Interested in Unschooling in New York? 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 New York.

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.

New York’s Regulations

In order to homeschool legally in New York, you must meet these requirements: 

  1. Submit a notice of intent to the district superintendent annually
  2. Submit an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP)
  3. Comply with 180 days per year of schooling, 900 hours of school per year in grades 1-6 and 990 hours of school per year in grades 7-12, and a large list of conventional subjects to teach
  4. File quarterly reports to the district superintendent
  5. Assess your child annually either by standardized test or a written narrative evaluation (describes the students areas of need and strengths in each subject area). In grades 4-8, standardized tests are required every other year.

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in New York, 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 New York, without being subject to testing 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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