Interested in Unschooling in North Carolina? 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 in North Carolina.

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 standardized tests and are required to learn certain subjects? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

North Carolina’s Regulations

In North Carolina, you may choose to operate your homeschool as one of two different types of “nonpublic” schools”: (1) A qualified nonpublic school or (2) a private religious school or a school of religious charter. The requirements, listed below, are the same regardless of the type of homeschool.

  1. Must submit a notice of intent to homeschool to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE)
  2. Must ensure that the person providing instruction has at least a high school diploma or its equivalent
  3. Must provide the required days of instruction, operating on a regular schedule for at least nine calendar months each year, except for “reasonable holidays and vacations”
  4.  Must keep attendance and immunization records (Note: there are medical and religious exemptions from immunizations)
  5. Must administer an annual nationally standardized test that measures achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and math; results must be kept for one year after testing
  6. Must inform the DNPE if you decide to close the homeschool

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina, without being subject to standardized tests or a 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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