Interested in Unschooling in Hawaii? 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, especially if you’re living in a stricter state like Hawaii.

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.

Hawaii’s Regulations

If you’re interested in homeschooling in Hawaii, you must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Must submit a notice of intent
  2. Must ensure your curriculum companies with the statute, “Be structured and based on educational objectives as well as the needs of the child, be cumulative and sequential, provide a range of up-to-date knowledge and needed skills, and take into account the interests, needs, and abilities of the child.”
  3. Must keep a record of the planned curriculum: 
    • The commencement date and ending date of the homeschool program
    • The number of hours per week of instruction
    • The subjects to be covered
    • The method used to determine mastery of materials and subjects in the curriculum
    • A list of textbooks or other instructional materials
  4. Must submit annual progress reports to your local principal
    • The progress report may be one of the following:
      • A score on a nationally normed standardized achievement test, which must demonstrate grade-level achievement to the child’s age
      • Progress on a nationally normed standardized test that is equivalent to one grade level per calendar year
      • A written evaluation by a Hawaii-certified teacher
      • A written evaluation by the parent, which includes a description of progress in each subject area, work samples, and tests and assignments that demonstrate progress
      • The results of Hawaii’s statewide testing program
    • For grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, parents must submit the results of a criterion or norm-referenced standardized achievement test of the parents’ choice, which demonstrates grade-level achievement appropriate to their child’s age

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Hawaii, 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 Hawaii, 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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