Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the West Virginia Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in West Virginia? You may have many questions about topics like what you need to do to begin, what recordkeeping and testing is required, and how you need to interact with your local school district. You will want to start by understanding West Virginia homeschool law. You may feel overwhelmed as you start this process, but there are resources available and other homeschoolers who have already succeeded on this adventure!
Here is some information on West Virginia homeschool requirements to get you started:
West Virginia Homeschool Law
According to West Virginia Statute §18-8-1a, “Compulsory school attendance begins with the school year in which the sixth birthday is reached prior to July 1 of such year or upon enrolling in a full-time publicly funded kindergarten program, and continues to the 17th birthday or for as long as the student continues to be enrolled in a school system after the 17th birthday.”
“A child is exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in §18-8-1a of this code if the requirements of either subdivision (1) or subdivision (2) of this subsection, both relating to home instruction, are met” (§18-8-1(c)).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
If homeschooling in West Virginia, “instruction shall be conducted by a person or persons who, in the judgment of the county superintendent and county board, are qualified to give instruction in subjects required to be taught in public elementary schools in the state” (§18-8-1(1)). Per the West Virginia Code, “The person or persons providing home instruction shall submit satisfactory evidence of a high school diploma or equivalent, or a post-secondary degree or certificate from a regionally accredited institution or from an institution of higher education that has been authorized to confer a post-secondary degree or certificate in West Virginia by the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education or by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission” (§18-8-1(2B)).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! “Upon commencing home instruction […] the parent of a child receiving home instruction shall present to the county superintendent or county board a notice of intent to provide home instruction that includes the name, address, and age of any child of compulsory school age to be instructed and assurance that the child shall receive instruction in reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies and that the child shall be assessed annually […]. Upon establishing residence in a new county, the person providing home instruction shall notify the previous county superintendent and submit a new notice of intent to the superintendent of the new county of residence: Provided, That if a child is enrolled in a public school, notice of intent to provide home instruction shall be given on or before the date home instruction is to begin” (§18-8-1(2A)).
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
You do have options for the home education of your child, including participation in some school district programs and services. For example, “The county superintendent or a designee shall offer such assistance, including textbooks, other teaching materials and available resources, all subject to availability, as may assist the person or persons providing home instruction. Any child receiving home instruction may upon approval of the county board exercise the option to attend any class offered by the county board as the person or persons providing home instruction may consider appropriate subject to normal registration and attendance requirements” (§18-8-1(3)).
West Virginia Homeschool Requirements
Even though West Virginia does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some West Virginia homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
- Begin homeschooling by age 6.
- File the required notice of intent to provide home instruction upon beginning home instruction.
- Provide instruction “in the home of the child or children or at some other place approved by the county board and for a time equal to the instructional term set forth in §18-5-45 of this code (see below)” (§18-8-1(1)).
- Provide instruction in the following required subjects: reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies (§18-8-1(2A)).
- Arrange for the annual assessment of your child (§18-8-1(2A)) and “submit to the county superintendent the results of the academic assessment of the child at grade levels three, five, eight and 11, as applicable, by June 30 of the year in which the assessment was administered” (§18-8-1(2E)).
- “Notify the county superintendent upon termination of home instruction for a child who is of compulsory attendance age” (§18-8-1(2A)).
- Stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Per §18-5-45(c2), an “instructional term” for students is defined as “no less than one hundred eighty separate instructional days.” Within this instructional term, an “instructional day” meets the following criteria:
“Instruction is offered to students for at least the minimum number of minutes as follows:
- For early childhood programs as provided in subsection (d) section forty-four of this article [§18-5-44];
- For schools with grade levels kindergarten through and including grade five, 315 minutes of instructional time per day;
- For schools with grade levels six through and including grade eight, 330 minutes of instructional time per day; and
- For schools with grade levels nine through and including grade twelve, 345 minutes of instructional time per day” (§18-5-45 (a1A)).
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
In accordance with §18-8-1(2C), “Annually, the person or persons providing home instruction shall obtain an academic assessment of the child for the previous school year in one of the following ways:
- The child receiving home instruction takes a nationally normed standardized achievement test published or normed not more than 10 years from the date of administration and administered under the conditions as set forth by the published instructions of the selected test and by a person qualified in accordance with the test’s published guidelines in the subjects of reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies. The child is considered to have made acceptable progress when the mean of the child’s test results in the required subject areas for any single year is within or above the fourth stanine or, if below the fourth stanine, shows improvement from the previous year’s results;
- The child participates in the testing program currently in use in the state’s public schools. The test shall be administered to the child at a public school in the county of residence. Determination of acceptable progress shall be based on current guidelines of the state testing program;
- A portfolio of samples of the child’s work is reviewed by a certified teacher who determines whether the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities. The teacher shall provide a written narrative about the child’s progress in the areas of reading, language, mathematics, science and social studies and shall note any areas which, in the professional opinion of the reviewer, show need for improvement or remediation. If the narrative indicates that the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities, the child is considered to have made acceptable progress; or
- The child completes an alternative academic assessment of proficiency that is mutually agreed upon by the parent or legal guardian and the county superintendent.”
“The parent or legal guardian shall submit to the county superintendent the results of the academic assessment of the child at grade levels three, five, eight and 11, as applicable, by June 30 of the year in which the assessment was administered” (§18-8-1(2E)).
“The state board shall develop guidelines for the home schooling of special education students including alternative assessment measures to assure that satisfactory academic progress is achieved” (§18-8-1(1)).
What happens to my child’s annual testing results?
“When the annual assessment fails to show acceptable progress, the person or persons providing home instruction shall initiate a remedial program to foster acceptable progress. The county board upon request shall notify the parents or legal guardian of the child, in writing, of the services available to assist in the assessment of the child’s eligibility for special education services. Identification of a disability does not preclude the continuation of home schooling. In the event that the child does not achieve acceptable progress for a second consecutive year, the person or persons providing instruction shall submit to the county superintendent additional evidence that appropriate instruction is being provided” (§18-8-1(2D)).
Note that “the county superintendent may, after a showing of probable cause, seek from the circuit court of the county an order denying home instruction of the child. The order may be granted upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the child will suffer neglect in his or her education or that there are other compelling reasons to deny home instruction” (§18-8-1(2)).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
In order to homeschool in West Virginia, there are certain records you are required to maintain. According to §18-8-1(1), “The person or persons providing the instruction, upon request of the county superintendent, shall furnish to the county board information and records as may be required periodically with respect to attendance, instruction and progress of students receiving the instruction.” This includes the requirement to keep copies of your child’s annual assessments for three years (§18-8-1(2D)).
In addition to the required recordkeeping, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on West Virginia homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other West Virginia Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following West Virginia homeschool law and meeting West Virginia homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
Can my homeschooled child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school?
Check with your local school district regarding access to extracurricular activities held at the public school.
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
For any number of reasons, you may choose to re-enroll your child in public school. According to §18-8-1a(e), “A student from another state, or who is eligible to enroll in a public school in this state, shall be enrolled in the same grade in a public school in West Virginia as the student was enrolled at the school or program from which the student transferred. A transcript or other credential provided by a public school program, private school program, homeschool program or HOPE scholarship program shall be accepted by a public school in this state as a record of a student’s previous academic performance for the purposes of placement and credit assignment.”
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
This is what the law says about diplomas for homeschoolers: “A person who administers a program of secondary education at a public, private or home school that meets the requirements of this chapter may issue a diploma or other appropriate credential to a person who has completed the program of secondary education. Such diploma or credential is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the person meets the definition of having a high school diploma or its equivalent. No state agency or institution of higher learning in this state may reject or otherwise treat a person differently solely on the grounds of the source of such a diploma or credential. Nothing in this section prevents an institution, once a student has been fully admitted, from administering placement tests or other assessments to determine the appropriate placement of students into college-level course sequences or to assess the content thereof for the purposes of determining whether a person meets other requirements for a specific program” (§18-8-12).
Note that students who “have completed a secondary education program in a public, private, or home school” may be eligible for a WV Invests Grant (§18C-9-5) and/or the PROMISE Scholarship Program (§18C-7-6).
See Chapter 18, Education of the West Virginia Code to keep current on homeschooling in West Virginia.
Connect With Local Homeschoolers
Remember, too, that you are not alone. You should connect with local homeschoolers from your state, who can help you with West Virginia homeschool law and West Virginia homeschool requirements and offer you all kinds of practical advice and suggestions. They can give you guidance on everything from curriculum to daily schedules to recordkeeping, and they may be able to share information about local resources, support groups, and field trips. Click the image below to find West Virginia Homeschool Groups by county.