The Home School Court Report
No. 5

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Caution: Public-School-at-Home Ahead

A homeschool mom you know and respect could soon give you a heartfelt invitation to turn your homeschooled child into a public school child.

The governor’s recent signature on Senate Bill 738, giving state approval for “virtual school programs,” guarantees that public-school-at-home programs, under various names in different places, will soon ramp up their efforts to recruit homeschoolers.

Participation in these programs—full- or part-time—will immediately turn your child into a public school student. Newly enacted Virginia Code § 22.1-212.27.A says, “Any student enrolled in any online course or virtual program offered by a local school division shall be enrolled in a public school . . . ”

This means (1) your child will be required to take the Virginia Standards of Learning tests, (2) the program’s teachers cannot teach your child about God, and (3) the free books they require you to use must not teach about God.

You will be told that the curriculum is wonderful. But pause to think: the exact same curriculum is being offered to thousands of students. Can one curriculum possibly be best for all of them?

You will also be told that you can “supplement.” But the demands of the mandatory curriculum may swallow up the time and energy of many a well-intentioned parent who told himself he would supplement.

In other states, public-school-at-home programs have hired well-known local homeschool moms as recruiters. The person who soon tries to talk you into giving up your freedom and joining one of these programs may actually be a close friend.

Home School Legal Defense Association membership is not available with respect to a child in a public-school-at-home program.

Homeschool students across the country are achieving outstanding academic results partly because their parents can educate them without public school restrictions and red tape. Your freedom to choose the right curriculum—and change it as necessary—is key in helping your child do his best. And if you want your child to grow up understanding the truth about God, one of the very best things you can do is make sure that your curriculum teaches your child the same truths that you are teaching.

When homeschooling parents retain educational responsibility, rather than delegating it to a public school program, kids are the winners.

— by Scott A. Woodruff