So, You're Thinking Homeschool? Here's The Rules In A Nutshell.

By Melissa Shrader Editor/Publisher Fort Collins Macaroni Kid April 26, 2022

Well, school is truly different this year, right? 

No matter if you are doing online schooling from your district or homeschooling it’s definitely different. 

For those who have always homeschooled their children you’ve now become mentors to those of us who have initially gone the public route and have decided to do homeschooling for this year and possibly for the rest of our children’s educational journey. 

If you’re like me and beginning your homeschool journey, there are a few things you need to know. CHEC has a great summary of the Home School laws throughout the country. HSDLA is a wonderful resource for laws, and more. Northern Colorado Homeschool Association NCHA has specifics for our area as well as Colorado. 

Once you’ve decided you are going to homeschool, you need to send or deliver a LOI or NOI. 

Letter of Intent to Home School (LOI) or Note of Intent to Home school (NOI): 

According the Colorado Department of Education you need to do the following to homeschool either with intent to return or for your child’s full educational career. 

  • You must submit a notification of “Intent to Home School” your child to your school district office 
  • You must submit this 14 days before you begin your Home school program. 
  • The notification must have your child’s name, age, place of residence and attendance hours
  • You can but are not required to offer additional information 
  • Parents signature 
  • You may also include an independent, umbrella or Parochial school like CHEC (Christian Home Educators of Colorado) 
  • Instruction must be provided by a parent, guardian, or adult relative designated by a parent. 
  • You must submit written notification each school year you intend to homeschool.

Sample of NOI letter to submit (CHEC). You may create your own or find other templates online. 

Umbrella Schools 

Colorado allows children to be enrolled in an established Colorado Umbrella School. Parents teach their children at home. These schools are structured and you enroll at similar grade levels. 

Some Umbrella Schools

Many others too.

What Subjects Should I include: 

Colorado law states that home school programs must cover the following subjects: 

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Civics
  • Literature
  • Science
  • and other regular courses of instruction in the constitution of the United States. 

Contact your specific district for precise subjects. Some districts will give you more specifics and others may not. You may do additional subjects but must meet the minimum. 

Additional Curriculum advice:

Know that there is no general “Best” Curriculum. There is a “Best for you” curriculum, tailored for your child. There are some wonderful reviews on YouTube and Pinterest for you to help find a curriculum that fits your child and your needs. I suggest going to local Facebook sites and asking questions directly from experienced Homeschool parents. They have a LOT to offer. 

Local Facebook pages (there are a ton out there but here are 2 great resources):

Northern Colorado Homeschoolers  They have units explaining the page and Colorado Homeschool info and they have the most helpful parent/homeschoolers I’ve seen.  

NCHA Northern Homeschool Association WebsiteFacebook

Record Keeping: 

Record keeping for each child in your home that you are homeschooling must be kept on a permanent basis by the parent overseeing the home school program. Records must include but are not limited to attendance, testing and evaluation results, immunization records as required by C.R.S. The records must be provided to the school district that received the written NOI (LOI) upon their request. Do not send them to the CDE.

FYI – If you are seeking Exemption to Immunization Law this sample form (CHEC) shows you what to submit.


You must keep attendance and have no less than 172 days of instruction with average of 4 hours a day of instruction.  

Pinterest has some great planners as does local stores like Knowledge Bound (has teacher planners) and Probasco’s Bookstore (also has homeschool curriculum) Salt and Light curriculum 


CDE guidelines state Assessments and Evaluations must be performed in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Students can take a national standardized achievement test or a qualified person can be selected by the parent to evaluate the students progress. The results must be submitted to the school district who received the NOI (LOI). Contact your local school district for resources and specific deadlines for submission of results. 

A professional evaluation is given by:

  • A Colorado certified teacher 
  • A teacher employed by a private school
  • A licensed psychologist 
  • A person with a graduate degree in education 
  • CHEC has a list of individuals registered through them here


There are a whole list of tests and where to get them at CHEC here

Some school districts offer home schoolers to do the Standardized testing at a designated school or facility. Contact your district to see if they offer this. 

FYI – You do not have to use the standardized testing but it does make it easier to reenter school if you are wanting to go back. If you request to take the Standardized testing for your child, some districts allow testing with public school classes. Check with your specific district to see if they allow this. 


Your child can “graduate” homeschooling, however according to the CDE site, they do not supply a diploma to homeschools. However, some homeschools with curriculum offer diplomas and some offer graduations. Parents can also purchase a diploma at office supply stores too.  Graduates do not have to take a GED to “graduate” but it is an option to receive a diploma from the state. High School information is available through CHEC and HSDLA here 

Let’s Homeschool High School is a great resource. 



Home School Resources Homeschool support groups, options/enrichment programs, school resources, nationwide resources. 

If you have specific questions that CDE can address contact them at or call them at 1-303-866-2818

CHEC (Christian Home School of Colorado) was used to help with guidelines and laws as well as sample forms. (8-5-2020)

CDE (Colorado Department of Education) was used to help with guidance and laws

For your district’s specific information:


PSD rules resources 

PSD Notice of intent  

PSD Homeschool Coordinator Troy Krotz 970.490.3239


TSD PDF rules  

TSD guidelines

TSD Letter of Intent 

Ashley Blair, Dean Harold Ferguson High School 970-613-5320 or Carol 970-613-5301 or


Weld RE5J information

Weld RE5J guidelines

Weld RE5J Intent