COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 140
August 9, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Annual Report on Home Instruction

 
  Each year, the Board of Education receives an informational
  update on activities related to home instruction and
  statistics on the number of students being home schooled
  across the state.  The Department collects data on the
  number of home-instructed students as a part of the Fall
  Membership Report filed by local school divisions by grade
  groupings (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12).  The numbers may increase or
  decrease during the year as parents move or elect to provide
  home instruction after August and/or after the September 30
  reporting date. For the 1995-96 school year, a total of
  8,678 students was reported as having been approved for home
  instruction in local school divisions, an increase of 752
  students  (9.5%) over the previous year.  Of those, 5,066
  were in grades K-5; 2,098 were in grades 6-8; and, 1,514
  were in grades 9-12.  The school divisions with the largest
  numbers of home-schooled students continue to be Fairfax
  County/City, Virginia Beach, Prince William County, and
  Loudoun County.  One school division, the City of Norton,
  reported no students on home instruction.  Floyd County and
  Goochland County had the highest percentage of students on
  home instruction with 3.1% and 3.0% respectively.
  
  A total of 2,184 children was excused from school attendance
  statewide for religious reasons as of September 30, 1995. 
  Of those, 1,216 were in grades K-5, 586 were in grades 6-8,
  and 382 were classified as grades 9-12.  Fairfax,
  Chesterfield, and Rockingham counties led the state with
  255, 217, and 201 students respectively exempted.  The
  number of exemptions increased 16.8% over 1994-95.  A
  statewide statistical report is attached for your
  information.
  
  The Department does not compile data on the achievement of
  children who are taught at home due to the variety of
  methods available to parents to report such achievement to
  the local superintendent.  No independent data or data
  generated by the Department of Education is available
  describing student performance on other assessments such as
  portfolios, tests administered by correspondence schools, or
  parent-developed tests. 
  
  Legislation was introduced in the 1996 General Assembly
  session that would allow part-time admission and enrollment
  of home-school students.  The legislation would have
  required school boards to adopt policies consistent with
  their constitutional and statutory responsibilities for
  providing public education for the part-time admission and
  enrollment of home-school students.  The legislation was
  carried-over (tabled) to the 1997 session.  Subsequently, a
  subcommittee of the House Education Committee was formed to
  study the issue and report their findings to the full
  committee.  The subcommittee will begin its work in August.
  
  The home instruction program continues to operate smoothly
  in most divisions and members of the prominent home
  educators' groups in the state maintain a good working
  relationship with the Superintendent and the Department. 
  The Home Educators Association of Virginia, the Virginia
  Home Educators Association, and the Home School Legal
  Defense Association have indicated that individual problems
  develop annually in a few localities.  In most instances
  when the localities are identified, those concerns are
  resolved informally to the satisfaction of all parties
  involved.
  
  Questions on any matter relative to home instruction in
  Virginia, should be directed to Charles W. Finley, Policy
  Associate, at (804) 225-2747 or via VaPEN to
  cfinley@pen.k12.va.us.
  
  
  Attachment:  This memo and its attachment will be sent to
               the superintendent's office.
  
  RTL/cwf