How Do You Unschool Your Child Legally? It’s Easier Than You Think!
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
Laws, we are told, are created to protect people, ensuring all citizens have the same rights as his neighbor, thereby creating a sort of human equality. Laws, however, have deviated from the basic moral pursuit of protecting people from harming each other, into creating a massive web of rules that no average person has the will or desire (or likely even the ability) to understand, remember and follow. The only plausible option for living in this age of oppressive laws is to be cautiously aware of those that pertain to you. As a parent, if you’re looking to withdraw your child from the public dumbing system (school system), here are five easy steps to unschooling your child legally.
1) Learn the regulations in your state.
Not all states are created equal when it comes to the freedom to choose to educate outside of the school system. A state such as Illinois is going to welcome your desire to unschool with open arms; North Dakota, not so much. Unschooling is sort of like an informal approach to homeschooling in the eyes of officials. Understanding this is key to being able to unschool your child legally.
With some of the freer states, all that is required for unschooling is supplying an affidavit to the school superintendent where you reside containing the name, date of birth, address, phone number, and proof identity (a birth certificate will do). Upon submission, you will be considered more or less a “private school,” in which you can teach how ever you feel suits you and your child.
2) Use the Coalition for Responsible Home Education as a resource.
Once you’ve researched your local regulations, properly executing the to-do list might seem daunting. The first practical step you can take is to head to the CFRHE website for live chat, various printable forms, and forums whose purpose is to support you in your goal of legally achieving freedom from public schools. This advocacy group is a one-stop-shop for all of the questions you might have after reviewing the regulations in your specific state. Based out of Massachusetts, one of the strictest homeschooling states in the country, they have an ax to grind on the issue, and don’t want to see a single child denied the right to withdraw from the antiquated brick and mortar schoolhouses.
3) Empower yourself with knowledge.
There are several books on unschooling (insert link here to top five list), however How To Report Unschooling To School Officials by Patrick Farenga is a must-read before trying to tackle the superintendent of your local school. The book will arm you with practical information and prepare you to make your case (should it be necessary). Taken from the book, “you don’t have to use the Common Core or other standard curricula; as long as your children learn to read, write, and calculate it won’t matter how and where they learned to do so,” a truth no school official could argue with.
Attending the Family Camp at Anarchapulco won’t hurt either. At the event, you’ll be able to make real friends in the flesh and share in the excitement and enthusiasm from their stories. Aside from the fantastic line up of speakers, you’ll be able to make connections that you can carry with you back home. There’s nothing better than meeting like-minded individuals and feeding off of each other’s positive energy and spirit. Bring the kids too! At Family Camp, they will have the unique opportunity to meet other children from around the globe and experience their cultures. There’s no way you’ll leave Anarchapulco without meeting a few new friends! Get your tickets here. Don’t forget to add a free ticket for each of your children, too!
4) Keep Track Of Everything.
While unschooling you’re encouraged to allow your child to channel their inner creativity and interests, and direct their education in a way that suits them. However, it’s still recommended that you keep track and document your activities. Create a portfolio for both you and your child to view, that focuses on progress and which includes your plan for promoting growth. This not only acts as a tool to guide your child (not force your child as regular schools do) but also acts as evidence that your child is progressing in his development. Should you live in a state that requires some sort of assessment, this can be used as proof of progress and a show of work that has been completed. Unschooling Mom2Mom has great ideas on how to make this seem less strict such as scrap-booking, creating journal entries, and blogging.
Make sure you know what qualifies as record-keeping in your specific state. States like Maine have special parameters for the documentation of learning.
5) Utilize the power of the internet.
It may seem cliché, but the internet is your best friend when it comes to successfully beginning to unschool. Think of it this way; every unschooling parent had to start somewhere, and many of them have blogs or groups devoted to sharing their experience. A simple search of “unschooling” plus your state will lead you to local groups with real-life experience in your area. Find local groups and events on Meetup.com. Unschooler.com offers support groups and links to lead you in the right direction should you encounter any snags. The most exciting thing about unschooling is that the parents that have chosen this route are so enthusiastic and helpful. You’ll never feel alone in this adventure. They will be able to help you learn to unschool your child legally as well!
The legality of anything we do is subject to those in charge of upholding the law, but as long as you play loosely by the rules you should have no problem. There are thousands of happy, healthy children whose parents have learned how to unschool legally and who, as a result, get the benefit of learning in more natural environments. Don’t let fear hold you or your children back. Remove them from the child abuse that is public school TODAY!