Today many families are seriously considering homeschooling. But the search for valuable information can be overwhelming. West Virginia is a homeschool-friendly state, but it is essential to understand what homeschooling is and what it entails before taking this momentous step.
To homeschool in West Virginia, families must:
- Notify the superintendent each year of their intent to homeschool.
- Provide proof that the homeschooling parent has a high school diploma.
- Submit a summary of the curriculum.
- Submit evidence of the homeschooled student’s education by June 30.
In addition, West Virginia offers parents alternative homeschooling options so that they can choose the one that best suits their child’s and family’s needs. To find out more about homeschooling in West Virginia, we invite you to continue reading.
Many families have questions about the process of getting started with homeschooling in West Virginia. The first thing to know is that there are two legal options for homeschooling in the state.
This is the least popular in West Virginia of the two options available. To gain approval for this alternative, families must:
- Get the school board to approve the curriculum the parents chose.
- Provide a minimum of 180 school days for the student.
- Hold classes at a location approved by the school board.
- Provide all information related to attendance, student progress, and subjects taught whenever requested by the school board.
- Use a method of evaluation that the school site council may direct.
- The school board can reject the homeschooling request based on “good and reasonable justification.
Under this alternative, families must submit a letter of intent to the appropriate county board of education or superintendent of education. In addition to this step, families must also submit:
- Supporting evidence that the parent or primary educator has a high school diploma or equivalent.
- The child’s name, age, and address.
- The curriculum.
- Assurance that the child will study language arts, reading, math, science, and social studies.
- Assurance that the child will participate in the annual educational assessment process by completing a nationally standardized achievement test, the same test offered by the local educational system, or an assessment conducted by a certified teacher.
Suppose you are facing your first homeschooling experience. In that case, you must understand all the angles and responsibilities involved in homeschooling and how it can affect the rhythm of all family members. Some of the things you need to know are:
- The West Virginia Homeschooling Act requires that parents file a notice of intent with the superintendent of their school district.
- Even if you have school board approval to begin homeschooling, you must first contact your current school to withdraw the student. After that, you can start homeschooling.
- West Virginia does not have a minimum number of hours per day for homeschooling.
- There are only five required subjects: science, math, social studies, reading, and language arts.
- West Virginia requires parents to record the student’s annual educational evaluation for a maximum of three years.
- Homeschooled students are required to participate in annual educational assessments.
- If parents wish to re-enroll their child in a public school, they should know that the process changes depending on the school district.
A successful homeschooling curriculum should assist parents in building an educational environment that is both effective and engaging for the student. Every curriculum should be a product of a combination of activities, lessons, interactive experiences, and field trips. The characteristics of a successful curriculum are:
- It should be a group of subjects or courses that help improve the students’ skills.
- It should be a user-friendly program that serves as a roadmap to meet academic objectives.
- It must contemplate tangible, novel, and specialized study materials that contribute to improving the academic experience.
- It should encourage engaging learning environments by including outdoor, community, or group study activities.
When parents know the child’s learning style, it is much easier to have a clear idea of the curriculum. Many parents combine several programs for the student to gain a deeper understanding and retention of the subjects taught.
With so many homeschool curriculums to choose from, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. To help get your search started, we have compiled a small list of some well-known programs other families use. Most companies will offer a free trial period to use the curriculum and make an informed decision. Also, remember to take advantage of free resources available through local libraries, community centers, and recreational facilities.
- K12 is an online option for families wanting to learn from home but still following public school lessons and schedules.
- Schoolhouse Teachers is an excellent source of printable lessons for customizable learning paths. Lesson plans are available for all ages, grades, and learning levels.
- ABC Mouse and Adventure Academy are from the same company and provide an interactive learning environment suitable for preschool through the completion of elementary years.
- Alpha Omega Publications is a Christian-based company that offers printed materials, online learning, or digital curriculum options.
- Khan Academy, Duolingo, Supercharged Science, Curiosity Stream, Carson Dellosa, and Time4Learning are also worth mentioning for budget-friendly and focused learning objectives.
For both types of homeschooling in West Virginia, parents must keep copies of the student’s annual academic evaluation records.
The law states that they must keep these records on file for three years. Parents must submit to the county superintendent these assessments for grades 3, 5, 8, and 11.
In addition to annual evaluations, it is also good to keep detailed records of standardized test results, study materials, progress reports, attendance, and samples of work or projects completed.
If you wish to homeschool a child with special needs, you must comply with state regulations for these cases. However, it is essential to know that there are no additional requirements for homeschooling special needs children.
Another critical thing to know is that in West Virginia, homeschooled students are not eligible to receive special education services from the school district free of charge. For the school district, homeschooled students are not considered private students to be granted access to special services.
West Virginia also does not have a policy that allows homeschooled students to obtain special education funding.
Homeschooled students in West Virginia can access public schools if they meet the eligibility criteria established by regulation. In that case, they could:
- Participate in interscholastic athletic events
- Be part of other extracurricular activities at the public school.
For homeschooled students to have access to these activities, they must meet the following criteria:
- Have made satisfactory academic progress for at least one year.
- Be enrolled in at least one online course.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Agree to the guidelines of the school district and the athletic association.
Homeschooled students may not participate in public school activities near their residence.
Parents of homeschooled students often have concerns about sensitive aspects such as evaluations and student graduation. For this reason, we are going to clear these doubts.
State homeschooling law requires students to have an annual assessment. One way to meet this requirement is through nationally standardized assessments. The West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WEST) is a popular alternative for homeschool teachers.
The parents of the homeschooled student are solely responsible for establishing graduation requirements. The parents also have to issue the high school diploma. In West Virginia, homeschooled students do not have to take an exam to receive their certificates.
Colleges, universities, trade schools, and labor organizations will establish their specific requirements for selecting homeschooled students.
To complement homeschooling, West Virginia offers a host of places to enhance learning and fun.
- Grave Creek Historical Site, Moundsville. This tour will allow you to understand a little more about Native American culture. Visitors can visit the Delf Norona Museum to learn about the Adena people.
- Oglebay Good Zoo, Wheeling. This zoo is the habitat of more than 50 species of animals. Here you can see otters, meerkats, lemurs, and many other species. You can tour the facility on the zoo’s visitor train.
- Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington. This museum is the largest art museum in West Virginia. Here you will find collections of American, European, and Asian art, Haitian paintings and sculpture, wine collections, among other things.
- Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Davis. This visit is ideal for families with a passion for science or nature. It is a wildlife refuge with hundreds of opportunities for observation and photography.
- Green Bank Observatory, Green Bank. This site is home to the world’s largest remote-controlled radio telescope. The observatory offers guided tours of its science center, in addition to exploring its exhibit halls.
Another helpful support for parents in the homeschooling process will be support groups and associations. There are many support groups in West Virginia, so parents will be relieved not to be alone. Some of them are:
- We Are Homeschoolers Support Group.
- Homeschoolers of Jefferson County.
- Central WV Homeschoolers.
- REACH Homeschool Group.
- Monongalia Area Homeschoolers Association.
- Boone County Homeschool Association.
- Tri-State Homeschoolers.
- Eastern Panhandle Homeschoolers.
- Harrison County Homeschoolers R.O.C.K.
West Virginia offers a range of possibilities and alternatives for all families interested in homeschooling. You must comply with all of the necessary regulations to ensure your children and family can enjoy this activity successfully.