turns Twenty: The Battle Should Never Be Forgotten
This retrospective, reprinted in 2018 when our law turned 30, is a condensed timeline of what an uphill battle it was to get a homeschool law passed. Parents were laughed at, dismissed, threatened, harassed, taken to court, had their phones tapped. Can you imagine? Colorado’s homeschool law may seem like no big deal to you now, but 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/rules/tests/parental requirements for being allowed to teach their own, or plain ol’ get rid of it. Think Roe v Wade. We thought that was settled law. Little did we know.

The wording of our homeschool statute is vague. It was written that way on purpose. It’s meant to give us as much educational freedom as possible. If it listed a bunch of concrete dos-and-don’ts, it would mandate how we had to teach a subject, when we had to teach it, how long we needed to teach it, which curriculum was acceptable, which was not acceptable, etc. Who wants that? My child prefers to learn this way, your child does better learning another way, your bestie’s kid excels a 3rd way, and the guy down the road finds a 4th way fits him, the family’s lifestyle and his kids’ needs. GREAT, right? Freedom! This wonderful vagueness, unfortunatley, causes confusion for parents on “how do I” and “when do I” and “but what if” questions. And let’s face it, our statute is a law. Full of dense, windy, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. Right up there with smartphone instructions in Sanskrit.

I’m here to explain the vagueness and the legalese in layman’s terms we everyday Joes can understand.

Please remember I am not a lawyer. I was trained to understand and explain Colorado’s home school law by those who authored it: the fed-up homeschooling parents who launched a grassroots movement, attorneys who supported them, and the brave former Senator Joe Winkler, Representative (later Governor) Bill Owens, former Senator Al Meiklejohn, Representative Dick Bond and Governor Roy Romer who co-authored the wording and fought long and hard to get Senate Bill 56 passed, and CHEA (Colorado Home Educators’ Association, the first and original statewide CO homeschool organization). We owe them a great debt

Homeschooling is an “exception” to Colorado’s Compulsory School Statute (the legal requirements for public schooled students). Homeschoolers have our own rules that have nothing to do with public (or private, charter, magnet or online) schools. Our home school law is entirely different from theirs.

What Questions Does The Nutshell Answer?

— There are only two legal homeschooling options? I thought there were hundreds.
— What ages does homeschooling begin and end?
— What month do I need to file the Notice of Intent (NOI)?
— Who do I send it to?
— What information am I required to include?
— What details do I NOT have to give them?

I was totally overwhelmed with all of this, but I know it is the right thing to do. Your Law Explanation answered everything! It’s fantastic!
K. Kurst, Northglenn Colorado

— Do I need to file a new NOI every year?
— I just moved to Colorado. Can I wait to file?
— I just pulled my 5yo out of school. She’s not ‘compulsory school age’. I don’t have to file an NOI … right?
— Does my homeschool year have to begin and end at the same time as the public school’s year?

Magnetic STEM Building Blocks
Encourage STEM learning and creativity with play!

— Where do I get the Notice of Intent (NOI) form?
— Do I have to fill out my school district’s NOI?
— Can my child take outside classes?
— Can someone else homeschool my children for me?
— What’s an ‘umbrella school’? Is it a real school?

THANK YOU for this glorious break down!!! I’ve been searching everywhere for this information!
Sarah, Denver, Colorado

— What records do I need to keep?
— What subjects do I have to teach?
— At what grade level do I have to teach each subject? What materials am I allowed to use?
— How do I grade my child’s work? How do I figure out what constitutes an A, or a B, or a C?

Thank you so very much for this [very detailed] nutshell!! I very much admire your writing style – you’re funny. πŸ˜€ Β 
Justina in Iowa

— 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 the accredited curriculum like the public schools use?
— Where do I get an achievement test? Can I administer it myself?
— What’s an “evaluation”? Is it preferable to testing?

I am so grateful for the info you provide in the Nutshell. I will sleep better tonight! Thank you and God Bless You and your family!
Tami in Michigan

— My child’s been suspended from public school. Can we still homeschool?
— My child is “officially truant”. Can we still homeschool?
— Can my child take sports, join the choir, play band, attend the prom at a public school?

The Law in a Nutshell is an ebook in .pdf format. You can save it, read it, keep it forever, but you can’t print it. It’s due to previous digital piracy and plagiarism.

Shortly after your payment is received, you’ll receive an email with a receipt and instructions how to download it. CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER! Technology does have its glitches. If you encounter any problems, contact Cindy. I’ll fix ‘er. πŸ™‚

Best of all, it’s AD FREE!

… unlike web pages.


The Colorado Homeschool Law In A Nutshell
The Colorado Homeschool Law In A Nutshell
Everything you ever wanted to know about Colorado's homeschooling law
... in plain English.

More comments from parents . . .

Colorado Homeschool Law in a Nutshell was such a relief to read through and finally understand what was going on in just a few minutes. Before reading I was pretty confused, not at the overall idea, but at some of the important details. After reading I paid Cindy for a few minutes of her time as well; the money spent on the e-book and time I can honestly say is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’m so happy & relaxed about home-school now, the book was amazing and she made perfect recommendations. We only found it a few days ago and we’re 100% taken care of now, thank you Cindy!
Micah and Teresa in Colorado
We are a homeschooling family relocating to CO from AZ. Your website is a wealth of information! Esp the Law in a Nutshell! I crack up at the way you write. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to hear what you’ll say on the phone during our consultation tomorrow! Β 
Bright Blessings! Leslie in Arizona
I’m so glad I purchased your e-book! I’m an over-researcher by nature and even though I went to the CO Dept. of Education website, it left me with a lot of questions. Their extra β€œfluff” was just confusing. All I really wanted was for someone to explain exactly what I need to know in the most obvious, simple terms. And that’s what I loved about your Colorado Homeschool Law in a Nutshell. It was clear and concise, and answered everything!
Becca in southern Colorado


Colorado Homeschool Law In A Nutshell — 33 Comments

  1. Pingback: Homeschool Special Education Rights by State | A2Z Homeschooling

  2. Pingback: Latest News – January 25 – Leadville Today

  3. Very interested in your book. I have one question though before I purchase it. If I home school my child through elementary and decide to allow them to go back to public school for middle and high-school. The district can deny us even if my child test proficiently?

    • Yes. Typically it’s because you’re not using their chosen curriculum (usually Common Core). Even if you did use CC teaching materials, you may not be using the exact version your district likes. And next year, or the year after, they could change their minds on what they deem ‘acceptable’. It’s a scare tactic, designed to keep you chasing your tail. Don’t buy into it.

      Cindy Englan Wentz

  4. We are n the middle of my son’s grade school year. We are submitting our NOI to start homeschooling him. Do I have to fill out withdraw forms from his current school, or is the NOI all that is needed? I’m also wondering, because he is mostly through 9th grade, do I still need to send in test/evaluation for this year?

    • All you need to fill out is the NOI and file it with the school district. And since you’re homeschooling him for just shy of 1/2 the school year, he would have to be tested or evaluated, as if you’d homeschooled him the entire year.


  5. Pingback: Colorado Homeschooling Laws - Legal Home School in CO | A2Z Homeschooling

  6. Just a note, from my current understanding … when you get down to it , Colorado Homeschooling in a Nutshell is … you are at the mercy of the School District and regardless of the “law” or “logic” they can decide that they do NOT want to accept that your child has completed her/his schooling and DENY them a Diploma or acknowledgement of completion …
    I believe the law states that it is the discretion of the school district?!?

    • Hey Ed,

      You’re mixing apples and oranges. If you homeschool your child, you issue them their diploma. When you sign that Notice of Intent to Homeschool, you’re saying YOU’RE legally in charge of the child’s education. Ergo, you’re also in charge of their completion date and issuing a diploma. You can’t suddenly turn around and ask a public school to issue your kid a diploma. The schools have their own curriculum, their own requirements and they issue their diplomas based on that. Your kid hasn’t been in their program for K-12. How would the school verify what the child has or hasn’t learned?

      Even if you just homeschooled your kiddo for one year, let’s say 2nd grade, there is no guarantee that when you go to put your child back into public school in 3rd grade, that the school will accept what you taught them in 2nd grade. Quite often they flatly refuse. Public schools want to discourage you from homeschooling and this is one way to scare you out of it. It’s all about the money. Your child leaves, the school loses matching federal funds. Your child returns, and that child is punished for leaving. It’s not about a good education or even what’s best for the child. It’s about control, manipulation and bottom-line dollars.

  7. Does this file expire after you purchase it? I bought it, downloaded it to my PC and now it is just gone…. I haven’t deleted anything recently, so I don’t think I did that (I HOPE!!!) I thought it was permanent after you download it from the E-mail… Pleas can anybody HELP?

    • Replying to myself here. I have even run a special recovery software to retrieve the file. It’s like it was never even there. This is making me crazy. I can’t be spending $5.50 every couple of months to get this. I NEED this information! It was so helpful, in fact it is one of the reasons I even felt I could do this on my own.

  8. My 6 yr old son is currently enrolled in Kindergarten with an IEP. He’s not doing well with this format and I’m considering homeschooling him. Can homeschoolers receive speech therapy services? Do I need to fill out the NOI?

    • Hello CJ,

      IEPs are part of the public school system. Meaning any of the related services (i.e. speech therapy) would only be available to a homeschooled child if the school district agrees to provide it. Typically, the district would require the child be enrolled with them PT, so they can receive matching federal funds. If you wish to revoke his IEP and homeschool him, you can, but you’d have to fill out both the NOI and write a letter, saying you’re removing him from their IEP.

      Personally, I’d skip the NOI and enroll him in West River Academy, an umbrella school for homeschoolers. It’s accredited, your public school/district won’t fuss at you/threaten you so much, and you’ll have fabulous help from Peggy and Karen in dealing with the IEP aspects.

  9. Hello Cindy,

    We have an interesting situation and I am looking for suggestions on how to proceed, if indeed there is a way to go forward. Here is the situation:
    My wife’s little brother is being home schooled in Pueblo. The family has been in Colorado for a year, however,they have bounced from Florida, to N. Carolina to Indiana and the boy has been home schooled in each state. However, the boy has never been to a school, never has been tested for proficiency, is not allowed any friends, does not have any socialization, is not allowed to talk to us on the phone, is not allowed to make phone calls, has never been to a party, has no one his own age to relate to. I am positive they did not file a NOI in any state, nor comply with any educational requirement and when confronted..they move.
    Since the boy is now 17…is there anything that can be done to determine if his educational level will get him a GED? Do you have any suggestions of whom I may contact for assistance? The parents will not respond to email, nor postal letters, nor phone calls.

    Joseph Cohee

    • Hi Joseph,

      Sorry for the delay; WordPress didn’t notify me that there was a new comment waiting. As far as your young brother-in-law goes, once he’s 17, the state of Colorado no longer has jurisdiction over his education. If you’d have inquired when he was under 16, then they could have investigated.

      I’m curious: If you’re not allowed to speak to this young man, how do you know he’s never been tested, never been to a party, isn’t allowed social interaction, etc.?

  10. Just bought and read the “nutshell” book…soooo helpful! I will be scheduling a phone consult soon regarding my 7th grader.

    One question I still have after reading is, if I purchase and use a program such as Penn Foster high school for my going-into-9th child, do I still need to file an NOI?

    Thanks for all the wonderful information!

    • Hi Dawn! I’m glad you found the Nutshell helpful. πŸ™‚

      As to using Penn Foster, yes, you’ll still need to file an NOI. The school is located in PA, not CO and therefore does not qualify as an “umbrella school” under our homeschool law. A private school must have a physical presence in our state in order to take advantage of the umbrella school option.

      Why Penn Foster? Have you used them before? I’m just wondering because yeegads, they’re expensive. And if you have no prior experience with them to justify spending all that money, I wouldn’t. Especially not your first year of homeschooling, when everything is so new and unknown. I homeschooled my two right into college on $100 each, per year. Some years we didn’t even spend that much.

      • Thank you so much for your reply!

        Several of our friends have done/are going to start Penn…all have really liked it. This being my first year with a 7th and 9th grader, I liked that for one of them, the curriculum and some structure is already there for me, that it is “accredited”…(both of more importance to husband who has concerns). I’m such a newbie, a little scared, and honestly it’s a bit overwhelming the amount of information and options out there, it seems it is worth the expense to have at least one kid taken care of in that way. But I am definitely open to other options!

        What actually started us down this road is the fact we are looking to move to Puerto Rico,possibly within the next few months, where we would be homeschooling all 3 of our kids…(I have a first grader as well), so we figured it was a good idea to go ahead and start them now to get into the swing of things, and have one less “change” once we move:)

  11. This is a wonderful resource! It answers all of my questions clearly, cutting through all of the gobbledegook that I found every place else I’ve looked.

  12. You have eliminated my panic and replaced it with excitement and a curiosity to learn more! I’ve learned so much with your clear and blunt representation of the base of the law – and in addition, learned what REAL homeschooling is (and is not) along with finding out along the way about unschooling – who knew!! I think it may just be what my son has been indirectly asking for all along! THANK YOU

  13. Pingback: Colorado Educational Resources | homescooluniversity

  14. Pingback: So You’re Thinking of Homeschooling? | Palmer Divide Preparatory School

  15. Pingback: Homeschooling in Fort Collins | Fort Collins Tutoring

  16. Pingback: I don't get it.... compulsory attendance changes | Corn and OilCorn and Oil

  17. Pingback: Colorado Homeschooling – A2Z Homeschool | Homeschooling A to Z

  18. Pingback: Colorado Support Groups- Home Education Magazine – HEM | Homeschooling Support Groups

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Geographica  –  What City Do You See?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.