Interested in Unschooling in West Virginia? 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 West 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 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.

West Virginia’s Regulations

In West Virginia, you can choose one of two legal options by which you may homeschool: 1) Homeschooling by seeking school board approval, or 2) Homeschooling by submitting a notice of intent.

1. Homeschooling by seeking school board approval

  • Must teach the subjects approved by the school board for 180 days per year
  • Must teach in a place approved by the school board 
  • Must use the method of assessment decided by the school board 

2. Homeschooling by submitting a notice of intent

  • Must ensure that the person providing home instruction has at least a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Must file a notice of intent to homeschool with your school board or superintendent that includes assurance that your child will be instructed in reading, language, math, science, and social studies and assessed annually. 
  • Must assess your child annually (copies of the assessment must be kept for 3 years) and you must choose one of these four options:
    • Any nationally normed, standardized achievement test published not more than 10 years previously that covers reading, language, math, science, and social studies
    • The public school testing program
    • A written narrative that indicates a certified teacher has reviewed a portfolio of your child’s work and determined that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities. The narrative must include a statement about progress in reading, language, math, science, and social studies and in which areas show need for improvement or remediation.
    • Any alternative academic assessment of proficiency if the superintendent agrees
  • Must initiate a remedial program if your child does not show acceptable progress via the assessment 
  • Must submit the results of the assessment to the county superintendent for grades 3, 5, 8, and 11

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in West 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.

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 West 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.

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