Homeschooling benefits children and provides parents with time from work while allowing them to stay home and care for their children.
You might decide to start homeschooling for many reasons, whether because of your personal beliefs or those held within your family unit. If you have decided that this is the right path for your family, then there are some steps you will need to take before beginning to teach your children.
Here we’ll discuss what you need to do to get started and other important considerations you may want to know.
To start homeschooling in Virginia, follow these steps:
- Research and familiarize yourself with the homeschooling laws and regulations in Virginia.
- Notify your local school district of your intent to homeschool by submitting a notice of intent or a homeschooling application.
- Keep records of your child’s homeschooling progress, including attendance, instruction, and assessment, and provide them to the local school district upon request.
- Provide instruction in specific subjects as required by Virginia state law.
- Meet the attendance requirements as set by Virginia state law.
- Follow any additional regulations or laws set by your local school district or state.
- Start homeschooling and keep records of your child’s progress.
- Be aware that Virginia requires annual standardized testing for homeschooled students in certain grades.
- Keep in mind that Virginia allows for different types of homeschooling options. You must check with your local school district or the Virginia Department of Education for specific guidelines.
Virginia requires parents to submit an annual evaluation of their child’s progress. This can be done through standardized testing, portfolio evaluation, or evaluation by a certified teacher. It is also necessary to keep records of instruction, attendance, and assessment and provide them to the local school district upon request.
Know The Law
Before you begin to homeschool in Virginia, you must ensure you’re following all the laws regarding homeschooling. You can learn how to comply with these regulations on the VA Department of Education website.
Once you’ve confirmed the relevant statutes, you can proceed to Step Two – sending in your Notice of Intent.
Send In Your Notice Of Intent
The next thing you need to do once you’ve determined that you want to homeschool is send in your Notice of Intent (NOI) to your local school division. This document states that you intend to educate your children outside of traditional public schools. It includes information such as your name, address, phone number, and email address, along with a brief outline of the type of educational program you plan to provide.
Your NOI doesn’t require any specific format, but it does ask that you include the names of all people involved in educating your children. For example, if you use online resources to help your kids learn, you would list yourself, and whoever else assists in providing instruction.
You’ll also need to submit copies of your children’s birth certificates, immunization records, and proof of residency, along with two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your children’s academic abilities.
These letters don’t require any particular formality, just something that describes your relationship with each person and gives an opinion about your ability to homeschool your children effectively.
If you live in an area without a local homeschool group, you could consider joining one like Homeschoolers of Virginia (HEAV). They offer weekly meetings and social activities so that you can connect with other families with similar interests. Members receive a quarterly newsletter and access to free books and other materials.
They also offer free workshops throughout the year covering topics related to homeschooling, including testing, field trips, budgeting, and safety issues.
Assemble Your Curriculum Or Method Of Study
Now that you’ve sent in your NOI, you can move on to assembling your curriculum or method of study. Several options are available to you depending on which approach you’d prefer. Some families purchase pre-made curricula that they customize according to their children’s needs.
Others go the DIY route and create their lessons using various sources of online content. Whatever choice you make, it’s important to remember that you still have to adhere to the general standards the VA Department of Education sets forth.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need to assemble everything into a binder that you will keep handy when working with your children. You’ll also need to develop lesson plans which describe exactly what you’ll be doing during each period of the day.
For instance, if you plan to teach math through playtime, you’ll need to write down the game rules you chose and explain how your children will be expected to follow them. Then you’ll need to develop ways to assess whether or not they did things correctly. Finally, you must put together tests and quizzes to measure their performance.
This process takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re going the DIY route. However, it allows you to tailor your curriculum to your children’s needs and ensures that you’re constantly adhering to the VA Department of Education guidelines.
At this point, you should have assembled everything you need to begin teaching your children. Now comes the most exciting part – getting started!
When preparing to teach your children, giving them ample opportunity to practice the skills, they’re being taught is essential. This way, they’ll become comfortable with new concepts and retain them better over time.
It’s also important to note that no matter your teaching experience, you shouldn’t feel pressured to rush through the early stages of homeschooling. Remember that every kid learns differently and requires different methods of instruction. So even though you may think you’re ready to jump straight into full-fledged classes, try to pace yourself and allow your kids to master each concept at their own pace.
Don’t forget to review the basics periodically to ensure your students stay on track. This means checking off assignments, ensuring homework gets done, and keeping tabs on overall progress. If something isn’t working, adjust accordingly and continue moving forward.
It’s important to realize that teaching your children is not just about giving instructions. It’s also about showing them how to apply those skills to solve problems. So encourage your kids to look at situations from multiple perspectives and develop creative solutions.
Send In Proof Of Progress By August 1st
Next, you must send proof of progress by August 1st. This consists of submitting reports from your children’s teachers describing their academic and social achievements. While the exact details vary depending on the age of your children, you should expect to receive regular updates on their progress until they reach high school.
Remember that homeschooling is supposed to be flexible, so you won’t necessarily be required to send in test scores unless you wish to. But if you choose to send in standardized assessments, you’ll need to do so on a schedule specified by your local school district.
In addition to submitting grades, you should also submit photos of your children playing sports and attending special events. These pictures are excellent reminders of accomplishments made during the previous semester and demonstrate to everyone that your children are growing and thriving.
Finally, check with your local school division to determine when to complete your Annual Report of Home Instruction. This report contains detailed descriptions of your children’s progress, including transcripts of their exams and other important documents.
Connect With Families Already Homeschooling
One of the new homeschoolers’ most significant challenges is finding others willing to answer questions about the process. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can turn for advice and encouragement.
You can join a local homeschool organization like Homeschoolers of Virginia (HEAV), attend a meeting, or talk to someone you know who is currently homeschooling. Either way, you’ll soon discover that many other families are eager to share ideas and experiences with you.
You can also search for local homeschool Facebook pages and groups and join them to interact with other homeschoolers in your area. Many groups host forums where members can post questions and exchange ideas.
These connections are crucial since they’ll allow you to gain insight into the homeschooling lifestyle and provide valuable tips on successfully navigating the journey ahead.