IL State Homeschool Organization

Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE)

ICHE was founded in 1983 as a quest for a Christ-centered education. In addition to their annual homeschool convention, ICHE hosts a father/son camp, ladies’ midwinter renewal, marriage retreat, day at the capitol, young adult conference, family camp, and more!

IL Homeschool Law

In Illinois homeschool is treated as a private school. Parents are not required to register with the state. Parents are required to teach the required subjects, instruction must be in English, and know what to call their homeschool program. More information can be found at the Illinois Department of Education, the Home School Legal Defense Association, and Illinois Christian Home Educators.

IL Homeschool Events 

ICHE Homeschool Conference

Is your oldest child a preschooler?  You can attend the conference for FREE!  

This 4-day event is a don’t miss! There are incredible sessions, vendors, and activities for the whole family. This is a kid-friendly conference. Your kiddos can attend sessions with you or attend special Kid-Friendly sessions with a parent, grandparent or older sibling; see a planetarium show with a parent, grandparent or older sibling (12 years or older);
visit the KidZone in the Exhibit Hall for fun.

 IL Homeschool Field Trip Destinations

Aikman Wildlife Adventure

Aikman Wildlife Adventure is a wildlife drive-thru park where you can get up close and personal with animals you’ve only seen behind fencing at a zoo or on television. You’ll have the opportunity to see and take pictures of animals right out of your vehicle while you drive the 1-mile long path through our Drive-Thru.

Once you have driven through the Drive-Thru, you can experience our Walk-Thru Adventure, where you’ll see Peacocks, Hyenas, Wolfdogs, Lemurs and much more including our large Petting Zoo area. Make sure to hit all the attractions: Encounters, The Watering Hole, Museum of Prehistoric Life, and Wildlife Manor.

There are two package options for field trips with 230 animals and 90 different species, plus staff guides. Students will get an opportunity for up-close encounters with animals and learn about animal conservation. You get 1.5 hours of DEDICATED access to the park for your group; the park will not be open to the public.

Aurora Regional Fire Museum

The Aurora Regional Fire Museum is located in Aurora’s old Central Fire Station. Two floors of exhibits chronicle the history of the Aurora Fire Department, fire service in our region, and explore fire safety and prevention. They have some good FREE online learning resources too!

Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo Chicago provides free general admission to homeschool groups (groups of 10 or more K to 12) between Labor Day and Memorial Day during Self-Guided Field Trips for both students and chaperones with an online reservation at least 10 days in advance! Make your online reservations early—space is limited.

Enjoy the zoo as a group and to learn about and experience animals and nature in a beautiful park-like setting.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Field trips at Chicago Children’s Museum let kids have fun while learning! CCM group visits and field trips engage homeschool families with hands-on engagement in subjects like math, language, science, and engineering—combined with education-rich, play-filled activities.

Children’s Discovery Museum

The Children’s Discovery Museum exhibits were conceived with children and their open-ended learning experience at the core. It is a celebration of exploration and discovery – filled with innovative and richly layered cognitive experiences for toddlers through pre-teens on three floors of hands-on powerful play experiences that inspire the love of learning!

Sensory bags are available for check out at the front desk.  These bags include noise reduction headphones, communication cards, light reduction glasses, fidget/relaxation toys, and other tools to make the museum more accessible. There are also multiple spaces at the museum that can be used to “cool down!”

Children’s Museum of Illinois

Children can explore two floors of educational exhibits through self-guided field trips, or participate in educational workshops through the Learning Labs. A 5:1 child-to-adult ratio is required. Groups must schedule at least 24 hours in advance. The Basic Self-Guided Field Trip takes about an hour, the Extended is about 2 hours.

Discovery Center Museum

Discovery Center offers a wide variety of field trips to suit your group’s interests, learning levels, and needs. There is an Educator’s Guide that details STEM lab, planetarium, and other options.  Check their calendar for other special events like Junior Doctor Day and Goodnight Discovery Town.

DuPage Children’s Museum

DuPage Children’s Museum offers a variety of field trip options for hands-on science, math, and art experiences perfect for group visits of 20 people or more. Students are the primary drivers of their own learning — by building, making, engineering, and experimenting!

International Museum of Surgical Science

The International Museum of Surgical Science maintains over 10,000 square feet of public galleries, North America’s only museum devoted to surgery.

The Museum’s collections, appropriate for grades 4 and up, include art and artifacts that deal with surgery as well as history, science, health, and cultural studies. A field trip to the Museum can be used to complement classroom topics ranging from human anatomy to medical careers and history. Field trips and student programs are available for groups of 10 or more (up to 100). Book your group at least two weeks in advance to receive the group rate.

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site

Make the Visitor Center your first stop as you prepare to travel back to the nineteenth century. Enjoy the exhibit galleries highlighting the Lincolns and Sargents as well as a 14-minute film about the Lincolns, Sargents, 1840s life, and the site’s living history program. This film prepares you to visit the farms.

There are picnic areas with electricity-supplied pavilions, grills, restrooms, playground equipment and water fountains, as well as natural areas and trails for walks, fishing and bird-watching. Pavilions may be reserved. Grounds are open year-round until dusk.

Lincoln Log Cabin offers education programs geared toward all ages. The Young Adult Interpreters Program (available June to August) is for 13-to-16-year-olds to participate in daily chores (cooking, gardening, splitting rails, mucking barns, and wheat harvesting), period crafts, and games.

Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 8-12 provides historical interpretation, hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and games – all based on the 1840s time period and using tools and techniques of that time.

Lincoln Park Zoo

There are hundreds of animal and plant species that live at the zoo—from lemurs to lizards, flora to fauna, nearly 200 species. You can also discover the natural plant ecosystems—filled with beautiful flowers, trees, and other flora—across the zoo.

You can schedule a field trip. Zoo Explorers
is a 55-minute, inquiry-based animal investigation.

There are zoo camps and seasonal camps for grades preK–8.

Partners in Fieldwork is a free, school year-long program that engages middle and high school students in research activities that support the work of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute.

Miller Park Zoo

Field trips are available for pre-k through 12th grade.

Various opportunities are available for children ages 1 and up. Parent and child can have fun working together in Parent/Tot Gymnastics, Parent/Tot Ballet, Tiny Melodies, Sporty Parent/Child, Parent/Child Sculpture, and more.

Preschool sports Little Sparks Soccer, Sporty Munchkins, Super Tot Gymnastics, Happy Feet, and more offer children ages 3 – 5 the chance to develop body coordination and balance as they learn new skills.

Children ages 3 to 5 can participate in various weekly preschool special interest classes that teach new skills plus holiday special events.

For ages 6 to 11, Zoo Explorers is a terrific 2-hour adventure that includes animal encounters, classroom learning, and hands-on
experiences out in the zoo.

For ages 7 to 13, the Zoosday Club in early evening hours is for making friends (human & animal!), fun activities, and learning more about wildlife at this weekly after-school club. You can go for just a single session, rather than a weekly commitment.

For ages 6 to 11, Spring Break Camp offers fun challenges to help students learn how animals deal with their own challenges in the wild, meet Zoo animals, make a craft, and enjoy fun, educational activities.

The Junior Zookeeeper Program is for junior high & high school students to learn about wildlife and how zoos work. Students spend time expanding their knowledge in the classroom and can eventually become volunteers at the zoo! There are both school year and summer components to the program; at the advanced levels, students participate in education program activities October to April, then volunteer at the Zoo during the summer season. Students can be Junior Zookeepers (JZKs) through the summer following high school graduation.

Students in 5th grade or higher are eligible to begin in the summer. It does fill up and orientation is in the spring, so look to start the application process early in the year.

Prairie Aviation Museum

The Airpark is a hands-on museum where visitors are encouraged to touch and feel many of the displays. Visitors may sit inside the Huey helicopter for photo opportunities. Kids love playing with all the dials and switches in the B52 engine testing trailer.

Many displays have a local association, such as the F-4 Phantom dedicated to Jack “Fingers” Ensch and his pilot, “Mugs” McKeown. The team shot down two MIGs in one “dog fight” during the Vietnam War in May, 1972.

During the summer/fall months on the third Saturday of each month, Prairie Aviation Museum hosts Open Cockpit Days – a family-friendly event that provides guests experience inside aircraft cockpits, visit with pilots and crew members, and explore inside the museum.

Wildlife Prairie Park

As one of the Midwest’s leading combined nature and zoological destinations, homeschool families from across the globe travel to enjoy the beauty and wonder of Wildlife Prairie Park. Wildlife Prairie Park offers field trips with multiple add-on learning options to make your field trip even more meaningful. Topics include wildlife careers, owl pellets, animals, birds, habitats, ecosystems, watersheds, and a guided tour of Merrill Woods. Programs are about 45 minutes each and require a reservation. There is an additional cost for programs of $4 per student and chaperone, with a $50 minimum.

Curious what it takes to be an animal keeper? Their Keeper for a Day program allows your 6-to-12-year-old to join the animal keepers as they provide the daily cleaning, care, and dietary needs of the animals, learning what it takes to care for all the animals at the park. Participants also receive a water bottle, a park bag, and a photo with an animal ambassador. This must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

For $350, you can schedule a private animal feeding encounter. The 1.5-hour program allows up to 4 guests to ride in a UTV with a WPP staff member to visit wolf pack, new black bears, cougars, and bison and elk herd behind the scenes for an up-close look and chance to feed them. Weather may require swapping out  the bison and elk pasture, for a trip to the Forest Hall Education Center and an encounter with a red fox, snapping turtle, goat, or turkey vulture.

Wildlife Prairie Park is also home to over 30 statues and sculptures. A brochure for a self-guided sculpture walk of the property is available in the Visitor Center or Ticket Gate.

Is homeschooling for you?

The community of homeschool families is diverse. One study reports that 41% of homeschool students are Hispanic, Black, Asian, or other non-White/non-Hispanic groups (2). Homeschoolers come from all faiths – Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, atheists. Teaching parents have a range of formal education, from high school diplomas to graduate degrees, and cover the array of household incomes.

How do you homeschool?

While laws regulating home education vary from state to state, homeschooling IS legal in all 50 states. Many states offer more than one option. One of the first steps in your family’s homeschool journey is to become familiar with the laws in your state. Then the fun begins!
Click on your state below for resources on homeschool regulations, state homeschool organizations, homeschool conventions in your area (here’s why these are amazing for new and experienced homeschool parents), as well as other homeschool perks in your state.

Information pages are being added for EVERY state. Subscribe so you don’t miss the resources for your state.

don't miss a thing!

sign up for weekly tips and freebies

Disclaimer: Please note that the information on this page is provided for your convenience as a research tool and resource as to where to find the information you need to homeschool in your state. The team at 3 Moms Blog are not attorneys. This content has not been reviewed by an attorney. It is not legal advice. 

Brian D. Ray. (2017) A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of homeschooling as a school choice, Journal of School Choice, 11:4, 604-621, accessed April 7, 2023 at 

US Department of Education. (2019) Homeschooling in the United States: Results from the 2012 and 2016 Parent and Family Involvement Survey (PFINHES: 2012 and 2016). Accessed 4/7/2023 at 

get weekly tips & freebies!