Interested in Unschooling in Oregon? 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 Oregon.

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.

Oregon’s Regulations

In Oregon, you must meet the following requirements to homeschool legally:

1. Notify district

You must send a one-time notice to the education service district that you intend to homeschool in. Include the names, addresses, and birth dates of children homeschooled as well as their previous educational history and the public school district where they reside.

2. Testing

  • You must test your children in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 via a State Board of Education-approved test administered by a qualified neutral person.
  • If your child was withdrawn from public school, the first examination must be administered at least 18 months after the date of withdrawal.
  • If the composite score on the exam is below the 15th percentile, your child must be given an additional exam within one year. 
  • Subsequent lower scores allow the superintendent of the education service district to place the child under a certified teacher selected by and paid for by the parents or send the child to school for no longer than 12 consecutive months.

3. Disabilities

If your child has a disability, they must be evaluated for satisfactory educational progress according to the recommendations listed in their individualized education plan (IEP) or privately developed plan.

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Oregon, 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 Oregon, 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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