Colorado homeschool law provides three different ways to home educate your children. Consider which one works best for your family, then get started following the simple steps on this page.
Here’s a quick run-down of all three Colorado homeschooling options:
- Under the Colorado Homeschool Law, you can file a Notice of Intent with a Colorado school district 14 days prior to beginning. (Click here to jump down this page and read more.)
- Under the Colorado Non-Public School Law, you can enroll with a Colorado-based independent school (as an “umbrella” school) and follow that school’s requirements. (Click here to jump down this page and read more.) We think this is such a great idea, we started our own! Click here to learn more about the security, privacy, and all-access benefits that come with enrollment in the CHEC Independent School.
- Obtain a current Colorado teaching license. (No reporting or testing requirements exist for a parent holding a current Colorado teaching license [according to CRS 22-33-104 (2)(b)(i)(I)].)
So which option should you choose? Check out the simple at-a-glance table we’ve created below to see how the Colorado homeschool law compares to the independent school option.
Legal Summary of Colorado Homeschool Law Options
|1. Homeschool Law (Notice of Intent)||2. Non-Public School Law (Independent School)|
|Basic info:||1. File a Notice of Intent with a Colorado school district 14 days prior to beginning.|
2. Follow the Homeschool Law requirements.
(Known as Non-Public Home-Based Education)
|1. Enroll in a Colorado-based Independent School
2. Follow that Independent School’s policies
Please Note: Each Independent School has its own policies. All policies listed here are those of the CHEC Independent School. Learn more about independent schools in general by scrolling down on this page.
|How to begin:||File a Notice of Intent (NOI) annually with the school district.||Enroll with the CHEC Independent School.|
|Deadline:||Families must submit an NOI at least 14 days prior to beginning homeschool program.||Enrollment is open from June through April 30th for each school year. Families may enroll anytime, and there is not a summer deadline for enrollment. However, to comply with the compulsory education law, we recommend applying for enrollment by August for the full school year. (If you apply after September, you will be considered a transfer/partial year enrollment.)|
|Policies:||Abide by the requirements of the Homeschool Law.||Abide by the policies of the CHEC Independent School. (You are NOT subject to the requirements of Homeschool Law.)|
View full information: Homeschool Law (scroll down), CHEC Independent School, Non-Public School Law (scroll down).
|Teacher requirements:||Parent, guardian, or adult relative is responsible to provide the teaching.||The CHEC Independent School requires a parent, legal guardian, or adult relative to provide at least 50% of their student’s education. Exceptions require Director approval. See policies for more information.|
|Compulsory attendance ages:||Students age 6 by August 1st (until they turn 16) must file a NOI annually. Note: under Homeschool Law, although you must file an NOI at age 6, teaching is not required until age 7.||Students age 6 by August 1st (until they turn 17) must be enrolled in the CHEC Independent School and follow its policies.|
|Attendance:||Student must be educated for 172 days (average of 4 hours a day).||Student must be educated for 172 days. No average requirement.|
|Record keeping:||Must be maintained permanently by the parent. Should include at least attendance date, test & evaluation results, and immunization records.||An attendance record must be maintained by the parent and submitted to the CHEC Independent School by August 31st. Records of subjects taught and curriculum used must be maintained by the parent. The CHEC Independent School does not require immunization records.|
|Assessment (testing/evaluation):||Student must be evaluated (via a test or by a qualified person) at 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th grades. Test composite score must be above the 13th percentile. Evaluation must show sufficient academic progress according to their ability.||Student must be tested, evaluated, or parent-evaluated in odd calendar years while in the age range/grades 3-11. (See school policies for information on grade modifications and acceptable assessments.)|
|Submission of assessment (testing/evaluation) results:||Results must be submitted to the school district (where the NOI was submitted) OR to an independent or parochial school.||Results must be submitted to the CHEC Independent School.|
|Subjects:||Subjects must include (in the course of the homeschool program, but not necessarily every year) at least:|
Communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking
|Subjects must include at least:
Communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking
Honor and use of the flag
|Curriculum:||Specific curriculum not required.||Specific curriculum not required.|
|Grade level assignment or changes:||Not required to submit a grade level with an NOI.||Grade assigned based on birthdate but can be modified by the parent. If grade changes during the year, inform the CHEC Independent School.|
|High School graduation:||
Colorado does not have homeschool graduation requirements. Each high school (and therefore family) sets its own requirements based on post-high school plans (including college requirements). Learn more on our high school resources page.
|Participation in sports/extracurricular:||Students have the right to participate in any extracurricular or interscholastic activities in the same school district the NOI was submitted OR a private school (subject to the private school’s discretion).||Varies on grade of student and local school district policies. (See full CHEC Independent School policies.)|
|Part-time public school programs:||Students may attend classes at a public school for a portion of the day, and the school district may count the student as included in their enrollment.||Students may participate as private school students as long as at least 50% of the core academic subjects are taught at home. (Must ensure the program doesn’t automatically file a Notice of Intent.)|
|Enrollment of a truant student:||See the full homeschool law (scroll down on this page) for details.||Enrollment of a student who has been charged with truancy is considered on a case-by-case basis.|
Option #1: Homeschool Law (Notice of Intent)
Non-Public Home-Based Education
The Colorado Revised Statutes (“CRS” 22-33-104.5(2)(a)) states that homeschooling, or a “non-public home-based education program,” means:
- the sequential program of instruction for the education of a child which takes place in a home,
- which is provided by the child’s parent (or by an adult relative of the child designated by the parent),
- and which is not under the supervision and control of a school district.
- (Keep in mind that this educational program is not intended to be and does not qualify as a private and non-profit school. See Option #2, Non-Public School Law, if you prefer to homeschool under the umbrella of a private school, or visit CHECis.org.)
Below is a summary of the complete Colorado homeschool law for help with at-a-glance topics; click each heading for more information. (Numbers correspond to the appropriate section within the law.) But we strongly recommend reading the entire Colorado Homeschool Law so you’re familiar with it yourself.
Begin: File a Notice of Intent (NOI)
A Notice of Intent is a document the parent must file annually with a school district in the state of Colorado. It must be filed 14 days prior to starting the home education program and should include:
- the student(s) name and age
- the student(s) address
- the number of hours of attendance
- the parent’s signature
Additional information that may be included on the NOI: You have the option of submitting your test/evaluation results to an independent or parochial school in the state of Colorado, such as the CHEC Independent School. If you prefer this option, the name of the Independent or Parochial School must be included on your Notice of Intent.
You can view a sample Notice of Intent here.
The student’s parent, guardian, or adult relative designated by the parent or guardian is responsible to provide the teaching.
Compulsory Attendance Ages
CRS 22-33-104.5(5)(a) and (b)
The Colorado compulsory attendance law requires students from ages 6 (by August 1) to 17 to attend public school. If not enrolled in a public school, all children within these ages must be enrolled in a non-public school (private, parochial, or independent) or abide by the home-based education law. Under the home-based education law, the following exceptions apply:
- The NOI must be in place for students who are age 6 by August 1st, but teaching does not need to begin until age 7.
- Once the student reaches 16 years of age, the NOI no longer needs to be submitted.
Homeschooling students must be educated for 172 days with an average of 4 hours per day. (To obtain an average, add up the total hours and divide by the total days.)
Record Keeping (Attendance, Assessment, & Immunizations/Exemptions)
Records for each child must be maintained on a permanent basis by the parent. These records should include, but are not limited to:
- attendance data
- assessment (test and/or evaluation) results
- immunization records
If you choose exemption from some or all immunizations, you must maintain a statement of exemption. A simple statement is all that is necessary; click here to view & download a sample form.
CRS 2-33-104.5(3)(f) and CRS 22-33-104.5(5)(a)(I, II)
Home educated students must either be tested at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th grades OR be evaluated by a qualified person (see the full Colorado Homeschool Law for definition of “qualified”).
Students must achieve a composite score above the 13% on a nationally standardized achievement test or receive an evaluation that shows the child is making sufficient academic progress according to their ability.
Find more information on testing here.
Submission of Assessment (Testing/Evaluation) Results
CRS 2-33-104.5(3)(f) and CRS 22-33-104.5(5)(a)(I, II)
These test/evaluation results must be submitted to the school district where the NOI was filed OR to an independent or parochial school that holds test scores. (For example, you can submit them to the CHEC Independent School.)
A Non-Public Home-Based educational program shall include, but need not be limited to these curriculum subjects:
- communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking
- regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States as provided in section 22-1-108
Each family may use the curriculum of their choice as long as it covers the required subjects.
Colorado law does not require a specific curriculum.
Grade Level Assignments or Changes
A grade level does not need to be included on your Notice of Intent, nor do you have to notify the district if you change your student’s grade level.
It is not uncommon for a home educated student to span more than one grade or to move through more than one grade level in a single school year. However, when selecting a grade for your own purposes, take into consideration:
- the reading level of the student
- the grade at which most of the subjects are being taught
High School Graduation
Colorado does not have homeschool graduation requirements. Each high school (and therefore family) sets its own requirements based on post-high school plans (including college requirements).
Because you are overseeing your child’s education, you set the requirements. Once your student has met your set requirements, you graduate them. This means you sign the diploma – but don’t panic! It’s no different than a private school issuing and signing a diploma. (You can order a diploma here.)
Check out high school support for more information.
Participation in Sports and Extracurricular Activities
Homeschooled students have the right to participate on an equal basis as public school students in any extracurricular or interscholastic activity offered by the school district where the NOI was filed or a private school (at the private school’s discretion). In a district with multiple schools, the district has the authority to decide where the student will participate. The student will also be subject to the same rules of any interscholastic organization or association of which the school is a member. The district shall not require the student to enroll in a course or to complete any course credits as an eligibility requirement, unless the extracurricular activity is an extension of the course.
Part-time Public School Programs
Homeschooled students may attend classes at a public school for a portion of the school day. The district may count this student for the purposes of determining pupil enrollment. The district can also require additional information, such as the new requirements for immunizations or whatever else they deem necessary for enrollment).
Enrollment of a Truant Student
Be sure to read this section of the Colorado Homeschool Law to understand special rules that apply to students who have been charged with truancy.
Option #2: Non-Public School Law (Umbrella School)
Under the Non-Public School Law, independent schools serve as an “umbrella” for Colorado homeschooling families. Each school is responsible to follow the Non-Public School Laws (found here on the Colorado Department of Education’s website), and then set policies for enrolled families to abide by.
When you choose to homeschool under the Non-Public School law, you can . . .
- Decide on the independent school that’s best for your family (Colorado offers many)
- Educate your children at home
- Submit records directly to the independent school instead of the school district
- Follow the policies of your chosen independent school instead of the Homeschool Law
Colorado has a number of independent schools available to choose from. We loved the idea and created our very own – the CHEC Independent School, offering homeschool families around the state security, privacy, and all.