“The problem for us as home school leaders… is that in the minds of many, if you are at home with your kids, the distinction about whether you get state money or not is irrelevant,” lamented HSLDA President Jim Mason as reported in a 2023 Washington Examiner article.
Certainly, “if you are at home with your kids,” everyone thinks of you as a homeschooler. During the pandemic it was claimed that everyone was homeschooling. But that wasn’t true. Most children were public school students doing their work at home. Because they were schooling at home, however, the public at large labeled them “homeschoolers.” Even homeschoolers themselves often made that leap when they were talking or writing.
Why, then, does the “label” matter? It’s because when the public views all students at home as homeschoolers, then so do legislators. And legislators who categorize all children schooling at home in a single, indistinguishable group will begin to pass laws that affect all of them as if they are one homogenous population.
Early in 2018, CHEWV wrote about the vast legal and philosophical differences between public-school-at-home students (a new concept at the time) and homeschoolers. Little did we know that public funding would move closer to home and the line would push toward less and less distinction in 2021.
More than ever before, it’s essential for homeschoolers, and especially homeschool leaders throughout our state, to understand what a legal WV homeschooler is and why each specific exemption from compulsory education stands clearly delineated in the law.
If you are a co-op or support group leader in West Virginia but are not part of our WV Homeschool Leaders Facebook group, please contact Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org. That group is one way we try to get word out to homeschool leaders.