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Can I Choose to Homeschool My Kids After an Illinois Divorce? 

Posted on in Child Custody

arlington heights divorce lawyerAll across Illinois, more and more parents are choosing to homeschool their children. In Chicago alone, nearly 25,000 fewer children were enrolled in public schools in the past two years than in previous years. While it is hard to obtain data specifically for the entirety of Cook County, Illinois does not require homeschooling families to register with the authorities and so the rates of homeschooled children are estimated to likely be even higher than the numbers suggest. 

The question of whether or not to homeschool poses a potential dilemma for parents who are divorced. The choice to homeschool one’s children often has as much to do with closely-held beliefs around religion or cultural values as it does with fundamental questions about the competency of Illinois public schools. If parents disagree about homeschooling methods or the reasons for leaving the local public school, which parent gets to decide the best path for a child’s education? 

Homeschooling and Parental Responsibilities

When married parents get divorced or unmarried parents go to court to establish a parenting schedule, they must decide how to allocate the important decision-making authority known in Illinois as parental responsibilities. Education is a critical component of parental responsibilities, and when parents share decision-making authority about a child’s education, they may come into conflict around whether homeschooling is the best choice for the child. 

If parents are at loggerheads over how a child should be educated, using a mediator may help them reach a compromise. Perhaps a child will attend a private or charter school rather than a public school, or the parent seeking to homeschool the child will agree to document the child’s curriculum. But if a mediator does not help and parents still cannot agree, a court may have to decide. 

Courts will try to make a decision according to the child’s best interests. But this can cause problems because, no matter how well-intentioned a judge is, he or she is not the child’s parent and may not understand or approve of the child’s alleged needs, the family’s religious or cultural preferences, or the very idea of homeschooling. Parents are nearly always more satisfied when they can work out a plan for their family’s education between themselves rather than asking a court to do so. 

Meet with an Arlington Heights Parental Responsibilities Lawyer

For help understanding how your parental responsibilities may impact your ability to make decisions about your children’s education, schedule a consultation with an experienced Arlington Heights parental responsibilities lawyer. The team of family law attorneys at A. Traub & Associates can help you pursue parental responsibilities in a divorce case, find an amicable solution about homeschooling with your child’s other parent, or help you petition for a modification of your parenting agreement. Call us now at 847-749-4182

 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8675000&SeqEnd=12200000 

https://www.axios.com/local/chicago/2021/12/22/illinois-homeschooling-on-the-rise 

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