Want to homeschool in Virginia- see our resources and tips after 7 years and 3 kids
We all know that 2020 blew our plans for our child’s education out of the water.
Being hopeful for 2021, a lot of parents signed their kids up for in-person schooling, and Left and right I’m answering emails and DM’s from parents that want to pull their kids out of the school system for a lot of different reasons.
I’ve seen so many people leave the education system for religious reasons, health reasons, flexible scheduling, special needs accommodations, and all sorts of other reasons.
We’ve been homeschooling since 2012 full-time, now we have three awesome kids at all different levels.
We own multiple businesses so having a flexible scheduling was our top priority when starting homeschooling.
Also being a former teacher, I recognize the ability for every kid to learn at a different pace and I wanted to honor that in our family.
At three, my daughter was biting, hitting, and showing a lot of learning frustration. I told my friend who was an autism specialist and she said that the best thing that I could do was leave my teaching career and stay home with her full time and just do a lot of life skills, reading, relationship/emotional learning and TONS of outdoor time.
So that's why we did- and we never looked back.
Here is the official website for the state of Virginia’s rules, laws and all sorts of other paperwork in handy information:
According to the state of Virginia, you just write a one-page letter to the superintendent of your district and give them your letter of intent with a one-page synopsis of different things that you’re going to do. (go to https://heav.org/ for more info and addresses on your specific region or town)
Then you find a transcript of at least a high school diploma or a college degree of some type even though it’s not required. ( only high school diploma is required)
Then you send it in and get an approval letter from your district and then you can start homeschooling.
They do not care at all what you do all year and will not check up on you.
You’re pretty much free to do whatever you want.
The only time that you need to prove your child’s learning abilities is at the end of the year.
You can choose to do an untimed exam on the iPad for $20: (that’s what we do) and send in your best score to the district. www.academicexcellence.com)
or you can have a portfolio evaluated by a list of different evaluators. ( pretty expensive and you have to keep tabs on all of the activities and writing samples that your kids do so of course I don’t have time for that)
We use a combination of work books, apps, online curriculums and YouTube channels and videos depending on our daily schedule, how busy I am, if it’s nice outside, if we have a field trip or any other type of work requirements. We run multiple businesses
see us on: Instagram
So we have to fit school time around schedules and timing. A lot of what we do is on-the-go. We bring a backpack with school supplies, games, apps, workbooks, dry erase boards and more pretty much anywhere. So at any time- like in the car, at church, on the job site or at the library we can do school.
We have found that using apps is good for quick review, play, the car and during select screen time for quick practice.
Reading Monster for primary:
Rosi mosi apps for all grades:
Innovative spelling apps for all grades:
Math games for primary:
Khan academy kids (free!)
Reading and spelling for primary:
We decided on self-paced online curriculum so that we could move around school with work schedules and be more free for field trips, social events, and church happenings.
We also were looking for a great interactive program with lots of voice acting, songs and skits for our easily bored kids.
Our favorite and pretty affordable for all the kids.
Online Education For PreK-12th Grade
Other good foundational things- but not as interactive:
IXL | Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish
Paper workbooks that we use for one-the-go like at libraries, book stores, the car, traveling etc:
We have tried many different kinds of books, companies through the years. We rarely finish books. I get tired and bored easily and I want my kids to enjoy and look forward to new ways of learning.
Here are some of our latest purchases this year. I am sure that you can see what grade your children need for you!
Summer Bridge Activities... https://www.amazon.com/dp/1483815838?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Summer Learning HeadStart, Grade... https://www.amazon.com/dp/1940484723?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Brain Quest Workbook: Grade 6 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0761182438?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
School Zone - Big Second Grade... https://www.amazon.com/dp/0887431488?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Every Day Math Practice: 1000+... https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946755346?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
We always try to go to the library a couple of times a week, we do reading and working every day, we try to do some type of exercise every day and we do some type of cleaning or home economics like cooking or organizing every day.
We have memberships to many local zoos, aquariums and parks for easy "getaways" during the week.
If it's nice, we like to hang out outside for HOURS!
Every morning during breakfast- we usually play a board game, read or do a craft. Then we start school- rotating through each kid with like 30 mins each. Why one kid is working- the other kids are reading, doing legos, playing outside, or doing their daily chores.
Then we might take a break by going outside, taking a trip to the library/park, or field trip.
Then when we get back, we do another rotation of school- doing only a few lesson modules a day. We usually only focus on reading/ English and math- since these are the only thing that is tested. For history, science and language- we watch discovery channel in the car or do a historical or STEM-related field trip weekly.
We cook and we clean every day.
We joined a mid-week kids club with our local church and we have them hang out with their friends on Sunday Mornings in their Sunday School class.
We also hang out often with other friends or families in the community by hosting pizza nights at our house.
In the evenings after dinner, we play video games as a family or do a board game. Bedtime is around 8:30 and wake-up time is according to whenever they wake up!
Don't your kids feel like they are missing out?
We love knowing that our kids are fully integrated into our social lives, our spiritual lives, our home life, and our business life. They are learning daily with home projects, entrepreneur skills, emotional discussions, mature conversations with adults PLUS having a safe play with kids that we know and love! We never have a problem with fear of bullying, picking up "bad habits" at school, or feeling "weird" or "different." because of their clothes, their look, or their abilities.
We love growing emotionally healthy kids in a secure and safe environment. If our kids are scared, upset- we talk about it, role play about it, and try to grow empathy with everyone around us.
I want my kids to have social time! What do you do for that?
We do tons of social things- besides going to public places like stores, parks, businesses, hosting events at the house weekly, eating out with people from our community, and visiting people's home often- we have them involved in volunteer and weekly kid clubs at our church.
Only a few hours a day in actual "school" your kids are "behind!"
Children learn faster when it is one-on-one in a concentrated environment in a fun and interesting way. We don't usually have to stop and relearn. We usually getting passing scores (at least b's) on all our quizzes and tests. But besides grades- our life skills and lessons will carry them for the rest of their lives. They remember more from our field trips to the store talking about comparing prices, than any worksheet. They remember area and measurement more at home depot than they do doing a quiz- so that's the most important thing.
My 5 year old is doing this his own laundry, making this his breakfast, cleaning his own toilet and folding his own laundry- so these are all special skills that they will carry for their rest of their lives.