West Virginia

West Virginia’s homeschool statute offers two options:

  • Approval: Parents must apply for the approval of the local school board, filing information and records as required. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction. The school board sets any teacher qualification, subject, and assessment requirements.
  • Notice: Parents must provide one-time notice to the local superintendent. The parent providing instruction must have a high school diploma or equivalent and must have their children assessed annually (by standardized test or portfolio review) and submit this assessment after grades 3, 5, 8, and 11. There are no required hours of instruction, but parents are required to provide instruction in reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies and must maintain copies of students’ assessment for three years. There is an intervention process for students not making acceptable progress.

(1) Approval

West Virginia has a homeschool statute with two options. The first option centers on school board approval. “The instruction shall be in the home of the child or children or at some other place approved by the county board.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1).

Notification: Parents must seek approval from their local school board. The process for seeking approval is at the discretion of the school board.
Qualifications: “The 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.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1).
Days or hours: Instruction must take place “for a time equal to the instructional term set forth in section forty-five, article five of this chapter.” This term is 180 days. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1) and §18-5-45.
Subjects: At the discretion of the school board.
Bookkeeping: “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.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1).
Assessment: At the discretion of the school board.
Intervention: “If the request for home instruction is denied by the county board, good and reasonable justification for the denial shall be furnished in writing to the applicant by the county board.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1).
Other: “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.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(1).

(2) Notice

West Virginia has a homeschool statute with two options. The second option centers on providing notice. “The instruction shall be in the home of the child or children or at some other place approved by the county board.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2).

Notification: Parents must provide a one-time notice of intent to the county superintendent. If the child is enrolled in a public school, this notice shall be provided on or before the date homeschooling is to begin. The notice must include the name, address, age, and grade level of any child to be homeschooled; assurance that the child will be instructed and assessed annually; and evidence of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Upon moving to a new county, parents must provide a new one-time notice of intent. Parents must notify the county superintendent when homeschooling is terminated if a student is still of compulsory attendance age. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(A, B, C).
Qualifications: High school diploma or equivalent. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(B).
Days or hours: None.
Subjects: Parents must provide assurance that the student is receiving instruction in reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(C).
Bookkeeping: Parents must maintain copies of each child’s academic assessments for three years.
Assessment: Parents must submit an academic assessment to the county superintendent by June 30 following grades 3, 5, 8, and 11. Students may be assessed through one of a number of different measures: (1) By a nationally normed standardized achievement test in the subjects of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies. This test must be administered in accordance with the test’s published instructions and may be administered by the parent. A score at or above the 23rd percentile, or showing improvement from the previous year’s results, is considered acceptable progress. (2) By participating at a public school in the testing program currently in use in the state’s public schools. The child is considered to have made acceptable progress based on the guidelines of the state testing program. (3) By a portfolio evaluation by a certified teacher. The certified teacher must review a portfolio of samples of the child’s work and prepare a written narrative that indicates whether the child has made progress in accordance with the child’s abilities. This narrative must include a statement about the child’s progress in reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies, and must note any areas that show need for improvement or remediation. (4) Via a mutually agreed upon alternative assessment that includes criteria for whether acceptable progress has been made.  See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(D).
Intervention: If a student’s annual assessment does not show acceptable progress, the parents and the persons providing instruction must initiate a remedial plan. The local school board must notify the parents of testing for special needs. Should acceptable progress not be made the following year, the parents must submit evidence to the local superintendent that appropriate instruction is being provided. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2)(E). Should there be “clear and convincing evidence” of educational neglect or “other compelling reasons to deny home instruction,” the county superintendent may seek an order to halt homeschooling. See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(2).
Other: n/a

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: Yes, at the district’s discretion. “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.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(3).
Extracurriculars: No.
Special needs: Yes.
Other: “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.” See W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)(3).

Background:

West Virginia’s original homeschool law was passed in 1987. Then, in 1994, H.B. 4546 revised the original law and led to the two option system West Virginia has today. In 2016, H.B. 4175 altered the requirements for the notification option, reducing the number of years student assessments must be submitted, lowering the threshold for acceptable progress, and allowing parents to administer their children’s tests themselves.

Resources:

W. Va. Code § 18-8-1(c)

West Virginia, International Center for Home Education Research

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

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