December 1, 2020

Homeschool Laws in West Virginia

An Overview of West Virginia Homeschooling Regulations

Homeschooling in West Virginia is becoming more and more popular. Find out the laws that you need to follow in order to continue homeschooling in this state.

his article is a basic overview of the regulations for homeschooling in West Virginia. Please be sure to check with the West Virginia Department of Education to get specific requirements or your local homeschooling organization to connect with other homeschoolers who share your values and goals for homeschooling your children.

Home School Parent Education Requirements

West Virginia allows for two options when starting a home school. The first option is to get approval from a local school board. The second option is to simply notify the school board of the existence of your home school. The notification option only requires the parent to have a high school diploma. The approval option requires the parent to simply be deemed qualified to teach by the local superintendent and school board.

Forms and Paperwork Required

The approval option may require paperwork, depending upon the specific approval process in any given school district. The school board may also request to see attendance, instruction, and academic progress records, so such items must be maintained. The notice option requires that the written notice includes the name of the person that intends to provide the home instruction, as well as the documentation of a high school diploma or equivalent record received by the instructor. The name, age, address, and grade level of the child involved, and an outline of the year’s plan of instruction must also be included in the notice. There is no special form that must be used for this written notice. The notice must be submitted no later than two weeks before homeschooling can begin.

Kindergarten Home School Requirements

Compulsory attendance in West Virginia begins at the age of six years old, so generally speaking, a home school is not required to have a kindergarten. The exception is if a child younger than six started to attend kindergarten in a public school. If that occurred, then that child is now bound by the compulsory attendance law, and home school records must be maintained in the same fashion as they are for all other home school children, depending on the option that the parents have chosen to follow.

Testing Requirements

Home schools that work under the approval process are not required to submit any testing results. Those that choose the notice option have testing requirements placed upon them. The first testing option is to have the child take a nationally normed standardized test. The parent cannot be the proctor of the test, and the chosen test cannot be one that is ten years or older. The test must cover math, science, social studies, reading, and language.

If the parent chooses to have her child take the same standardized test as the local school, then the public school must pay for it. Otherwise, the parent must pay any costs. “Acceptable progress” must be shown by the child by scoring in the 50th percentile or better, or progress must be made from the year before. A home school child may also participate in the state testing program. In this event, the child must take the test at the local public school. The home school child must perform at the level that the state expects all children at that grade level to perform in order for “acceptable progress” to be shown.

A student portfolio is another assessment option for the home schools that simply gave notice of their existence. The portfolio would need to be reviewed by a certified teacher, (the teacher certification number must be on the paperwork), and then that individual would need to write an assessment narrative. The narrative must mention the instruction that was received in the areas of math, science, social studies, reading, and language, that “acceptable progress” has been achieved by that child, and must note any areas of difficulty or necessary remediation.

An alternative assessment can also be used if the parent and the superintendent agree that it is appropriate. Any time a child does not perform acceptably, the parent will receive written notification from the county that there is a problem. Some form of remediation must then be put into place. If it happens again for a second time, then further proof will be required to show that acceptable instruction is going on. At that point, the superintendent can seek an order from the circuit court denying any home school activity from taking place in that family.

Other Useful Information

The Christian Educators of West Virginia is an organization that you may find helpful in your homeschooling experiences. Also, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for up-to-date laws in West Virginia.

This article provides a basic overview of homeschool regulations in the State of West Virginia and is not intended to be considered as legal advice. A full copy of the West Virginia statutes for homeschooling is available by the West Virginia Legislature and should be consulted by those planning to homeschool in this state.

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