Interested in Unschooling in Colorado? We can help

We’re lucky to be living in a country that allows parents to take their kids out of school and educate them at home. However, there are still often a lot of regulations placed on homeschoolers, as is the case with Colorado.

This can be a problem if you want to do unschooling — that is, to let your children chart their own educational courses on their own timelines. How do you give your kids authentic freedom if they have to take tests and are required to learn certain subjects by law? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

Colorado’s Regulations

In Colorado, there are three options under which you can legally homeschool: 1) Homeschooling under Colorado’s homeschool statute, 2) Homeschooling with an independent school, and 3) Homeschooling with a certified teacher.

1. Homeschooling under Colorado’s homeschool statute

  • Instruction must be provided by a parent, guardian, or adult relative designated by a parent
  • Must notify a school district that you are homeschooling
  • Must provide 172 days of instruction, averaging four hours per day, and must teach these subjects: U.S. Constitution, reading, writing, speaking, math, history, civics, literature, and science
  • Must keep records of attendance, test and evaluation results, and immunization.
  • Must test or evaluate your student in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. There are 2 options:
    • A nationally standardized achievement test
    • A “qualified person” (a Colorado certified teacher, a teacher employed by a private school, a licensed psychologist, or a person with a graduate degree in education) determines if your child has made sufficient academic progress according to their ability

2. Homeschooling with an independent school

  • Must be under the supervision of the independent school

3. Homeschooling with a certified teacher

  • Certified teacher (parent or someone else) must hold a valid Colorado teaching certificate
  • No requirements of notification or assessment

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Colorado, you are required by law to abide by the above regulations. However, these regulations may or may not be enforced at the local level. If you are interested in unschooling, you can give your local school district a call to find out what guidelines they actually enforce.

This can go the other way too. If your local school district is asking for something that is not required by the state, there are homeschool legal defense associations that will step in and help you maintain your rights.

Loophole #2: Online self-directed private school

If your child is enrolled in a private school, they are not considered a homeschooler and are exempt from all homeschooling regulations.

But isn’t the whole point of unschooling that the child is not in a school?

Enter The Open School. We have a virtual program that you can enroll in from anywhere in the world. And as a self-directed school, our program is perfectly aligned with unschooling. We have no required subjects and no tests. Instead, students design virtual activities to do with other students and staff, including art projects, video games, workshops, one-on-one lessons, and anything else you can imagine. It’s a community of self-directed learners, and a great place for unschoolers to make deep, lasting friendships.

If you want your child to be a free learner in Colorado, without being subject to standardized tests or a strict curriculum, a virtual private school may be your best bet. You can read more about our virtual program, or contact us directly, by clicking one of the buttons below.

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