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 Virginia.
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.
There are 4 different options for homeschooling legally in Virginia: 1) home instruction, 2) religious exemption, 3) certified tutor, and 4) private school.
You must write an application letter to your school board, which includes:
A tutor with a current Virginia teacher license must ask the school superintendent to approve them as a tutor, and they can tutor any child.
Students can attend a private school without physically being present at the school if the student’s attendance is for the same number of hours per day, for the same days per year, and during the same period of the year as public schools.
If you are a homeschooler in Virginia, 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.
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 Virginia, 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.