Providing What the Law Requires
Avoiding Over-Compliance Is Important, Too.
Complying with the Virginia Statute
It’s important to comply with the Virginia homeschool law, but HEAV cautions
parents to provide only what the homeschool law requires. Many parents wonder why.
Some parents have no problem with supplying information that goes beyond what the law
requires such as a date of birth or grade level. They think that being cooperative and providing
simple information may help their “approval” process.*
In our country, laws exist to protect the rights of citizens. They also prevent government from overstepping its authority. The laws regarding home instruction are defined in §22.1-254.1. Superintendents or their designated representatives do not have the authority to add requirements (or policies) beyond what the law states.
Although many superintendents are fair-minded about asking for information, others are not. Some homeschoolers are struggling with superintendents who “request” additional information. Often, it’s not a matter of hostility toward homeschoolers, but rather a matter of convenience for their own record-keeping. It could be that the superintendent’s designee is new to the job and not familiar with the homeschool law. Or it could be that their interpretation of the law is inaccurate.
Regardless, when a large number of homeschoolers comply with a request for additional information, the result is the same: it becomes accepted practice for the entire district. This makes it harder for everyone. Parents who complied with the law without problems in the past are now confronted by the superintendent for more information. I recently spoke with a school board attorney who said they had always required certain information and no one ever complained about it before. They adamantly required this of everyone and refused to budge on their position. It became the accepted practice until one parent objected and brought it to HEAV’s attention. We followed-up with the superintendent, and he quickly changed the requirement.
Protecting Rights for the Next Generation
Providing additional information often creates a slippery slope–one requirement leads to another and another. For the last 30 years homeschool parents have engaged in the struggle for fair and reasonable homeschool laws. Organizations like HEAV and others work diligently to keep our freedoms from being eroded incrementally, one small step at a time.
Avoiding over-compliance is one way we can protect our rights and help prevent increased regulations. Every right we give up, every additional “requirement” we submit to–no matter how small it may seem–is just one more step in the direction of giving up our freedom for tighter controls.
*The law says nothing about asking or waiting for approval to homeschool. It requires a parent to notify the superintendent of their intention to instruct their child and provide evidence of how they have complied with the homeschool law.