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West Virginia


September 9, 2016

District: Can’t Homeschool Until You Sign with Us

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School officials in Hardy County, West Virginia, informed a Home School Legal Defense Association member family moving into the district that before they could begin homeschooling they had to first enroll their kids in public school.

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY Contact attorney for West Virginia

Although West Virginia homeschool law has historically been behind the times—it was not modernized by the legislature until this year—homeschooling families have never had to enroll their kids in public schools to be in compliance with the law.

HSLDA has informed public school staff in Hardy County that they should update their communications with homeschooling families to accurately reflect West Virginia law.

The idea that the public schools are the “default” institution for education remains deeply embedded in state institutions, however. The fight to modernize West Virginia’s homeschool law encountered fierce opposition from public education associations as well as from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who held outdated, stereotyped and patronizing conceptions of homeschooling families.

Ultimately the Republican-controlled legislature passed the legislation, and Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed it.

Much More Reasonable

Before last year’s legislation, West Virginia’s homeschool law was among the more burdensome in the country. It required annual notification and annual standardized testing; each student was expected to score above the 50th percentile. The new law lowers this unreasonable requirement to the 23rd percentile.

The new law also institutes a commonsense notification procedure: Families must notify the local public school district when they begin homeschooling, when they stop homeschooling, and when they move to a different county. And although annual assessments are still required, they must now only be submitted in grades 3, 5, 8, and 11 instead of every year. In pushing for this new law, HSLDA had argued that parents constantly assess their children and should not be required to submit results to the local authorities just because they are homeschooling.

A majority of states require no submission of assessment results at all

When laws change, there is always a certain amount of confusion among those who must enforce the law. However, school officials have a duty to be informed about their regulatory oversight and should not misinform those they serve.

HSLDA is here to protect your freedom, defend you from unfair treatment, and help you homeschool with success. If you have questions or concerns about a local school official’s interpretation of the law, please give us a call at (540) 338-5600. Our staff of expert homeschool law attorneys and legal assistants are ready to help you understand what exactly is required to homeschool legally in your state.