FAQ – Resources, Methods, Curriculum

What methods are used in homeschooling?

Homeschooling is a term that encompasses a spectrum of educational methods from highly structured to no structure. There are as many ways to homeschool as there are families homeschooling. Explore the various methods and choose which works for you and your child.

See VaHomeschoolers’ Homeschooling Styles page for descriptions of a variety of styles, plus additional links. Since each family is unique, keep in mind that what works for one family may not work for yours.

How do I choose curriculum when there are so many choices?

Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum is a great place to start! Homeschooling curriculum has become big business so many choices are available. Talking to experienced homeschoolers and thinking about what style of homeschooling you are comfortable with will help you narrow your choices. When possible, borrow a curriculum so that you and your child can look it over and see if it fits your teaching style and their learning style. In Virginia, homeschoolers are free to adjust what materials they are using at any point during the school year and are not required to update the curriculum description on file with the superintendent’s office.

How much will homeschooling curriculum cost?

Cost of curriculum ranges from very expensive to free-of-charge. Inexpensive or free-of-charge resources are abundant (public libraries and educational websites, for example), and often meet homeschooling needs as well or better than more expensive curriculum. It is extremely common that homeschoolers try several types of curriculum to discover what best suits the child’s learning style. Purchasing the most expensive curriculum first may inhibit a parent’s willingness to try other types.

Do my children have to study the subjects covered in the Sols or take the SOLs tests?

The law does not require homeschool parents to use the SOLs in any way, although parents may choose to use them as they wish. Virginia’s homeschooled children are not subjected to SOL testing; standardized tests (such as the Stanford, CAT and ITBS) are not tied to Virginia’s public school SOLs.

Where can we find assistance with an online or self-directed high school curriculum for advanced math and/or science?

Your best option for finding advanced math and science options is to talk with local families and see what opportunities are available in your community. There may be co-ops or local instructors in some of these subjects. Community colleges are a very popular resource, as are distance learning high school programs. The question usually is not whether the options exist, but which options are the best ones for your student. Encourage your child to check out the different resources and see which ones best fit his interests and learning style. His answers may surprise you.

What can VaHomeschoolers tell me about K12 Online home school programs?

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers does not endorse any particular curriculum or curriculum program. That said, we have heard many comments and observations from our membership over the years about this particular program (K12 Inc).

There are typically two ways to enroll in the K12 Inc programs: as an independent consumer or through a public school program “virtual school”. (The names of these types of programs vary over time and place.)

Parents who have enrolled their children in either type of K12 Inc programs typically have positive things to say about the curriculum and curriculum materials, and many parents have also had positive things to say about the teacher support. However, parents who have enrolled their children in the K12 Inc public school programs frequently have complaints about parental flexibility and record keeping compared with other homeschooling or distance learning options. Some parents have also complained about receiving poor customer service or inaccurate information about the program.

The public school virtual programs in Virginia are currently unregulated, which has led to concerns about customer service, access to programs and services, the appeals process, student-teacher ratios, and more.

Many families are attracted to the public school virtual programs because they offer “free” curriculum. Most, if not all, of the virtual school programs here in Virginia are currently only free to in-county residents, with out of county residents being required to pay tuition. Students who enroll in the public school virtual school programs are considered public school students and are accountable to the SOLs.

When choosing a curriculum or distance learning provider, you may find it helpful to talk with other homeschooling parents about different options. There is no one homeschool curriculum program, style, or approach that works equally well for all families and students, all the time, so ultimately the decision rests in your hands as to what is best for your family.

You can read a post on VaHomeschoolers Connection, our blog, from a homeschool mom who was a former K12 teacher.

You can read more about some curriculum methods here.

You can read more about distance learning programs here.

You can talk with other parents through local support groups like the ones listed here.

 


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