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unschooling legally

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I want to unschool my child. I live in Ohio. How can I do this legally? Please someone help!
post #2 of 12

I am unfamiliar with the laws regulating homeschooling in Ohio.
But I will suggest that the first place to start, IMHO, is with finding local homeschooling groups. They can be the most valuable resource, even if you do not participate IRL with them. Local groups are excellent at helping you to understand the way in which homeschooling regulations are really implemented and practiced. 

 

Next, I would recommend that you think about how to Homeschool legally -- because unschooling is a way to homeschool. Depending on how flexible or not the regulations of your state are, you can then figure out how to meet those requirements within the context of wanting to homeschool in an unschooling manner. 

 

We have lived in several different states in the last several years -- all the while unschooling. Some were more regulated and restricted (Maryland and West Virginia) but we found ways to follow our unschooling path without violating any laws. Indiana is less regulated and restricted and we love our unschooling life here. But as far as the kids were aware it was all one seamless progression (because the only real difference was the amount of documentation and paperwork I had to take care of.)

 

HTH,

post #3 of 12

NY has pretty strict homeschooling rules and we just use terms like "child directed" and "may include resources such as".  I have friends who are unschooling and for their quarterly reports they use a list of questions/answers/concepts that were discussed.  I.e. playing ball = science.  You just kind of broadly categorize things into appropriate categories. 

 

That said, it's possible that Ohio is more strict. 

post #4 of 12
To home school in Ohio here are the requirements
 
You send a letter of intent to homeschool to the superintendent including:
Your name and address, child's name and birthdate.
Assurance you'll cover language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid,  safety, and fire prevention - religious exemptions apply if any subject is a legitimate problem for you.
Outline of curriculum and books and materials
Assurance of 900 hours of schooling time (150 6 hour days or 180 5 hour days)
Your qualifications (HS diploma or GED)
 
At the end of each year you provide test scores or a certified teacher's approval and narrative about a portfolio of work. 
 
The curriculum can actually be loose and child directed, but at least have some learning materials on hand to say something about it. Count everything that turns out to be educational. Try to generate some papers and such while you go about things and find a flexible teacher to sign off on it at the end of the year.
post #5 of 12

I'm unschooling in PA which looks similar to OH... So it looks like you need to pick out materials (curriculum, books, etc) that you are thinking about using. But you aren't required to use what you picked (that's how I interpret their phrase that such things "are for informational purposes only"). PA is like that. We have to submit a list of objectives but we aren't held to fulfilling them.

 

Naturally, your child will be learning in some way all of his waking hours so fulfilling the required hours isn't an issue. And it's hard to believe that your child is going to learn nothing about the required subjects in your day to day life. So writing an assurance that they will be covered can be done with a clear conscience. For PA, we have to submit a list of books we used at the end of the year (unlike OH where you have to submit the ones you plan to use at the start). I do tend to make sure we have a few things from the required subjects, like PA history, just because it's sometimes easier to have a book about Ben Franklin or Fire Safety on the list than to document learning those subjects with photograph. We can hardly leave the house without stumbling over PA history, anyway.

 

Your child can take a standardized test every year so you don't have to submit a written narrative by a certified teacher but needs to get in the 25 percentile. We order a CAT which is just a multiple choice, fill in the bubble sort of test. If you are concerned about your child getting at least a 25% on the test, you can give him the test early in the year. If he does well, it's done. If he doesn't do well enough, you can reorder the test and do it again. Our ds took the test over the course of a week so, although it wasn't his choice and he was not happy to take it, it was done in the least stressful way possible. Just a couple of hours of required work for him for the year, kind of like my doing taxes.

 

If my ds does something that can be considered a science experiment or a learning experience, I take a picture. If he writes a letter to a cousin, I photocopy it. If he dictates a story to me (like a premise for a computer game), I save a copy. Those things end up being his "portfolio." I show a selection of those things to a certified teacher that I've chosen who understands the concept of unschooling and she writes a letter to the school district.


Edited by 4evermom - 8/30/12 at 8:51am
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

To home school in Ohio here are the requirements
 
You send a letter of intent to homeschool to the superintendent including:
Your name and address, child's name and birthdate.
Assurance you'll cover language, reading, spelling, writing, geography, history of the United States and Ohio, government, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts (including music), first aid,  safety, and fire prevention - religious exemptions apply if any subject is a legitimate problem for you.
Outline of curriculum and books and materials
Assurance of 900 hours of schooling time (150 6 hour days or 180 5 hour days)
Your qualifications (HS diploma or GED)
 
At the end of each year you provide test scores or a certified teacher's approval and narrative about a portfolio of work. 
 
The curriculum can actually be loose and child directed, but at least have some learning materials on hand to say something about it. Count everything that turns out to be educational. Try to generate some papers and such while you go about things and find a flexible teacher to sign off on it at the end of the year.

And what happens with these?  In WA, no one actually looks at and judges the results.  As a parent we are required to correct any deficiencies, but there is no one looking over our shoulder and no one sees test scores except the parent.  

 

By "signing off" does that mean an approval to continue next year, or just that everything required was included?  

 

So, what happens with this in Ohio?

post #7 of 12
There are websites with helpful info, like nhen.org (national home educators network) and ohen.org (Ohio home educators network). Forms are available through ohen. Get to know seasoned homeschoolers in your area. Libraries and bookstores are good places to meet them. I agree, think of it as homeschooling legally, and unschooling as a way of homeschooling.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

And what happens with these?  In WA, no one actually looks at and judges the results.  As a parent we are required to correct any deficiencies, but there is no one looking over our shoulder and no one sees test scores except the parent.  

 

By "signing off" does that mean an approval to continue next year, or just that everything required was included?  

 

So, what happens with this in Ohio?

The website I looked at with the Ohio laws says one of three things has to be submitted at the end of the year. The results of a standardized test (must get in the 25% to not raise eyebrows), a written narrative by a certified teacher, or an alternative academic assessment as agreed upon by the parent and school district...  OK that actually sounds much simpler than my state! 

 

This is the stuff for the end of the year cut and pasted below. You can go to the site to read the list of what needs to be submitted for the upcoming year (intended curriculum, etc).

http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/3301-34 

 

 

(A) The parent(s) shall send to the superintendent an academic assessment report of the child for the previous school year at the time of supplying subsequent notification.

(B) The academic assessment report shall include one of the following:

(1) Results of a nationally normed, standardized achievement test.

(a) Such test shall be administered by:

(i) A licensed or certified teacher; or

(ii) Another person mutually agreed upon by the parent(s) and the superintendent; or

(iii) A person duly authorized by the publisher of the test.

(b) Results should demonstrate reasonable proficiency as compared to other children in the district at the same grade level. Any child that has a composite score at or above the twenty-fifth percentile shall be deemed to be performing at a level of reasonable proficiency.

(2) A written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of the child’s work has been reviewed and that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities.

(a) The written narrative shall be prepared by:

(i) A licensed or certified teacher; or

(ii) Other person mutually agreed upon by the parent(s) and the superintendent.

(b) The parent(s) shall be responsible for the payment of fees charged for preparation of the narrative.

(3) An alternative academic assessment of the child’s proficiency mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.

(C) If the parent(s) chooses to have the standardized testing conducted as part of the school district scheduled testing program, there shall be no cost to the parent(s). The time and location for testing shall be established by the school district.

(D) If the parent(s) chooses to have the standardized testing conducted privately, the parent(s) shall pay for the testing. The time and location for testing shall be established by the parent(s).

post #9 of 12

I imagine, all a school district is going to do is check off that the required stuff gets submitted. Possibly you could have a hard time if you pick a teacher to do a review who isn't open minded or doesn't understand unschooling. But if your child gets above the 25 percentile, you can just submit test scores.


Edited by 4evermom - 8/30/12 at 9:08am
post #10 of 12

If you get on a chat list or yahoogroup with homeschoolers they have a wealth of information to share with you.  Its not 'as bad' as it seems.  Homeschoolers have a list of academic assessors they use.

post #11 of 12
Started a thread about this a few years ago and got some great examples of the paperwork. We send in 4 pages on each kid at the beginning of the year and they send us a letter back saying we are good for another year.

We don't send in a curriculum. We send in a list of basic materials we plan on using.

I'll try to find the thread.
post #12 of 12
Here is an old thread with samples of what you have to and in. After the first year, you will need an evaluation from a teacher. Ask around to find one who regularly works with unschoolers. Take pictures through the year and save samples (or write stuff down if you're cool like that) to show the teacher. It's not bad at all.

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/947265/ohio-notification-kindergarten
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