September 18, 2003

Certified to teach, licensed to confuse

Virginia homeschoolers are blessed to have several options under which they may homeschool their children. Two of them however, are superficially very similar, sometimes resulting in confusion.

Recently a Carroll County member family filed a notice of instruction under the qualified tutor or teacher statute, referring to Virginia Code section 22.1-254 (A) as the basis of their notice. This statute provides that the compulsory attendance law is satisfied when a student is taught under a certified tutor or teacher. It does not require an annual notice or evidence of progress.

In response, however, the school system sent the family a "home school" packet and erroneously asked them to submit a progress report at the end of the year. The school system behaved as if the family were operating under the certified teacher option of the home school statute, section 22.1-254.1(A)(ii). Under this option, annual notice and evidence of progress is required.

HSDLA contacted the school system and explained the error. The Assistant Superintendent for Instruction quickly realized the mistake and apologized. The family will not be required to file annually or submit evidence of progress.

Because the two options are superficially so similar, it is easy to confuse them. It is hard to imagine, however, that a family with a certified teacher would chose the option that requires annual notice and evidence of progress, when they could follow the much simpler path of section 22.1-154(A).