How Do I Begin to Homeschool My Kids in 2020? Webinar

It is almost back to school time and many families in our area are still unsure of what that looks like for them this year.

How do I homeschool my children?. . .  Where do I start?. . .

Learn the differences between homeschooling and virtual schooling. Find out what legal steps you need to take to homeschool your child in Virginia. There will be a time for questions regarding curriculum, field trips, and more!

Megan from the Morning Show and Anne Miller from HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia) discuss the many benefits and blessings of homeschooling in such an uncertain time.

Additional Viewer Questions:

  • Can you give the website again?

  • if the homeschooling doesn't go well, can we re-enroll the student in the public school?

    Yes, you have the option to return to public school after homeschooling. Your child may be asked to take a placement test or their may be other procedures in your school district. A call to the school guidance counselor ahead of time would be wise. Returning during high school is more difficult.

    https://heav.org/blog/2018/01/17/return-high-school/

  • I have turned in my letter of intent to the school district, do I also need to notify the state?

    No, notification to the superintendent is all that is required by the law. They represent the state.

    https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/22.1-254.1/

  • What if my kid is coming from private school and its after August 15, do I have to turn in a notice of intent?

    Yes. You may begin homeschooling after the deadline if you decide after August 15. Follow the same procedures.

    https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title22.1/chapter14/section22.1-254/

  • Is there any lag time between when you submit your notice of intent and when you can start homeschooling if you decide to pull your kids out mid-semester?

    It is important that you comply with the law BEFORE you remove your child from the school system.

    https://heav.org/blog/2019/02/04/homeschooling-mid-year-starting-immediately/

  • I just want to clarify. The due date for the August 15 letter of intent isn't really all that meaningful because you can actually decide whenever you want to pull your child out of school to so do and to choose to homeschool? Thanks! - mom of rising kindergartener

    Any child age 5-18 has to be in either public school, private school or homeschooled. As long as your child is in school you can decide to begin homeschcool at anytime during the school year. Otherwise the August 15 deadline is important.

  • How do you choose a Co-op or does a co-cp choose you?

    You choose a co-op , but must agree with their requirements in order to participate.

    https://heav.org/homeschool-support-group/

  • Have you seen an increase in homeschooling for this upcoming school year due to COVID?

    Yes. A huge increase.

  • I live in Virginia. If I choose an accredited homeschooling program like Seton Home Study, which is considered a private school, do I still need to notify my Superintendent?

    If your child is enrolled as a private school student, and the school keeps all records and grades and offers a diploma, then your child is considered a private-school student and not a homeschool student, so you do not need to file a NOI.

    https://heav.org/blog/2017/07/21/qa-private-online-school-vs-correspondence-course/

  • Why are groups needed?

    Groups are helpful in getting together with other homeschool families in your area for field trips, supplemental classes , sports, etc. You don’t have to be part of a group, but it can make the journey easier when you connect with likeminded families.

    https://heav.org/homeschool-support-group/

  • How can I determine which homeschooling curriculums allign with the VA state standards of learning (SOLs)? I only see limited descriptions online and I’m not sure how to evaluate the curriculum without actually purchasing it and going through it myself.

    There are so many materials available, however, they are not based on the Virginia SOLs. You can ask the publisher for a scope and sequence, which may be helpful in matching up objectives. Homeschooler families don’t need to teach to the SOLs, but if you are planning to send your child back next year, check with your school for their requirements for returning.

  • How do you prove your child has successfully completed a course? What if you complete the curriculum in less than the alloted time of a regular school course?

    The only proof of progress that is required by the law is the annual end of year testing or evaluation to show that your student is working at or above grade level. Your child can finish the course as quickly as they like! It can be a great incentive if they know they can finish early.

    https://heav.org/virginia-homeschool-laws/testing/evaluation-options/

    https://heav.org/blog/2010/12/01/how-much-grade-keeping-is-required/

  • Can you recommend some good parenting books or resources?

    Anything by Dr. Kathy Koch and Dr. James Dobson, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman

  • Transition from homeschooling back into the public schools system. Is there a lot of paperwork to complete and how long does it take for the transition to occur: two weeks? One month? This is if homeschooling isn’t working out. Or if we end up going back IN to school.

    The transition can be immediate, but the paperwork is up to the school; testing for grade placement may be required. Check with your local school for the exact details since each district is different.

  • What if we decide to put out kids back in public school next school year? What testing is required if homeschool program is not accredited? (How do I make sure my children are learning what they’ll be tested on?)

    Your child may have to take a placement test which is typical for any new student. If you are concerned about course content, you can find the SOL requirements on the VDOE website, but you should ALWAYS check with your school to see what they will require. EVERY district has their own requirments.

  • What is the average cost to homeschool?

    The cost of homeschooling depends on an array of variables depending upon your budget. I know families who homeschool for $0 using the library and online resources, and I know others who spend thousands on accredited programs and tutors. The average cost is $600 per student per year.

  • With 4 kids to teach (one in 6th) 3 in elementary school. I struggled giving them the attention they needed with remote learning thru public school in the spring. Suggestions for how I could meet very individual needs of multiple kids at once? I would work with one and another would be calling for help. They would lose focus as i bounced around and everyone ended up frustrated.

    With homeschooling you can combine subjects like science & history, giving assignments that are age appropriate. Use a unit study approach such as Konos, or Valerie Bendt, Unit Studies May Easy. Organization tips:

    https://heav.org/blog/2020/04/07/stressless-organization/,

    https://heav.org/blog/2018/02/28/pick-homeschool-curriculum/

    We suggest you begin by focusing on math and language arts and help your children gain mastery in these areas. Do read alouds and projects with all grade levels together. Creating a routine and using nap/quiet times to work one-on-one with your older student also can work well. You can also do one-on-one when dad comes home, too.

  • I have a high schooler taking higher math, I am scared to homeschool due to me not being able to teach this higher math. He is not a strong math student as well so it’s not like he would be able to teach himself.

    You could trade off a difficult subject with another homeschool parent who is strong in the subject. You could use a college or high school student or find a professional tutor locally or possibly here:

    https://heav.org/resources/counselors-testers-and-tutors/.

    You could also enroll in a teaching co-op. Look for one in your area:

    https://heav.org/homeschool-support-group/

    You could use an interactive, online course or a DVD series.

  • What would you consider good literature for smaller children that will keep them engaged? is there a list?

    I recommend a wonderful book call Honey for a Child’s Heart. It has recommendations for all ages with short book reviews.

  • What about help with kids with dyslexia?

    I have a dyslexic son and The Gift of Dylsexia was a life-changer for us both.

    https://tandemlearning.co/About;

    http://www.learndifferently.com/

    https://heav.org/resources/counselors-testers-and-tutors/;

    Child Diagnositics – diannecraft.org; spedhomeschool.org (EXCELLENT site)

  • Do you have to have specific curriculum for a kindergartener?

    There are so many! My Father’s World, Five in a Row, Sonlight, Simply Charlotte Mason are a few great programs.

    https://heav.org/blog/2012/02/29/what-your-child-should-know/

    any phonics reading program

    https://heav.org/blog/2019/02/18/learning-with-legos-boosts-literacy/

  • Do you have to do a notice of intent leaving a private school?

    Yes. You must comply with the law if you choose to homeschool.

  • Is there a test to show success that is better than other?

    Any nationally normed standardized achievement test is fine.

    https://heav.org/virginia-homeschool-laws/testing/resources/choosing-standardized-tests/

  • How do we know whether to buy a $100 book from a known program vs a $2 book from Walmart? How do we know which agencies are legitimate?

    cathyduffyreviews.com is a great place to sort out curriculum providers. I used $1.99 LaidLaw math workbooks from the ’60s & ’70s because I knew they covered all the basics my kids would learn in those grades. (I did peek at the SOLs.) There are some inexpensive all-in-one books you can use — just think how to supplement with hands-on learning that reinforces what they are learning. With the inexpensive workbooks I used, I also bought manipulatives to help them work through concepts concretely.

    https://heav.org/blog/2018/02/28/pick-homeschool-curriculum/

  • What role do grandparents play in the teaching to give relief to the parent?

    A parent may obtain help from a grandparent as well as a tutor or co-op. Grandparents can be a GREAT help in teaching, reading aloud, field trips, and other learning experiences, as well as child care! They can also teach skills like gardening, cooking, mechanics–whatever they love and want to share! One son rebuilt a backhoe-loader with his grandfather when he was about 15 — it was a tremendous learning and bonding experience. The parent would file the Notice of Intent.

  • On our NOI, can we just list math, reading, science, and social studies- to be general on the subjects? For example, I have an upcoming 8th grader- and I believe he would be in 8th grade math- not like algebra class, etc.?

    Yes, just subjects to be taught (math, science, art, language arts, social studies, P.E., etc.)

    https://heav.org/begin-homeschooling/notice-of-intent/curriculum-description/

  • Do we need to to running records of assessments throughout the year on subject matters to show progress in addition to the end of year testing assessments?

  • If this a long term plan with multiple kids, did you save money by re-using the books you had already from previous years?

    Yes, I did! We did have to replace consumables like workbooks.

  • I am home schooling my rising 8th grade daughter for the first time in the fall. She was hoping to stay in Spectrum (the gifted class) and an art class at school and take all the other classes with me. But the school says she can not go part time to the school unless she takes high school credit classes, even though she’s been a public school student all her life. Is this really the legal way?

    Each school has its own policies regarding part-time enrollment. It is up to the local division. Most part-time classes are taken at the high school level, not prior to 9th grade, but again, it is up to the school.

  • SPED - what does that stand for …what should i look for when I google it?

    It may mean SPecial EDucation, but without knowing the context it is difficult to say. There IS a tremendous website for stuggling learners: spedhomeschool.com. It may be the term used in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that is defined as specially designed instruction to increase the student’s chances for success.

  • How do I diagnose/assess where my child is? What level they are at? My child was in a Montessori program prior and I feel like he may be bored with my curriculum’s 1st grade math program.

    That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling–your child can go at their own rate. Too easy? Move to the next grade. Too challenging? Step back a level. Gradel level is irrelevant — mastery is the goal! You can find an accessment test that is only for your use by having her take a basic skills test for grade placement. You can complete the test online:

    http://www.basicskills.net/ELOQuick_Assessment.html.

  • Do you have a check list?

    Not sure what kind of checklist — here are seven important steps in order to begin:

    https://heav.org/begin-homeschooling/how-to-start-homeschooling-in-virginia/

  • Do you have to do a notice of intent leaving a private school?

    Yes. According to §22.1-254.1 (A), a parent must submit a Notice of Intent to the division superintendent by August 15 each year he provides home instruction.

    https://heav.org/begin-homeschooling/notice-of-intent/

  • We are currently enrolled in a private school that will only offer full time in-class education with no option for distance learning. My question is, would I still send my NOI to my local school superintendent? We have never been enrolled in public schools and did not inform the public school of our enrollment in private school (which I hope was the correct thing to do).

    If you are enrolled in a private school, you are not required to file a Notice of Intent to Homeschool because your child is not a homeschooled student. Nothing has changed.

  • Can a homeschool child use the resources from public school? counselor, learning disability?

    Most services are only for students that are enrolled in the public school; however, each district has limited budget money to serve the community, i.e., private and homeschool students. They usually offer OT and speech therapy only. They will take a limited number of students based on funding limits. Check with the school to see what, if anything, they have to offer.

  • Can you please list a good online resource for types of learning styles?

  • Does a homeschooling senior graduate with diploma or GED?

    A homeschool student will graduate with a homeschool diploma generated and signed by the parent. It is accepted by colleges, the military, and the workforce. We do not recommend getting a GED as there is still a stigma attached, and they are not well-received by the military and some employers.

  • On our NOI, can we just list math, reading, science, and social studies- to be general on the subjects? For example, I have an upcoming 8th grader- and I believe he would be in 8th grade math- not like algebra class, etc.?

    Yes, that is correct–only list the subjects you plan to teach, not the books or grade levels.

  • What about the 504? We have one in place for my son. Would that just need to be reviewed next year? It is reviewed bi-annually anyway.

    Yes, the school would review the plan again if your child re-enrolls in public school.

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