Getting Started

The Rockford Public Library offers many services for families new to homeschooling as well as veteran families. Anyone with a library card is invited to use our internet computers, check out videos and DVDs, books, magazines, books on tape, and music cassettes. Patrons do not need a library card to enjoy our game computers or attend any of our programs.

In addition, the library offers the following services to homeschool families.

Tours

Youth Services can arrange a tour of the Rockford Public Library for any group. The tour can include a tour of Youth Services for the younger children or a full library tour for older children. The tours can also include a story time and catalog instruction.

Meeting Room Space

Meeting rooms are available for group meetings and/or classes at the Main Library downtown and all of the 5 branches. The charge for each facility varies but is at a discounted price for all non-profit groups.

Materials

The Rockford Public Library has a wonderful selection of homeschool “how to” books. Our Parent/Teacher collection includes workbooks on various themes, homeschool guides, and ideas for activities.

Homeschool Laws in Illinois

Illinois is one of the easiest states in which to homeschool. In Illinois, homeschools are considered private schools. Teachers do not have to be certified. Standard tests do not have to be administered. Finally, homeschoolers do not have to register with the Regional Office of Education. This is a voluntary step that you may take but not one that is required.

For more information on laws governing home schooling in Illinois please refer to the following websites.

 

Home School Legal Defense Association

www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp?State=IL

 

Homeschooling in Illinois

http://www.homeschoolinginillinois.com/

Withdrawing Children from a Public School

In order to withdraw your child, you will need to notify the school in writing. If you are planning to start in the fall, the end of this school year is the perfect time to send notification. You do not need to state that you are homeschooling.

For sample withdrawal letters please refer to the following websites.

Illinois Home Education

www.illinoishomeeducation.org/illinoislaw.htm

 

Illinois Christian Home Educator’s Coalition

http://www.iche.org/

Record Keeping

There are many ways to keep track of lessons and chart students’ progress. Once you choose a recordkeeping method, stick with it and stay on top of it. It is very difficult to play “catch up.” Some recordkeeping methods include:

Journal

This can be completed by either the teacher or the student. This is a daily log that describes what lessons and activities were completed and what the student learned.

Daily Planner

This method uses a daily lesson planner sheet to keep track of the things you have planned for the day.

Portfolio

This method works well with a unit studies approach. You keep track of the books you use (a suggestion would be to make copies of the cover and the table of contents) plus any videos, field trips, and tests. These sheets would be placed in a binder for each child.

Purchased Recordkeeping Systems

There are also lesson planners, grade books, and workbooks available at a variety of local learning materials stores including The 3R’s at 320 Alpine (815-398-1600) or Let’s Learn at 6253 E. State (815-226-8899). They have wonderful workbooks, posters, and everything else you would need to set up your school. The Harris Homeschool Planner is one that is one that comes highly recommended. The “Keepers at Home” organizer is user friendly and easy to personalize.

Local Scholarships

This database includes scholarships offered to students in the greater Rockford area by organizations in our region. One of the primary organizations in the database is the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, which offers approximately 80 scholarships, which are also detailed at http://cfnil.org.

Financial Aid Materials at RPL