Interested in Unschooling in Maine? 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 Maine.

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.

Maine’s Regulations

Homeschooling law in Maine gives you two different options: homeschooling under the home instruction option or homeschooling as a student of a private school. 

1. Homeschooling under the home instruction option

  1. Must submit a one-time notice of intent to your local school superintendent
  2. Must send an annual letter to the local superintendent that includes your child’s year-end assessment and a statement that you intend to continue your child’s home education
  3. Must teach 175 days annually, and must teach English and language arts, math, science, social studies, physical and health education, library skills, fine arts, Maine studies (in one grade between grades 6 and 12), and computer proficiency (in one grade between 7 and 12)
  4. Must submit a year-end assessment to your local superintendent along with a letter stating your child’s progress has been reviewed and is acceptable
    • The year-end assessment can be either a national standardized achievement test or a test developed by local school officials.
    • The letter can be from either a Maine certified teacher, a support group that has a Maine certified teacher to conduct your child’s review, or an advisory board that includes two homeschool teachers and one school official.

2. Homeschooling as a student of a “recognized for attendance purposes” private school (RAPPS)

  1. The private school must follow the requirements listed in Maine’s state law
  2. The private school must enroll at least 2 or more unrelated students
  3. The private school must teach the subjects listed in item (3) above

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Maine, 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 Maine, 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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