Editor’s Note: A change in the law since this article was written can be found here: https://chewv.org/public-school-re-entry.
The short answer is yes. The more pertinent question, though, is under what conditions? While only your county school system can answer that question (after all, you’re wanting to return to their system), we provide some relevant considerations below.
First, the school has authority to decide whether to award credit for any homeschooled class your child has taken – or, for that matter, any class at all, such as ones taken in another state’s public school or in a private school.
Because there are so many families who are thinking of homeschooling temporarily this year, it may be helpful that the WV Board of Education has newly required all counties to have a homeschool policy via WVBE Policy 2510:
CBEM shall develop a policy for the process of enrolling a home school student into a public school. Students entering the county in grades K‑8 may join their age appropriate cohort, or the county may utilize a combination of methods to determine appropriate placement. For high school students the county may choose to use testing or other methods for placing the student in the grade level deemed most appropriate or for issuance of credits. The final decision of acceptance of high school credits while homeschooling will be at the discretion of the county.
Historically, re-entering the school system has not been an issue except for first grade and high school. Kindergarten is compulsory in WV, and many counties have required 6-year-olds who enter public school after homeschooling kindergarten to repeat kindergarten. Other counties will place the child in first grade IF a kindergarten Notice of Intent was submitted and an assessment was completed.
No county, however, will accept homeschooled high school credits easily. Some have policies in place that allow homeschoolers to take tests demonstrating subject mastery. Others don’t. This new state policy does require them to disclose a county policy for homeschool re-enrollment.
Re-entering all other grades has been easy in prior years. Mostly due to funding issues, counties have not only welcomed homeschoolers back at grade level in the past, they have looked for reasons to require it. However, as noted already, they are not legally required to put homeschoolers back at grade level but “may utilize a combination of methods to determine appropriate placement.” This could conceivably mean that what has always been done in the past may not be done in the future. Still, with funding at risk, it seems reasonable that making it too difficult would not be to their advantage.
Last and most important is our challenge to reconsider returning at all. Homeschooling provides a unique opportunity to let your children progress according to their abilities. He/she can fly forward in one subject while tackling another at a slower pace. Grade levels morph and blur when instruction is tailored to the student’s aptitude and interests. One size doesn’t fit all, which is a major reason why home tutoring is more effective than group learning.
Additionally, a homeschool diploma does not limit a graduate’s options. Most colleges have long since realized that homeschool graduates are often better prepared for what lies ahead for them. That would explain why they court homeschoolers and freely accept them for admission. Neither is home education a detriment for the armed services, employment, or technical degrees.
Last, but far from least, homeschooling affords you the opportunity to educate through a proper worldview. As Christians, we should realize that the fear of the Lord is the very beginning, or starting point, for knowledge.** It’s different indeed to send our children to an educational setting where God cannot be legally honored or even acknowledged.
So while the quarantine may have thrust you into a difficult situation, it may turn out to be the blessing you never expected. Homeschooling is not a concession; it’s a viable and strong educational choice!
*We do have to submit to the requirements in the homeschool exemption code.