Interested in Unschooling in Minnesota? 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 Minnesota.

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.

Minnesota’s Regulations

In order to homeschool legally in Minnesota, you will need to follow these guidelines:

  1. Must ensure that the instructor has the required qualifications
    • Parents teaching their own children are automatically qualified
    • If someone other than a parent is teaching the child, they must have one of the following qualifications:
      • Hold a Minnesota teaching license in the field and grade taught
      • Be directly supervised by a licensed teacher
      • Successfully complete a teacher competency exam
      • Provide instruction in an accredited school recognized by the state board
      • Hold a Bachelor’s degree
  2. Must teach these required subjects: reading, writing, literature, fine arts, math, science, history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, health, and physical education
  3. Must keep good records, which include documentation that the required subjects are being taught, proof that the tests required have been administered, class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction, and descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement
  4. Must evaluate your child annually using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test 
    • If your child scores at or below the 30th percentile or one full grade below children of the same age, you must have your child evaluated for learning difficulties.
    • If your homeschool is accredited by a recognized Minnesota accrediting association, you are not required to test the children.
  5. Must notify your school district that you are homeschooling annually, listing any changes in the required information

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Minnesota, 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 Minnesota, 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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