Is unschooling legal? - Mothering Forums

Is unschooling legal?

elvenpath's Avatar elvenpath (TS)
08:10 AM Liked: 11
#1 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 147
Joined: Jul 2007
seriously, i'd like to know. It seems pretty interesting but I don't understand how it could be legal...
JustJamie's Avatar JustJamie
08:14 AM Liked: 5
#2 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 2,629
Joined: Apr 2006
Why would it not be legal?
JustJamie's Avatar JustJamie
08:20 AM Liked: 5
#3 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 2,629
Joined: Apr 2006
Coming under the umbrella of home education, unschooling is legal in every state, though some regulate it more than others. The only common requirement is that students meet compulsory attendance rules.

In states with the most permissive regulations — many of them in the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan and Nebraska — the idea of unschooling has flourished in recent years, with families forming online communities, neighborhood-based support groups and social networks for their children...

...Only 25 states have testing or evaluation requirements for home-schoolers, so it is difficult for researchers to get a representative sample of students to even begin to answer their most basic questions about unschooling. And among home-schoolers, unschoolers bristle the most at the thought of standardized testing.
Link to full article
elvenpath's Avatar elvenpath (TS)
08:47 AM Liked: 11
#4 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 147
Joined: Jul 2007
Thank you, I was just wondering as the concept just sounds like it's not school at all. And I know not schooling your children is illegal. Thanks for clarifying that for me.
MaShroom's Avatar MaShroom
09:29 AM Liked: 0
#5 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 1,519
Joined: Jan 2003
You're right in that it is not "school". But learning and education don't have to go hand in hand with school...
Jennsmile's Avatar Jennsmile
09:33 AM Liked: 0
#6 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 19
Joined: Jan 2005
Unschooling is legal.

LeftField's Avatar LeftField
10:08 AM Liked: 11
#7 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 2,490
Joined: Aug 2002
Originally Posted by elvenpath View Post
And I know not schooling your children is illegal. Thanks for clarifying that for me.
Not *educating* your children is illegal, school or quasi-school set-ups are not required.
lauradbg's Avatar lauradbg
10:24 AM Liked: 10
#8 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 1,099
Joined: Oct 2004
Unschooling's emphasis is about the children learning, when they're ready to, whatever they are drawn to learn. It isn't about teaching. Unschooled kids learn a lot every day, but no one will have the same "curriculum". Just as different school districts get different materials and so have different lessons, unschooled kids each learn what they need to learn, different from one another. It is a natural timetable for learning, it's not a lack of learning.

Unschoolers may become fluent, easy readers at age 9, not 6 or 7. However, in the meantime, they may have honed unbelievable listening skills or visual. They have grown in the ways that are natural to them, but may not be valued in a one-size-fits-all classroom filled with 25 other same-age kids. And by the time they're 17 or 18, no one would know when they learned to read and it would not matter. What they will have missed is struggles with ideas they're not ready to learn or have no need to learn. They have soaked up the world in ways that make sense, are meaningful and will be remembered.

Do you (generic you, not you OP...)remember all of the information you were tested on in school? Do you remember the stuff on the tests you aced? No? Me either, but I wasn't unschooled. Instead I went to school and had to learn (really parrot back) things that there was no context for. So, I didn't really learn the stuff; at best, I remembered it enough for a test. Is that learning?

The premise for the OP's question is that kids need to be taught (or taught the exact same things in the same order) in order to learn. Nope. Untrue, and lots of times counterproductive. There is no one set of knowledge that everyone must have. Or have they whittled all of the majors in colleges down to one? I didn't hear about that...
mary3mama's Avatar mary3mama
11:02 AM Liked: 29
#9 of 11
09-12-2007 | Posts: 2,256
Joined: Apr 2004
I think what you're getting from these responses is that there is a HUGE difference between unschooling and educational neglect. (no matter what its detractors say )

At least in our case, I am very aware of where my children 'are' in their interests and skills and work to make sure that we are moving forward. Their days are primarily self-led, but that doesn't mean they are not learning.

I think unschooling may be made more complicated (at least for the adult facilitator) by state regulations that require that things be documented and quantified...but even then, it's possible.

Now, convincing skeptical husbands...that's another story...
08:35 AM Liked: 0
#10 of 11
06-04-2014 | Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2014
I am wondering. What are the 25 states that have testing requirements for homeschoolers/unschoolerers?
SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver
08:50 PM Liked: 3693
#11 of 11
06-09-2014 | Posts: 5,258
Joined: Apr 2011
I am not sure when this webpage was updated compared to the age of this thread (2007), but it lists 22 states in which testing (or evaluation in place of testing) is required:

I'm in one of those states, Washington. But our scores are for the parent's use only. There isn't even anyone tracking whether students have actually taken any test.
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