Hey guys, I'm going to answer some frequently asked questions as a homeschooler, we've been doing it for over a decade. Now, I'm going to be making my tea.. today. I went to the farm, and I was just asked some questions by a local lawyer who handles cases, where kids had to be taken out of the school system and a lot of parents are wondering, you know, what resources, do we have in the state of Virginia?
So for those that want to start, you can go to HEAV.org to get started, all the state of Virginia requires is for you to have a GED equivalent, and then you have to turn that in to the superintendent of your District, you know, prove that you are able to teach your kid.
For me, having an advanced degree master's degree in education its never been a problem. But most of my colleagues on some of these Facebook groups, only have a high school diploma and so they turn that Diploma to the superintendent.
Then you turn in your NOI which is the “notice of intent” for you to home-school.
It's usually done at the beginning of August and you can find that on the HEAV.org website. It's just a one-page document that states, you know that you're homeschooling, a general outline of your curriculum (they don't care what curriculum you use." I've done everything from virtual workbooks to buying an actual curriculum. And, they do not care, they're not going to check on you, okay? At the end of the year like June or July, then they start asking you in an email or in a letter “hey evaluations -end of your exams end-of-year testing is due” Now there are three different ways that you can choose to be evaluated in the state of Virginia, I have chosen the easiest way to be evaluated, you can choose from a list of tests that they take, I take academic excellence.
Come which is a California achievement equivalent of a standardized test. It is a 20-dollar non-timed-Untimed test that second through 12th grade can take and just basic knowledge math reading comprehension spelling word problems you know logic stuff like that and we've never had a problem passing or failing it they only see what you did. Www.academicexcellence.com
Physically email or turn in, in, in the mail. So, if your kid is having struggles, we go back. We reteach, we redo a section when they, when I feel confident that they feel good about that section, then I turned that section into the state and that's as long as they see that your kid is making progress, as long as you're in the right, quartile the right percentile.
We've never had a problem in the overall they only take the cumulative quartile. They don't take Each individual subject which has been great because spelling has always been an issue in this house. Reading comprehension has always been a struggle early on so but my older kids are now doing better at those subjects overall, they're cumulative.
The score has never been below what is required. So that gets turned in through an email or through a letter printed off to the superintendent and then they just give you a letter back saying “great You are certified home school again.” So that is literally the basics nuts and bolts. There are literally so many different ways to do it. I've seen people that go twice a week to a church. They go three times a week. So, like a co-op Homeschool Group. I've seen people work in pods. I've seen people do it on their own, like, we do. We just make up whatever we want, whenever we want to study.
I did not talk about the second and third ways that you can be evaluated in Virginia. Sorry forgot had to re-film. So the second was so the first way was testing you can choose from a variety of different tests. The second way would be to get an actually certified evaluator to come and look over an entire binder of writing samples and photos of field trips you've been on and math samples and that kind of thing for each kid and you have to pay them. That's their job. I did not want to deal with that because owning multiple businesses. I just didn't want to have all these samples at a print-off. Make copies and have all these binders like I didn't want to do with that. If the test is good enough for the State Board.
I am totally fine with not having that high pressure to have my kids have to like pass, you know, evaluations whatever.
So, and then the Third Way is for you to actually become religious exempt and you can just say sorry but I don't basically believe in evaluation. So I know I'll several people that that is the checkbox that they choose when they decide to do the NOI and they decide to, you know, tell them that they're evaluating, they can just choose to be religious exempt and there's no, you know, transcript or anything. I chose a kind of middle ground because I wanted Some type of transcript, some type of proof that my kids are learning so that when they go to higher education and they go to, you know, that kind of situation, they can see I can see progress, I can see exactly what we're learning. And so that's why I chose that route, but I chose the untimed because I didn't want there to be a lot of pressure and frustration because for me learning should never be at a frustration level. If we're trying to just get to a test and get it done, then we're not learning it, we're just hacking through it. And that's not a good life lesson.
I have tried most curriculums for me personally, I didn't want to know that curriculums are very expensive. I didn't want to be, you know, having $1000 to $2000 $3000 per kid per year, like that's not feasible. What is feasible for me is spending money on a membership. trips. Museums- Jamestown is local to Us. Williamsburg is local to US Trucks Wheels, is local semi-local to us going to Richmond- going to d.c. paying for memberships to these museums.
That is a better investment for me. And so what I decided to do to put more money into those types of Hands-On situations or camps or stem camps or stuff for the church that we're doing with their youth group or Retreats, whatever, I want money to go to experiences and to time with your friends and community building, and that kind of thing, instead of money going to a curriculum that's very rigid. And what if I don't like it? Kids don't like it. What I've discovered is YouTube has an entire K- through 12 courses called crash course for kids.
They have scishow kids. They have a crash Coast crash course for high school kids as well. And so, we've just been going through all of the crash course series sponsored by PBS with Disney Plus, you have access to National Geographic. They have tons of great content in their documentary films. We have a membership to a local IMAX educational IMAX theater at a science center like 30 minutes away from me.
So we do that like once a month and go see their their documentary IMAX film in 3D which is really cool. So we do everything from volcanoes to asteroids to Native American cultures to you know history of the world and you know, fossils and paleontology whatever.
So we're learning pretty much at every single level all at once. And so, the older kids- my 11-year-old is with the younger one and is the kindergarten, first-grade types of things and works on the handwriting. She works on doing board games every day with them and reading, making sure reading is done every day, and making sure we have some kind of board game time every day.
Make sure we had some kind of physical education every day, whether it be going on, a hike going on, a walk on a bike ride, go to the trampoline park for us, education is just multifaceted and so I'm not going to just say sit in a desk for eight hours. Because I don't learn like that.
I'm not gonna make my kids look like that. So I would rather like okay in the morning let's do our YouTube things as to Math Antics which Math Antics, which is another awesome YouTube math Channel. Let's work through the problems together.
Let's do a board game. Let's go outside and go hiking. In coastal Virginia so there are literally like, hiking trails, two minutes from the house.
Go out there, we have home businesses on the property so we can always like, “Hey, go out with Dad and do a Workshop. Woodwork shop in the back,” help me set up a set in my photo studio. Help me, organize stuff and organize props. We got to go to Hobby Lobby to pick up stuff.
So we're on the go and as we're on the go as we're in the car we're watching National Geographic we're watching the YouTube things I just listed. We're discussing current events in the car we're discussing. What will we do? If we were in this situation?
What do these terms mean? And so honestly it's just so organic flow throughout our Day. All the kids know how to cook. They know how to clean. They know to do basic meals. They know how to help me around the house. They know. I have a list of chores every day and they all help out.
We're all part of this work-family environment self-employed life together. And so they know like hey, you know, you don't get screen time. We try not to do screen time like actual video game screen time until like 4:00 p.m. when I'm cooking dinner for my husband cooking dinner and so that way they have their set schedule, have their checklist that they have to do.
We also make sure that they all have pedometer watches and so that's also a personal goal for them to help them stay task-oriented to ensure that they're getting their 10,000 steps a day before they can earn screen time or video game time.
They don't get screen time. We try not to do screen time like actual video game screen time until like 4:00 p.m. when I'm cooking dinner for my husband cooking dinner and so that way they have their set schedule. They have their checklist that they have to do. We also make sure that All have pedometer watches and so that's also a personal goal for them to help them stay task-oriented to ensure that they're getting their 10,000 steps a day before they can earn screen time or video game time.
But yeah, that's basically in an eight-minute to 10-minute video. What we do on a kind of a day to day. What that looks like for us, we go year-round. I like to do one or two hours. Add a year-round then, eight hours a day, you know, eight months, nine months out of the year. Like, that's not, that's not going to help me. I hate reteaching stuff. I hate going back and re-learning stuff, like, I'd rather just keep with the flow. Like, hey, it's July. We're going to go on a trip. Bring your books with you, bring workbooks with you, and go to Barnes and Noble, I go to Amazon. I find like whatever.
The recommended Brain Quest has an awesome series. I have every one of their books from K-12. Brain Quest, highly recommend it, and we go through Page by Page together.
We're working through stuff. And so that's kind of our general flow. What we do, how we get approved from the state of Virginia, what that looks like in our work, and our life balance. And hopefully, that answers questions for you guys.
Can't wait to see what you guys are doing. If your homeschool family, comment below. You can follow us here on our different social media platforms, and see what we've been up to, all right? Right. Peace out, guys.