The novel coronavirus pandemic and move to distance learning changed the face of education for families across the country, including Virginia. A number of them have not gone back to traditional schooling, choosing instead to have more control over the curriculum at home.

“Out-of-the-box learning is what homeschooling is all about, especially at the high school level,” said Yvonne Bunn, director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs at the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV).

Richard Bland College of William and Mary (RBC) identified a need for additional advanced homeschool learning opportunities for the growing number of homeschoolers. RBC is working on a dual enrollment program that would allow them to earn an associate’s degree while completing their state educational requirements.

"Out-of-the-box learning is what homeschooling is all about, especially at the high school level."

To develop the program, RBC connected with HEAV, which has worked with the Virginia Department of Education (VDE), legislators and families since 1983 to promote and protect home education.

Bunn noted that VDE data shows there were 65,571 homeschooled students across the state during the 2020-2021 school year; it is a 48% increase over the previous year when COVID first disrupted public and private school instruction.

May said the shift to virtual learning helped to identify a group of students who excelled at home instruction, and he expected RBC’s dual enrollment option would provide advantages from different models for education.

“It gives them the ability to work at their own pace and considers their own style of learning,” May explained. “A student coming out of a homeschool scenario moving to a Virginia Tech type of school with 30 or 40,000 students might be quite intimidating, but RBC can show them how they can be successful and be a stepping stone or a launching pad to transfer to a four-year school.”

Added Bunn, “Distance learning and dual enrollment opportunities allow homeschool students to experience the college classroom environment as well as understand the academic expectations of college life.”


“Every student should have a chance to earn college credit while in high school. This program will be a way to offer them accelerated learning and look for other means besides in a crammed classroom.”

RBC is currently creating a tuition model to make it accessible to families that may be living on a single income while one parent stays home for educational purposes. Bunn noted that cost is one of the benefits of dual enrollment and distance learning. “Students can earn credits toward a high school diploma and a college degree at the same time, saving money and time,” she said. “This opportunity is the perfect fit for mature, goal-oriented homeschool students who want to make their high school years really count.”

Online classes begin February 1st at Richard Bland College for HEAV students.

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