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Colorado homeschooling laws?

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The linked website only talks about sending in a notice of intent to a CO school district. A notice of intent is just one of your options. You can also enroll with an umbrella school. If you do, you follow their rules for reporting and records. The umbrella school we use (HomeLife Academy) requires only grades twice a year for classes/subjects I choose. No testing, no portfolio. Colorado doesn't know my kids exist, as a matter of fact. If you want to use the popular Options program or any public school services, then the NOI is the way to go.

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We use Options and do a NOI. I test my kids with the Iowa and send it in to the district I send my NOI to. I COULD use our Options program to test, but they test about 3 months earlier, and that's 3 months more my kids can learn before they test (and they need all the time they can get LOL!). I could also send test results to another school/district, but I don't just for simplicity's sake. I send everything to our local district, again, just for simplicity's sake. I don't have to though...I could send it across the state if I wanted.


I will say that the written out information makes it look like it's way more difficult than it really is here.

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Here is my question. My SIL is going to be moving to Co. very shortly.


Her kids are in private school at the moment, so when they leave they will be able to take ALL of their curriculum and I will send her teachers manuals.


What does she need to do upon arriving in Co? Just a letter of intent?


What options does she have during the middle of the year?


I think she would like to just use the curriculum she has this year, before making any decisions about next.




Thanks again Hive! You are amazing!!!!

Edited by Juniper
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“Every child who has attained the age of six years on or before August 1

of each year and is under the age of seventeen years.” Colorado Revised

Statutes § 22-33-104(1)(a). For children in a home-based educational

program (Option 1), the compulsory ages of instruction are from 7 to 16.

However, under Option 1, a parent must submit a notice of intent

beginning in the year a child is six by August 1. (Actual instruction does

not have to begin until age seven.) Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5(3)(e).

Required Days of Instruction: 172 days, averaging four hours per day. Colo. Rev. Stat.

§ 22-33-104.5(3)©.

Required Subjects: Including, but not limited to, Constitution of the United States, reading,

writing, speaking, math, history, civics, literature, and science


Home School Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5.

Option 1: “It is the primary right and obligation of the parent to choose the proper education and training for

children under his care and supervision. It is recognized that home-based education is a legitimate alternative to

classroom attendance for the instruction of children and that any regulation of nonpublic home-based educational

programs should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate a variety of circumstances. The general assembly further

declares that nonpublic home-based educational programs shall be subject only to minimum state controls which

are currently applicable to other forms of nonpublic education.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5(1).

a. Instruction in a non-public home-based educational program may be provided by a parent, guardian, or an

adult relative designated by a parent. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5(2)(a) and (b).

b. A home school “is not intended to be and does not qualify as a private and nonprofit school.” Colo. Rev. Stat

§ 22-33-104.5(2)(a).

c. Parents must give notice 14 days before starting home schooling and annually thereafter. The parents have the

choice to file the notice in any school district in the state. A parent who intends to establish a nonpublic homebased educational program must provide written notification of this program to a school district for all children

between the ages of six (by August 1) and 16 but is not required to establish the program until the child is

seven years of age. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5(3)(e).

d. The notice must include names, ages, residence, and hours of attendance of children taught. There is no

requirement to use the local school district’s forms.

e. Parents must keep records of attendance, test and evaluation results, and immunization records which the

school district which has the original notice of intent may see with fourteen days’ notice if the superintendent

“has probable cause to believe” the home school program is not in compliance with the law. Colo. Rev. Stat.

§ 22-33-104.5(3)(g).


Alternative Statutes Allowing for Educating a Child at Home:

Option 2: Parents can enroll their children in a Colorado “independent school” but teach them at home. The

decisive case, People in Interest of D.B., 767 P.2d 801 (Colo. App. 1988), held that, according to Colo. Rev. Stat.

§ 22-33-104(2)(b), children “enrolled in” (changed from the word “attending” in 1983) an independent or parochial

school that provides a basic academic education can be allowed by that school to be taught at home. Such students

are legally classified as private school students.

a. In the D.B. case, the Court of Appeals stated: “Since the district has not challenged the adequacy of the

education provided by the academy, the matter of the sufficiency of the children’s attendance is between them

[the home schoolers] and the independent school in which they are enrolled.” 767 P.2d at 802. In other words,

children that are enrolled in a Colorado independent school are exempt from the compulsory school attendance

and homeschool laws and can still be instructed by their parents at home. Registration with the public school is

not required. No testing or evaluation is mandated.

b. Parents can establish an independent school by keeping minimal records and providing instruction in the

required subjects, in addition to complying with other statutory requirements (see HSLDA’s memorandum on

satellite schools). The independent school must be comprised of at least two homeschool families.

c. The administrator can be one of the parents. The teachers are the parents, and all teaching is done in separate

campus sites in each home.

Option 3: If a home schooling parent or other person is certified in Colorado to teach, the home school in which

they are providing instruction is exempt from all other requirements, including testing. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-


Teacher Qualifications: None, unless a child is taught by a private tutor, who must be certified.

Standardized Tests: Children enrolled in a home-based educational program must be tested or evaluated in grades

3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5(3)(f).

I. Testing: Must be with a national standardized achievement test. If test results show a composite score above the

thirteenth percentile, the child will continue to be exempt from compulsory public school attendance requirements.

If the child scores at or below the thirteenth percentile, “the school district shall require the parents to place said

child in a public or independent or parochial school until the next testing period; except that no action shall be

taken until the child is given the opportunity to be retested using an alternative version of the same test or a

different nationally standardized achievement test selected by the parent from a list of approved tests.” Colo. Rev.

Stat. § 22-33-104.5(5)(a).


II. Evaluation: Must be evaluated by a “qualified person” who is “selected by the parent” and is a Colorado

certified teacher or a teacher employed by a private school or a licensed psychologist or a person with a graduate

degree in education. The evaluation must “show that the child is making sufficient academic progress according to

the child’s ability. . . . If the evaluation results show that the child is not making sufficient academic progress, the

school district shall require the child’s parents to place the child in a public or independent or parochial school

until the next testing period.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5(5)(a)(II).

“The test or evaluation results, whichever is appropriate, shall be submitted to the school district that received the

notification . . . . or an independent or parochial school within the state of Colorado. If the test or evaluation results

are submitted to an independent or parochial school, the name of such school shall be provided to the school

district that received the notification required by paragraph (e) of this subsection (3).” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-


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In your sister's shoes, I would do a satellite/umbrella that does not have required testing or subjects. If she decides later she wants to use the public options, she can submit an NOI. This way, she's legally covered and can use whatever she wants until she has time to make long term plans.

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In your sister's shoes, I would do a satellite/umbrella that does not have required testing or subjects. If she decides later she wants to use the public options, she can submit an NOI. This way, she's legally covered and can use whatever she wants until she has time to make long term plans.


Do you know of one in the Greely area?

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The way the laws are written, any satellite/umbrella will work for anyone in Colorado, regardless of school district. We use HomeLife Academy. If you go to the CHEC website, they have a list of them. I'm on a smartphone so can't link. Let me switch devices and I'll send it.

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I just read about CHESS. She'll have to submit a proposed calendar showing 4 hours a day for 172 days (I'm guessing they'll prorate the days at this point), along with immunization records/exemption letter. At the end of the year she'll submit an actual calendar showing completion of the 4 hrs/# days. It's $75 to enroll.


I can't find where it says when testing is required for CHESS, though, other than they offer it each year. dhudson, can you tell her?


CHESS might be a good thing for her being new to homeschooling, it would be local (counselors and other families to meet) and they have an enrichment element where the kids can get involved in various activities and take classes.


The CHEC website doesn't have the list I was looking for, I guess they're promoting their own independent school to the exclusion of others.

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I have always just given the Seton CAT survey test. It is easy to administer, only has to be done in years 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, and the kids only have to score 13%. You receive the scores yourself and drop off at the school district office of your choice. If your kids don't get 13%, you could reasonably test again if you wanted or find a friendly evaluator. Colorado is really easy to homeschool in. I keep attendance with a 13 month chart printed from DonnaYoung and give the CAT test every couple of years. I think an umbrella school would be a lot more difficult. If the school district in Greely isn't friendly, you can drive down to my district. They take your forms and file them in a binder and never look at them again, but they are friendly.

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FWIW, the options we used was not PS-at-home as far as I understand - there was no csap or any other requirement at all - nothing to submit. That district offered the ITBS as an optional service, for a small fee, to meet the bi-annual testing requirement. Our district likewise offers the MAP for a small fee to meet the testing requirement, and we did that because I had old MAP scores that I wanted to compare. Both districts cited HS laws in their letters, etc.


It's funny that the different districts have such different requirements and offerings with regard to hs testing, and arranging for the testing would probably be a big pain if my district didn't offer that service (this is a rather large district). I found it all to be pretty straightforward and easy - unless someone has an issue with testing itself, or other very special circumstances, I don't know why anyone in our district would bother with more complicated ways to go about meeting the HS law requirements at the elementary level. At the high school level, of course, I can imagine the benefit of transcript preparation assistance for college applications, though I'm probably too much of a control freak even for that - I'd prefer to do that myself (though I admit that's one area where I'm glad we will not be hs-ing for high school :tongue_smilie:).


ETA, to clarify, I'm not sure what PS-at-home is. For OP, the options programs are run by the PS districts, though still as far as I know, all those students are still considered homeschoolers, i.e., "in a home-based education program", unlike, say, the cyber charters. Also as far as I know, the options program has nothing to do with meeting the HS requirements, though I'm an odd-ball in that we participated in an options program in another district and still sent the NOI to our district.


I like Karen's idea below, to simply find a district that offers what you want regarding testing and send your NOI to them. Then test with them once every two years (or drop off your results with them) :)


I am finding the bolded statement confusing. What do you mean by finding a district? Just pick a school district? :confused:


I am thinking CHESS is going to be to conservative for what this family is going through atm. Maybe Options would be a better fit? Although, I would love for my SIL to not have to worry about testing right out of the gate (moving mid year with a 3rd grader) it may just be what it is. Her dd has been in private school K-now, so I think she will do fine.


I know you guys say it is easy, but for this Texan you have a lot of "options" that make it confusing. :D Heck, I could understand Wa and N. Dakota's easier than this!!! ;)

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I just had the conversation last night with some others and yes, you can send an NOI to any CO district you want, not just the one you live in. The options program is run by the public school district and they do get money for your student. You are considered part time public schoolers, but under the homeschool laws. Many options programs have the benefit of providing curriculum in addition to the extracurriculars and days "at school."


I use an umbrella that does not require testing, it sounds like most others do. Your sister could easily find a testing site for her third grader or pay for an evaluation if she wants to just send in an NOI and meet the days/hours/subjects req by keeping a record of it herself.

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Want to point out though (this won't apply to the little guys) that if you turn your NOI in to school district A, that's where you play sports. This has come up in our hs group. Family down south didn't want to deal with a nasty superintendent. Well, if you send your NOI in to Boulder, you don't play sports in Loveland. I realize that doesn't affect many people, but I want to get that info out there.


Thank you! That helps me organize this information. I was trying to figure out why one would register in different districts. Got it!

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