From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


8/3/2007 1:22:12 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia--Virginia Beach Withdraws Course Content Description Demand

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

Virginia--Virginia Beach Withdraws Course Content Description Demand

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Virginia Beach Public Schools recently demanded that families submit
curriculum descriptions with their notice of intent that were not
curriculum descriptions at all, but course content descriptions, or
syllabuses. HEAV's Yvonne Bunn and I met with public school
representatives August 1 to discuss this.

The home instruction statute requires that families submit a
"description of the curriculum." For many years, most homeschool
families have followed Home School Legal Defense Association's advice
and submitted a simple list of subjects and a principal textbook for
each subject. This has been accepted nearly universally. (See note
below for Option 3 and Option 4a families.)

Unfortunately, the Virginia Department of Education sowed confusion
last winter by publishing erroneous guidance to school systems. The
guidance consisted of "examples" of curriculum descriptions--but they
were truly course content descriptions, which the law does not
require. Yvonne Bunn and I, and representatives of Organization of
Virginia Homeschoolers, met earlier with Department officials to
persuade them to change their guidance, but to no avail.

The word "curriculum," according to Merriam-Webster's online
dictionary, means "1 : the courses offered by an educational
institution; 2 : a set of courses constituting an area of
specialization." Therefore, to "describe" one's "curriculum" means
nothing more than to list the subjects a student will study in the
course of completing a particular grade in the homeschool program.

While a simple list of subjects satisfies the law, some school systems
have demanded more over the years. In an effort to reach an
understanding with all parties, HSLDA has advised our members to
provide, in addition to subjects, the title and publisher of the
principal textbook to be used in the subject.

Requiring further detail would be pointless. The law does not mandate
that parents teach any particular subjects or cover any particular
content. Since public schools have no power to approve or disapprove
subjects or course content, it is a waste of parent's time to prepare
and file--and officials' time to read--the superfluous details of
course content.

After a lengthy discussion, Virginia Beach officials agreed that they
would accept a list of subjects and a principal textbook for each
subject. They agreed to withdraw their demand for course content

(The Department has waived the curriculum description requirement for
families using Option 3, since they use a program with subjects and
contents which the state has already approved. Option 4a families may
be required to confirm that their program includes the state standards
of learning for language arts and math. Families under the religious
exemption avoid many struggles because they are exempt from filing the
notice of intent.)

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

-> How long are you in for?

Some families are facing what seems like a lifelong commitment to
homeschooling, with children at both ends of the spectrum -- some
graduating and some just reaching school age. If you're going to
be "in" for a while, consider a lifetime membership with HSLDA.
It's a good deal for families with more than 10 years of
homeschooling ahead.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733

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