As the end of the school year draws closer, there is a lot of talk on local homeschool email lists and Facebook groups about the end of the year “evidence of progress” requirement (due August 1st). Inevitably, certain “myths” surrounding the process wind up making an appearance during these discussions.
Understanding what is and is not required by the law is one of the most important things that new (and old!) homeschoolers can do to empower themselves. The more that you are familiar with the law, the more comfortable you will feel, knowing that you have provided what is required.
VaHomeschoolers makes it extremely easy to become familiar with the law, providing not only explanations of the requirements, but also direct links so that you can read the law yourself. Our Comprehensive Guide to Homeschooling in Virginia is your one stop shop for any questions you might have.
And now for those myths…
Myth #1: You Don’t Need To Test for Kindergarten
Truth: Evidence of progress is based on age, not grade. You must provide evidence of progress for any child who has reached their 6th birthday as of September 30th at the beginning of the school year. This is an important distinction as you can “opt out” your child when he is 5 and then start him in Kindergarten when he is 6 which would mean that, in this scenario, you would be required to provide evidence of progress for Kindergarten.
Learn More: Kindergarten Options
Myth #2: You Are Only Required by Law to Test for Math and Language Arts
Truth: There is nothing in the homeschool statute that specifies what subjects must be covered. Some nationally-normed achievement tests cover only math and language arts, while others include additional subjects. Parents may choose the test that is best for their child, as long as it is a nationally-normed achievement test.
Learn More: Evidence of Progress: Testing
Myth #3: You Need to Submit Test Scores to Advance Your Child to the Next Grade
Truth: Evidence of progress is required to comply with the requirements of the home instruction statute each year. The level at which you teach your child and how you teach your child is up to you. You do not need permission or approval to teach your child at the level you feel is appropriate.
Learn More: Evidence of Progress
Myth #4: You Don’t Need to Test if You Start Homeschooling Late in the Year
Truth: You may begin homeschooling at any point during the school year. Virginia law requires you to file an NOI and submit testing or evaluation results, even if you only provide home instruction for a few days of the school year. You must test or evaluate, even if your child has already taken the SOL examinations (which are used to evaluate the effectiveness of the school).
Learn More: Beginning Homeschooling Mid-Year
Myth #5: Testing is the only way to meet evidence of progress.
Truth: Homeschoolers don’t have to use testing at all. Parents can choose to use an evaluator who can write a letter about your child’s progress, or you can use grade reports from distance learning schools, correspondence schools or colleges.
Learn More: Evidence of Progress – Evaluation or Assessment
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