VaHomeschoolers frequently receives queries from homeschoolers about how to write the curriculum description required by law to be submitted with the annual Notice of Intent. A curriculum description is required no matter which filing option is used. (Code of Virginia, §22.1-254.1 B)
Effective July 1, 2012, Virginia’s Home Instruction Statute defines the curriculum description with specific language, which was designed to eliminate confusion on the part of both homeschooling families and school division personnel. Previously, the statute included a curriculum description requirement with no definition of the level of detail that should be included in the description.
As amended, §22.1-254.1 paragraph 1B reads,
“Any parent who elects to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance shall annually notify the division superintendent in August of his intention to so instruct the child and provide a description of the curriculum, limited to a list of subjects to be followed during the coming year…”
VaHomeschoolers lobbied in support of companion bills in both the House of Delegates (HB 1208, Pogge-R) and the Senate (SB 564, Black-R) that created this change in the Home Instruction Statute.
Working with Your School Division
VaHomeschoolers will be contacting every school division in Virginia this summer to ensure that they are aware of the specific language in law now guiding the curriculum description requirement. We expect that there will be a transition period as school division personnel incorporate the amended statute into their policies and procedures. If you experience any difficulty with your school division, please direct them to this web page, and ask that they email VaHomeschoolers for clarification. You can also direct them to the statute itself.
Understanding the law is the best foundation for homeschooling with confidence. The curriculum description requirement is written in the statute itself, and homeschooling families cannot be required by their school divisions to provide more information than the law requires. Furthermore, the law does not give public school superintendents or their staff the authority to make judgment about the merits of your curriculum. The role of the school division is to ensure that homeschooling families have complied with the law by submitting a curriculum description that lists the subjects to be studied during the upcoming year.
Sample Curriculum Descriptions
Here are some examples of curriculum descriptions that VaHomeschoolers believes meet the requirement of the Home Instruction Statute. Each one includes a listing of courses or subjects to be studied. We have included examples that reflect a broad array of student ages and homeschooling approaches. Please note that if your family uses a student-led educational approach, listing the subject areas that your child will be learning as distinct areas (even though they may be learning in overlapping areas much of the time) is useful in helping school divisions to recognize your curriculum description as satisfactory under the law.
1. Johnny’s curriculum will consist of mathematics, grammar, spelling, composition, reading, life science and American history.
2. Susie’s 10th grade studies will consist of:
- Algebra II
- World Literature
- 20th Century World History
- Spanish 2
- Physical Education
- Fine Arts
- Driver Education
3. Sam will be using the Oak Meadow curriculum, which includes language arts, social studies, science, math, art, music, crafts and health. See http://www.oakmeadow.com/curriculum/third-grade.php.
4. Ann’s 12th-grade program of study through the Keystone High School distance learning program will include AP English, Calculus, Physics, AP Psychology, French 4, and AP Art History.
5. John will be enrolled in a local homeschool co-op this year. His courses will include mathematics, language arts, science, history, art, music and P.E.
6. Rebecca plans to continue her progress in writing composition this year. She also will be focusing on consumer and household mathematics and economics. She will further her study of Japanese culture and history through modern anime art and literature, and will extend her ecological and life sciences program.
Note: Regardless of which filing option you choose, parents do not have to include the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) in their curriculum description.
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