No Diploma: Options 3 and 4
Q: I don’t have a high school diploma. Should I comply with option (iii) or option (iv)?
A: The homeschool law §22.1-254.1 provides two choices for parents without a high school diploma and for those with a GED: options (iii) and (iv). The following information details the evidence required under options (iii) and (iv).
For option (iii), the parent “provides the child with a program of study or curriculum, which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner.”
Option (iii) Evidence:
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidelines give some clarity to the law. Parents can provide the following evidence for option (iii):
- “If the child is enrolled in a correspondence course or distance learning program, the parent must submit evidence of such enrollment and a list of the subjects to be studied for the coming year to the school division; however, no judgment of the materials is required of the school division superintendent.”
- “If the parent provides a program of study or curriculum that is delivered through any other manner, a list of the courses to be studied for the coming year must be submitted to the school division. Submission of these materials is for information purposes only.”
While a correspondence course or distance learning program is straightforward, the interpretation of a “program of study or curriculum…delivered…in any other manner” may vary among districts. Programs of study or curricula could include classroom instruction, co-ops, tutoring, textbooks, community programs, online resources, etc. These can be delivered online, in person, or studied at home. While they should be acceptable under NOI option (iii), not all districts agree. Although the VDOE guidance above is helpful, districts are not required to follow it.
For option (iv), the parent “provides evidence that he is able to provide an adequate education for the child” in the form of a letter.
Option (iv) Evidence:
Evidence is a well-written letter that demonstrates the parent’s ability “to provide an adequate education for the child.” The letter should be carefully written with good grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. You may want to include the following:
- A statement that you are complying with §22.1-254.1(A)(iv);
- A brief explanation of why you are able to teach your child;
- A list of subjects you plan to teach (for informational purposes only since the superintendent does not have the authority to approve or disapprove your curriculum choices); and
- It may be helpful to include brief plans for instructional activities, such as how you plan to teach these subjects or what methods you plan to use (textbooks, the library, a tutor, a co-op, an online course, etc.)
The superintendent makes a decision based on the content of the letter and the way it is written.
NOTE: If a parent has a diploma but cannot find it, the parent can contact the school or college from which they graduated and request a copy of their transcript. A transcript is acceptable as long as it includes a graduation date. Also, if a spouse has a diploma, you can use that as long as the spouse signs the NOI form.