Homeschooling Someone Else's Child
Q. Can another homeschool parent teach my son (kindergarten student) since he’s not responding well to me?
A. It may be possible for another parent to teach your child as long as you comply with the law. How a child is educated (public, private, denominational, or parochial school; certified tutor; or homeschool) is defined in the Virginia Code as described below. Each choice has requirements. If a parent does not comply with the law, there could be truancy charges–up to $100 per day fines. DO NOT listen to a well-meaning friend’s advice or someone’s opinion on Facebook! You are responsible to know the law and comply.
- §22-254. A. Except as otherwise provided in this article, every parent, guardian, or other person in the Commonwealth having control or charge of any child … [shall] send such child to a public school or to a private, denominational, or parochial school or have such child taught by a tutor or teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education and approved by the division superintendent, or provide for home instruction of such child as described in §22.1-254.1.
The statute allows three people to teach a child:
- A parent can teach her own child;
- Virginia certified teacher (known as tutor) may teach her own or another parent’s child in a homeschool setting;
- A guardian or other person having control or charge of a child may homeschool the child.
As you can see, another parent can teach your child if she is a current Virginia certified teacher and her teaching credentials are approved by the superintendent. Any other parent cannot homeschool your child.
Understanding the legal side of homeschooling is only one aspect of education. I know teaching a young child can be challenging. It’s not always easy to transition from play to structured, school-type activities. One of the benefits of home instruction is developing a close relationship with your child. Because your child is young, I would encourage you to work with him in a way that makes learning fun. Teach him with games and learning activities for short periods of time each day–no more than 30 minutes at a time, twice a day. Be sure he is ready for structured learning. This may be part of the difficulty you are experiencing. He may not be ready for school and needs more time to mature. Don’t give up too quickly–the benefits of homeschooling are tremendous!
Connecting with other parents in a support group could be a great help and encouragement. They can share from their experience, and you can find out what has worked for them. If you decide to pursue a tutor, you could find out who in the group meets the law’s requirements and if they would be interested in working with you.
I hope you will reconsider homeschooling your son yourself. There are many wonderful resources on the HEAV website. Our yearly convention in June at the Richmond Convention Center in Richmond offers encouraging speakers and practical workshops. You may also contact the HEAV office at 804-278-9200 to speak with one of our counselors. They will be glad to answer any questions you may have.