Homeschooling IN Colorado
Colorado is an incredible place to homeschool. As a homeschool graduate and native Coloradan, I have vivid memories of the countless opportunities for growth, community, and learning that Colorado’s homeschool community offers. I was certainly never lonely, and if anything, it was challenging to determine how to best invest my time. Whether it was history class with a local pastor, P.E. at the park with other homeschool families, or the annual CHEC conference, the community and resources that Colorado’s network offered shaped who I am today. I’m convinced there’s no better way to grow up.
Whether you’re considering homeschooling in Colorado or well into the trenches of your journey, let me offer a word of encouragement: You are not alone. There exists an expansive and tight-knit community of homeschoolers in Colorado who will be there for you. This article will offer an overview of what homeschooling in Colorado entails: how the law works as well as where you can go to find the resources you need to succeed.
Colorado Homeschool Law
Home-Based Education Law (NOI)
There are three options for homeschool families under Colorado law. First of all, the Colorado homeschool law, “the home-based education law,” requires you to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) annually (and if it’s your first time, at least 14 days prior to beginning school). Under this option, compulsory attendance requires that you file once your student turns 6 (by August 1) until they turn 16. You can view a sample Notice of Intent here.
There are three basic recording-keeping requirements under the home-based education law. You must keep immunization records, attendance data, and assessment (test or evaluation results) on file. Your educational program should include at least 172 days a year with an average of 4 hours a day. Finally, students must be assessed (either by standardized testing or a professional evaluation) at ages 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
In addition, a certain set of subjects are required to be covered in the academic program. These include communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics (click for a link to a Colorado-based homeschool Civics curriculum), literature, science, and regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States. However, your specific curriculum choice is up to you!
Non-Public School Law
The second option for homeschooling in Colorado is to enroll in an “umbrella” independent school that operates under the non-public school law. Once enrolled, you do not need to submit a Notice of Intent, and instead follow the policies of the school. There are many different Independent School options around the state; one is the CHEC Independent School.
Colorado Teacher’s License
Finally, if you possess a current Colorado teacher’s license, there are no requirements for homeschooling and no need to submit a Notice of Intent. However, we do recommend you keep records for your own benefit.
How to find community in Colorado
Colorado is incredibly blessed to have a state homeschool organization dedicated to helping families disciple their children, Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). Since 1990, CHEC has served homeschoolers in Colorado through conferences, seminars, resources, legal work, and more.
Each June, CHEC hosts the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference, bringing in over 5,500 registered attendees last year as well as speakers and curriculum providers from across the nation. My family has attended the conference for over 20 years, and it has been a pivotal source of vision and encouragement in my parents’ homeschool journey. CHEC is passionate about not only equipping families to homeschool with excellence but also helping them reach the hearts of their children for Christ.
In addition, CHEC keeps watch over legislative issues relating to homeschool freedom, parental rights, and religious liberty at the state capitol through the efforts of our legislative liaison and the Homeschool Freedom Team. We also provide numerous events throughout the year, including Intro Seminars, the High School and Beyond Seminar, Refresh Ladies’ Day, the Father Son Retreat, the Homeschool Spelling Bee, Homeschool Graduation Ceremonies, and even the internationally-reaching HomeschoolSummits.com.
Getting Plugged In
In addition to the many resources CHEC provides, here are some ideas to get plugged into the homeschool community in Colorado:
- Find a local homeschool group that can provide you with ongoing fellowship, friendship, and encouragement. You can find a directory of groups here.
- If you’re looking for homeschool-friendly field trips, discounts for homeschoolers, free days at zoos, museums, and more, check out the CHEC Community Calendar.
I was speaking the other day with a young mom just beginning her homeschool journey. With the vast amount of curriculum, co-ops, online webinars, and extracurriculars out there, I could see in her eyes that the prospect of parenting, educating, and providing for three children and another on the way was a daunting one. Following the Lord into the homeschool journey is not for the faint of heart, and I am daily blessed by these parents’ courage.
And yet, looking back on my own K-12 homeschool education, it was not the curriculum choices, the co-ops, or the extracurricular classes that made the difference. Sometimes, there were years when we did pick the wrong curriculum. But ultimately, that didn’t matter. What mattered was the fact that my parents had the heart to disciple us day in and day out, pointing us to Christ as they demonstrated love for God in everyday life.
That’s why the community in Colorado is here. Yes, we desire to help you find the right curricula and homeschool groups and equip you to keep records and schedules in order to homeschool well. But in the end, it’s reaching into the hearts of your children that counts. Having a community with that same heart makes all the difference. We can’t wait to have you join us!