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Virginia

May 20, 2010

Caution: Public School at Home Programs to Recruit Homeschoolers

The governor’s recent signature on SB 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 time 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 your child will be required to take the Virginia SOL tests. It means the program’s teachers cannot teach your child about God. It means that 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 a moment: They are offering the exact same curriculum to thousands of students. One curriculum can’t possibly be best for all of them!

Of course, they will tell you 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 recruiters who are well known local homeschool moms. The person who soon tries to talk you into giving up your freedom and joining one of these programs may actually be your best friend.

HSLDA membership services are not available with respect to a child enrolled full-time 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 pick the right curriculum—and change it as necessary—is a key in helping your child do his best. Homeschool parents personally keep educational responsibility—rather than delegating it to a public school program—and the kids are the winners.

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.

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