Description of Curriculum

Posted on Jun 29 2011 in Homeschool Q&A by Yvonne Bunn

This post is part of a series titled, “Homeschool Q&A.” The series features questions we’ve received from parents on a variety of topicsand the answers!

Q. What is the best way to address the description of curriculum on my Notice of Intent? How much detail should I give?

A. School districts have different policies regarding the description of curriculum requirement. A few districts require no curriculum description, while others require a minimal list of subjects to be taught and textbook titles, or want descriptions that go beyond the scope of the law. For this reason, it’s important to know what the law requires.

§22.1-254.1(B) states, “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 to be followed for the coming year and evidence of having met one of the criteria for providing home instruction as required by subsection A…”

As you can see above, the homeschool law requires notification (a Notice of Intent form or a letter can be used) along with a description of the curriculum the parent intends to use the following school year.

A curriculum is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as a listing of “all the courses of study offered by an educational institution.” The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines curriculum as “the group of subjects studied in a school, college, etc.” Based on these definitions, a curriculum description should include a list of all the subjects or courses included in a plan of study.

Your Notice of Intent form or notification letter should include the following information in an attachment:

  • A curriculum description for each child you plan to teach; and
  • A list of ALL the courses or subjects you plan to teach each child.

Here are some things the law does NOT require:

  • You are not required to describe the detailed content of each course.
  • You are not required to supply a list of  textbook titles or the resources you plan to use.
  • You are not required to teach particular subjects for each grade level. Although subjects are decided by each parent, most parents teach the traditional subjects, i.e., language arts, math, science, history, etc.
  • You are not required to notify the superintendent’s office if you decide to make changes to your educational plan during the school year.
  • You are not required to include the SOLs in your curriculum. Some parents may choose to refer to the SOLs to see what government schools include at a particular grade level.
  • You are not required to obtain your superintendent’s “approval” of your curriculum. Neither the superintendent nor his designee is given authority to “approve” or “disapprove” a parent’s curriculum choices. They cannot make any judgment on the type of curriculum, the methods, or the content of the subjects you plan to teach.

Your Notice of Intent and curriculum description must be submitted to your local division superintendent by August 15 each year. It is good to keep a copy for your records and mail the NOI “return/receipt” to verify they have received your notice. This must be done each year by those who comply with the homeschool statute.

View more information–and a sample notice of intent–on HEAV’s Notice of Intent to Homeschool in Virginia page.

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