I’m Considering Homeschooling

We’re happy to hear you’re considering homeschooling.  As veteran homeschoolers ourselves, we’ve been right where you are.  In fact, we believe we may know some of the questions you’re asking and the potential fears you might have as you consider this journey for your family.

One of your first concerns may be that of wondering if your children will do as well educationally and, later, professionally … if you homeschool.  We’re happy to tell you that studies are very favorable toward positive outcomes.  One particular study of interest might be Homeschooling Across West Virginia which highlights academic achievements and demographic characteristics of West Virginia homeschoolers.

We’ve also assembled a host of resources on this page, from frequently asked questions, to video testimonials of homeschooling families within West Virginia.

While our hope is that of answering your questions and giving you quick access to helpful resources, our first and foremost encouragement is simple.  Pray.

Pray, and remember that the Lord is the One who has blessed you with your children, and He has a plan for you.  Seek Him first for your family.  You’ll never be disappointed.

Am I qualified?

While many public school teachers do an amazing job, student performance nationwide is NOT impressive. Teaching degrees might be useful, but they do not guarantee that students will learn. A WV homeschool study found that students of parents with the lowest level of formal education still posted test scores 20 points higher than the national average. Even the education of a classroom teacher is not always correlated with the success of his or her students according to many studies. Loving relationships with caring adults seem to matter most to a child’s success. Are you willing to sacrifice time and energy for your child? Thousands of successful homeschooled students stand as proof that that works!

How do I cover everything my children need to know?

In a favorite episode of Little House on the Prairie, Laura is dreading going to school and so asks how long “all this learning” is going to take. Ma answers, “We start learning when we’re born, Laura. And if we’re wise, we don’t stop ‘til the Lord takes us home.” Wise words! You won’t cover everything your children need to know any more than schools do. (Actually you might cover more than they would, but I digress.) Your underlying goals should be teaching your children to love learning and to know how to learn! If you do that, they will learn their entire lives! However, if you want a checklist to calm your fears, try Sampson’s What Your Child Needs to Know or the E.D. Hirsch book series, What Your __Grader Needs to Know.

Where do I find curriculum?

That’s a very good question! The good news is that there are MANY options for finding curriculum. If you’re looking for help in choosing curriculum, we recommend you visit our How Do I Choose Curriculum Page. If you would like advice from a veteran, try Cathy Duffy Reviews as a valuable resource in reviews of almost all available curriculum. As for purchasing curriculum, we recommend you first check ebay or half.com for reduced options. You may also find bargain curriculum at the “used book sales” of many homeschool conventions/events. Otherwise, you may either order directly from homeschool publishers or you may find the same titles online on Christianbook.com. We encourage you to check your local library as it is always a great resource for supplemental books to augment your learning! And, lastly, it’s always helpful when you can “borrow” curriculum from other homeschooling families in your area. Here’s a listing of WV Support Groups.

Is the public school required to supply curriculum?

This question is addressed in the WV Law pertaining to homeschooling:

“(3) This subdivision applies to both home instruction exemptions set forth in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection. The county superintendent or a designee shall offer such assistance, including textbooks, other teaching materials and available resources, all subject to availability, as may assist the person or persons providing home instruction. Any child receiving home instruction may upon approval of the county board exercise the option to attend any class offered by the county board as the person or persons providing home instruction may consider appropriate subject to normal registration and attendance requirements.”

Please note – “the county shall offer assistance…..all subject to availability….” Many public schools can use the “subject to availability” clause as a reason for denial of resources to homeschoolers. Most homeschoolers do not request resources from the public school, so this request to the county may be unusual. Upon request, counties who have available resources will loan the student books, but teacher’s books and answer keys are not provided, making it sometimes difficult to use the public school curriculum. The reason is simple – usually only one teacher’s book has been ordered for that year and, of course, the public school teacher is using it.
Will my children grow to become socially awkward?
Oh, this is a fear of many as they consider homeschooling! The good news is that the VERY BEST socialization is when children are given the opportunity to interact with individuals of different ages, from babies to senior adults. And, what better opportunity than homeschooling to give children such a broad exposure! Truly, as the parent, you are responsible for your children’s interaction with others. Modeling hospitality in your home, and demonstrating what it means to be involved and active with others, is where your children learn to be “social.” It’s rare that you could put 4-year-olds in a room together, and hope for a good outcome, absent of parental involvement. The key to socialization is the involvement of loving parents, willing to be involved in every aspect of their children’s lives, shaping them into the person God intends for them to be.

 

Are homeschooled children limited in their higher education opportunities?
According to WV State law, a homeschool high school diploma is a legal option on the same standing as a public school diploma.

‟A person who administers a program of secondary education at a public, private or home school that meets the requirements of this chapter may issue a diploma or other appropriate credential to a person who has completed the program of secondary education. Such diploma or credential is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the person meets the definition of having a high school diploma or its equivalent.”

Colleges and universities often recognize that homeschooled students tend to be exceptional in their academic performance. Their academic strengths, combined with advanced studies and extracurricular activities that often include community service, make homeschooled students great candidates for admission and a successful college career. While homeschoolers vary widely, just like any other group of students, college statistics about homeschoolers are encouraging!
Read more about college admissions here.

What if my child is a special needs student?

IEP’s are not retained once homeschooling begins. If the student is re-enrolled in public school, the IEP process must begin again. However, one of the strengths of homeschooling is the ability to tailor the education to meet the needs of the individual student. One size does not fit all. This is particularly true for children with special needs. Often homeschooling parents of special needs children will work with a certified teacher to determine reasonable goals and strategies that will then be assessed during a portfolio review in the spring. To read the testimony of a WV mom who homeschooled her autistic son, click here. Help is also available on such sites as NATHHAN, but we recommend that you start your journey at HSLDA, reading their advice regarding struggling learners.

Can my children still play sports within the local school system?

W. Va. Code § 18-2-25, establishes the eligibility of homeschool students for public school athletics and extracurricular activities at the school within their attendance zone. Homeschoolers must also satisfy the following requirements:
1) demonstrate “satisfactory evidence of academic progress for one year” as provided in the homeschool exemption statute (§18-8-1(c)); (meet the 4th stanine in the 5 subject areas)
2) enrollment in in at least one virtual course per semester; (must maintain a C average) >br> 3) younger than 19 years of age by August 1st of the current school year;
4) amateur status, i.e., receives no compensation;
5) agreement to comply with “all disciplinary rules” of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) and county board of education; and
6) agreement to obey all WVSSAC rules regarding awards, all-star games, parental consents, physical examination, and vaccinations applicable to high school athletes.

The law also applies WVSSAC transfer rules to homeschool students who withdraw from public schools. In that situation, if the student withdrew from school during the academic year, the newly homeschooled student would be prohibited from participating in sports at that school (or potentially another WVSSAC school) for one year, per WVSSAC regulations. Finally, the law permits the imposition of “reasonable fees” to cover the costs of participation in extracurricular activities.

Based on comments by WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan, the WVSSAC is expected to adopt implementing rules in 2020, which should ensure homeschooler eligibility for the 2020 fall sports season. County boards of education also may adopt special rules in response to this law. These rules could address any other conditions regarding the required virtual school course and the imposition of any participation fees, among other questions potentially left unanswered by the law. Therefore, homeschooling families who plan to take advantage of these new opportunities will need to follow developments on a state and county level in the coming months.

You may need to show the coach your eligibility paperwork – not test scores. Only the attendance director and/or guidance counselor should be shown scores.
You also need to show: immunization records, birth certificate, and two proofs of residency.

Please note: The option to take “x” number of classes is an option to participate in WVSSAC activities. Check with your county to see how many classes they require.

What’s the homeschool law in West Virginia?

To understand the homeschool law in West Virginia, it’s best if you visit the page WV Homeschool Law. Here you will find the answers to all your questions in a single location.

Can I afford to homeschool? Isn’t curriculum expensive?

The good news is that it is VERY possible to homeschool on a shoestring budget! While curriculum can be very expensive, you’ll be happy to know that it is readily available for borrow (from other homeschooling families in your area), at homeschool events/conference “used book” sales, and online at bargain websites such as eBay and half.com. We encourage you to never let the fear of “expense” keep you from homeschooling.

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