If you're considering homeschooling in Virginia, you should know what you're getting into. Here are some basics you should understand.
| All of the information here comes from the Virginia Department of Education Web site. If you are interested in the legal authorities for homeschooling, you will find them referenced there.|
Virginia law requires students to be educated in public or private school unless they qualify for an approved exception. Being educated at home is one of the approved exceptions.
Fortunately, qualifying is easy. To be deemed qualified to educate a child at home, a parent either needs to:
be a licensed Virginia teacher
provide a program of distance learning or other verifiable curriculum
have a high school diploma or equivalent, or
otherwise show the ability to educate a child.
To get started, you need to notify your school district that you intend to educate at home by no later than August 15 of each year (or as soon as practical for families moving in during the year). The need to provide notification every year has been known to catch people off guard, so don't lose track of this.
By August 1 of each year, you need to be able to demonstrate that your child is making adequate progress. Virginia offers several options for demonstrating progress. You may:
Present a qualifying score on a national standardized achievement test or on the SAT, ACT, or PSAT.
Provide an evaluation letter from a licensed teacher or someone who has an academic Master's degree and is familiar with the student's progress.
There may be other means that your particular school district finds acceptable, so be sure to ask in advance.
Homeschooling means teaching, and teaching is not easy. The good news is, anyone can learn to teach, but you do have to learn to teach. It's not magic.
Too many parents mistakenly believe that they will be handed materials that are ready to use, and that is definitely not the case. The materials you will get from "turnkey" curriculum providers are generally quite good and are ready to be prepared as lessons. You will still need to do that work in order to really get something out of them.
Classroom management is also as important a skill for homeschooling parents as it is for licensed teachers. The flexibility of homeschooling can be a great benefit. It can also be a challenge, as the day-to-day tasks of life crowd into time that should be spent on teaching and learning.
If you decide to educate at home, you'll be joining many people who have made the same choice. Most of them ultimately figured out a way to do it that worked well for their families and circumstances. A lot of them then took the time to share what they learned with others.
Among the resources you may find helpful:
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is one member-directed and volunteer-driven organization that provides support to its members.
Centreville Homeschool Enrichment Support Services (CHESS) offers supplemental small-group classes designed to enrich the homeschool experience with the benefits of social, interactive leaving.
| We offer these links as a helpful starting point. Tutor Ring isn't affiliated with either of these sites, and we haven't reviewed their content, so please be sure to confirm their information independently.|
At Tutor Ring, we believe that great teachers unlock great potential.™ As a cooperative company, we're committed to the principle of self-help through voluntary association and action. That idea is at the core of homeschooling, and you can be a great teacher who unlocks your child's potential.
We want to see you succeed, and we're here to help you.