- Do I have to stick to the county schedule?
- Do I need permission from the school?
- How do I know what to teach?
- What about testing?
- My child has an IEP. What about their Special Education services?
- Where do I get textbooks?
- How do I sign them up for online school?
- What about sports?
- Where do I find an accredited school?
- I signed my child up with an accredited school, so I don’t need to do anything else, right?
- Do I need a teaching certification?
- Can someone else teach my child?
- How long do I have to wait after I send in the NOI?
- What paperwork do I have to fill out?
- Do I need a high school/college/technical school diploma?
- Am I allowed to teach high school children?
- What about graduation?
- How do I issue grades to my child?
- My child is behind/ahead. Do they have to work on their grade level?
- How do I get a copy of their school record?
- Can I use the SAT/ACT for their high school assessment?
No, you don’t. You can teach when, where, and how you want. No minimum amount of days or hours of instruction are required.
You’re not asking for permission from the county board of education when you send in a Notification of Intent. No county approval is required. County superintendents or designees are not charged with conducting personal interviews with home school parents prior to or during home schooling, approving home school, charging fees for home school, etc. However, the county superintendent is bound by law to report any suspected child abuse or neglect to the proper authorities.
What you teach your child is up to you. No public school standards are required. State law does not give the county any authority to approve or deny a plan of instruction or to require any particular format.
Nationwide, there is very little agreement about what to teach children and when to teach it to them. Mostly only math and foreign language have set schedules.
The WV Board of Education and WV Department of Education offer no endorsement of any curricula for home school students. The choice of curriculum is the right of the homeschool parent/provider. A curriculum is a planned interaction of pupils with instructional content. The WV Board of Education has approved the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs) on which public schools develop curricula. Home school parents/providers may use the Next Generation CSOs but are not required to do so.
No standardized tests are required. You must have your child assessed every year by June 30, but you can do that with a portfolio review, rather than with a standardized test. Some tests are useful, to tell you what your child knows.
Counties are requested to allow flexibility in the June 30 date as results of the state testing are not available until after that date. However, it is the decision of the county superintendent to accept assessment results other than those from the statewide assessment after June 30. A county superintendent could indicate to homeschool parent/providers that assessment results would be accepted up to the date the county receives the results of the statewide assessment.
If the home school provider fails to provide the annual assessment, they have not complied with state law. Therefore they can be notified that due to failure to comply with state law the child (children) should be enrolled in public or private school. The county should exercise due diligence in recognizing circumstances that could have contributed to failure to submit the assessment.
No ongoing special education services are required to be provided by the schools. Schools are legally required to provide evaluation for special education services, but not ongoing services. Some counties are more flexible than others, and do provide services. Generally speaking, however, if you withdraw your child from public schools, and then re-enroll them, you must start the IEP process over again.
A free appropriate public education (FAPE) must be available to all students residing in the state between the ages of three to twenty-one, inclusive, who are eligible for special education services. IDEA provides that a duty of FAPE be required of a local education agency to the following groups of students: a) students enrolled in public schools; b) students placed in private schools by public agencies; and c) students placed in private schools by their parents. It is a matter of state law whether students who are home schooled are considered private school students.
Under West Virginia state law, home schooled students are not considered to be private school students and the WV state compulsory attendance law (W.Va. Code §18-8-1) treats home schooled students differently than private school students. The obligation to provide FAPE specified by Policy 2419 does not include home-schooled students.
A Due Process Hearing Decision 11-010, Conclusions of Law, cites Jones v. West Virginia Bd. Of Educ., 218 W.Va. 52, 622 S.E. 2d 289 (W.Va. s. Ct. July 6, 2005) “the West Virginia High court ruled that parents of home-schooled students have voluntarily chosen not to participate in the free public school system and that in making this choice, “these parents have also chosen to forego the privileges incidental to a public education.” Accordingly, WV law does not consider home-school children to be private school students. Under state law, therefore, a local education agency does not owe a duty of FAPE to students who are home schooled.”
Therefore, the availability of FAPE is conditioned upon enrollment in a public school. For example, students enrolled in private schools are not entitled to FAPE or an IEP although the IDEA does have a specific provision for private school students with disabilities that instead of an IEP those students have a Service Plan. However, the provision for a Service Plan is not extended by law or policy to home-schooled students.
No textbooks are always required to be provided by the public schools. Legally, the schools are required to offer textbooks, other teaching materials and available resources, all subject to availability. The county has no obligation to provide either teacher manuals or lesson plans. In practice, since many schools no longer use textbooks or have no extra textbooks, you must buy your own, if you choose to use them.
No online classes are required to be provided by the public schools.
- For many years, WV has permitted homeschool student to attend the West Virginia Virtual School. Based on state-wide, total non-public school enrollment figures, five percent of the WVVS funding allotted for tuition, is made available to non-public school students. If the conditions outlined below are met, and there are non-expended funds still available, the non-public student’s course tuition is funded by WVVS funds. Any tuition funding requests must be made before September 30th for the school year in which it is to be used. Enrollments made after that date, or after funds have been expended, must be funded by the student’s non-public school or parent.
Funding is on a first come, first served, basis until September 30th of the requested school year. WVVS will pay student tuitions as long as funds remain in the five percent non-public school allotment.
The non-public student must enroll in a public school in order to have the appropriate WVEIS numeration and alignment with the pre-registration form prior to enrollment in the virtual class.
The online course may be taken from a home or school location chosen by the student and non-public school; however any assessments that require proctoring must be taken at the school of enrollment.
The facilitator and/ or mentor of record must be from the public enrolling school.
The public school of enrollment will grant credit for the completed online course and this credit may be transferred to a non-public school.
Note that many K12 online courses do not meet NCAA Core Course requirements.
2. Recently, the state of West Virginia decided to open an online public school on a county-by-county trial basis, but this is not homeschooling. If you choose the online public school, you are still subject to all the requirements of attending public schools, including end-of-year testing and vaccination requirements.
No WVSSAC sports are open to homeschoolers. The WVSSAC has opposed opening public school sports to homeschoolers for many years. The West Virginia Supreme Court has also ruled there was no violation of equal protection to homeschoolers in permitting the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Association to require eligible students to be enrolled full-time in a member school. Jones v. West Virginia State Board of Education, et al., 218 W.Va. 52, 622 S.E.2d 289.
No online schools are recognized as being accredited by the state of WV. A homeschool provider may use online resources to deliver the plan of instruction. However, a live instructor (provider) is required and the provider must submit evidence of having at least a high school diploma or GED. If a homeschool provider does use online resources, grades provided by a vendor or results of vendor-assessments do not meet the standard for the required annual academic assessment. It should be further noted that no online schools are recognized in the state of West Virginia for the purpose of issuing a high school diploma.
No teaching certification is required.
No requirement for the parent to be the responsible instructor. A parent could indicate that the provider of homeschool will be someone other than the parent/guardian. When the parent/guardian provides the Notice of Intent, they would also provide the evidence that the homeschool provider has at least a high school diploma or GED.
No waiting period to begin. Prior to 2016, there was a two-week waiting period. This no longer exists.
Nothing in state law compels home school providers to use/submit forms the county may provide. WVHEA does not recommend that you use forms provided by the counties, as they often request more information than is required by law, such as the child’s birth date.
Only a high school diploma or equivalent (equivalent, such as a post-secondary degree or certificate from a regionally accredited institution or from an institution of higher education that has been authorized to confer a post-secondary degree or certificate in WV by the WV CTEC or by the WV HEP) is required for the parent. A copy of the diploma or equivalent is sufficient. It is recommended that the copy be on file in the county office. A copy of a college diploma may also be submitted as satisfactory evidence. As long as the provider does not change from year to year, that information is only necessary to be provided with the initial notice of intent.
No limits on the grades parents can teach. Several years ago, there were limitations, but that law has been changed.
No public school graduations are open to homeschooled students. A homeschool student is withdrawn from public school and therefore does not attend school extracurricular functions that occur during the school day and/or that are planned for/intended for public school students. Some counties may allow public school students to invite a guest to selected functions. If the homeschool student is invited by the public school student and meets the criteria for guest attendance they could attend that function.
No grades are required to be issued by the parent.
No requirement that students work on their grade level (above or below). Students who are homeschoolers are only required to make “progress in accordance with their abilities.”
No public schools may deny parents a copy of their child’s educational record.
Technically, the SAT/ACT do not meet state requirements. However, if you wish to use the “mutually agreed upon assessment” option, send a certified, return receipt letter to the county and ask if the superintendent will accept it.
N.B. Issuing a diploma at the end of grade 12 supersedes the requirement for an annual assessment, because the student has graduated and is no longer subject to compulsory attendance law.
Ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or the members of the Governing Board of WVHEA.