Interested in Unschooling in Ohio? 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 Ohio.

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 by law? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

Ohio’s Regulations

In Ohio, you have two different options for homeschooling legally: 1) Homeschooling under Ohio’s homeschool statute, and 2) Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-tax supported school. 

1. Homeschooling under Ohio’s homeschool statute

  • Must submit annual notification to the school district. The notice must include the following: 
    • Assurance that the homeschool will include the required subjects
    • A brief outline of the intended curriculum
    • List of textbooks or other basic teaching materials
    • Assurance of hours and qualifications
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED. If a person other than the child’s parent or guardian will be doing instruction, they must have a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Must teach the required subjects: language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the U.S. and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid, safety, and fire prevention
  • Must teach at least 900 hours of home education per school year
  • Must assess your child annually via one of three options: 
    • A nationally normed standardized achievement test 
    • A written narrative indicating that a portfolio of your child’s work samples has been reviewed by a qualified person 
    • Any other form of assessment as long as it has been agreed upon by the superintendent
  • Must submit a remediation plan and quarterly reports if your child doesn’t demonstrate reasonable proficiency on the annual assessments
    • It is possible that a child may be ordered into public school if the remediation is deemed unsuccessful. 

2. Homeschooling as a non-chartered, non-taxed supported school

  • Must be established due to truly held religious beliefs 
  • Must be in operation for no less than 910 hours for grades K-6 and 1,010 hours for grades 7-12, and attendance must be reported to the treasurer of the board of education of the city
  • Instructors must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized college or university 
  • Must teach the required subjects listed above
  • Must follow student promotion procedures from grade to grade
  • Must comply with state and local health, fire, and safety laws

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Ohio, 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 Ohio, 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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