RVA Parenting: How to home school your kids this year

Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The return to school has brought out many opinions about what’s safest for our kids, teachers and families. And as many schools make their choices about how to return to learning, some parents are considering taking on school themselves for 2020.

It’s hard to say what works best for any family; choices are hard this upcoming school year. But there is certainly an uptick in interest in homeschooling, for families who can swing it - and who feel like it’s a good fit for their personal situation.

So, we wanted to help you out with what steps to take, if this is the choice for you. The Virginia Department of Education requires you to provide the school with four things.

  • A notice of intent to homeschool
  • Proof that you are qualified to homeschool- we’ll get to that in a minute.
  • A list of subjects your child will study in the coming year
  • And Evidence of academic progress at the end of the year.

Read the full text here.

As for the proof: Any of these would work, but the easiest one might be a parent with a high school diploma or higher credential. You can also get a prepared curriculum and sign up for oversight of your child, possibly even through distance learning. You can alternately prove you’re ready to teach or meet the qualifications by the board of Education.

This is an important date - you have to tell the superintendent by Aug. 15 about your plans. And keep track of your child’s progress throughout the year.

You have to provide proof your child is learning - one way is through testing. You can also have someone with a teaching license to oversee your work.

It’s also worth noting that the requirement was waived last academic year because of COVID-19.

The Department of Education provides some resources for parents in Virginia interested in homeschooling, like this Home Instruction Handbook or a Sample Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction.

Let’s say a vaccine comes out, and you’re comfortable sending your child to school again. If those circumstances change things for your family putting your child back in school would be the same process as enrolling in a school after the year had started.

This is important - your local school system is not under any obligation to help home school families with selecting curriculum or paying for curriculum - and they have no obligation to oversee your child’s progress. That’s all up to you. You’ll also have to maintain transcripts and records.

Homeschooled children with disabilities are still entitled to services from the school system, but not necessarily at the same level as those who are enrolled.

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