Does anyone have experience home schooling their children in the VI's? I home schooled 2 of my 3 with much success in their high school years (one currently in college and the other out of college). This was in rural Alaska where one of the school districts has a distant education/home school program . We didn't have to gather anything on our own, it was all supplied by that particular district. I would like to know about anyone else's experience in the islands and if you have home schooled, was/is there one program (or several) that you use(d)?
I home schooled my son K-12. I have a friend in Chugiak who home schooled and she too was provided books etc. Not only is nothing provided here, but home schooling here is actively discouraged; the VI government is bloated and the majority of its minions believe they are duty bound to make life more difficult for others. I don't know the penalties for illegally home schooling in the VI, but I wouldn't be surprised if they included removing the kid(s) from the home until the legal system resolved the matter.
To legally home school in the USVI, the following are required:
Compulsory Attendance Ages: “beginning of the school year nearest [child’s] fifth birthday ... until the expiration of the school year nearest [child’s] sixteenth birthday,” except those who graduate from high school earlier. Virgin Islands Code Annotated title 17, § 82.
Required Days of Instruction: No statutory requirement.
Required Subjects: As approved by Commissioner of Education. V.I.R. & Regs. tit. 17, § 84-1.
Home School Statute: None, but regulations. V.I.R. & Regs. tit. 17, § 84-1.
1. Parents must seek Commissioner of Education’s approval of:
a. the qualifications of the tutor, and
b. the proposed courses of study.
2. The Commissioner of Education may require that the pupils be examined by a representative of the
Department of Education.
Alternative Statutes Allowing for Home Schools: V.I.R. & Regs. tit. 17, § 192.
1. Parents could possibly apply for accreditation as a private school.
2. The Commissioner of Education must inspect each private school at least once per year.
Teacher Qualifications: None.
Standardized Tests: Not required by statute, optional under regulations (see above).
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Interesting... I'll have to investigate further. Under our current move plan my son would start 6th grade in the islands and the private schools are just so expensive. I'm not sure that I like the idea of the public schools there, just in reading others posts. I may have to get creative. Is there a government link that you gathered that info from you could send me? Just an FYI, we were in Kenai area and the home school program we used was in Fairbanks. I do know that there are many home school programs out there, even private ones. I'll have to do more research. I really appreciate the info. I have to say WOW again! 😉 Thanks!!!
I don't know about homeschool requirements in the VI. I never asked and just took my 5 year old out of school. No one questioned it. I homeschooled in Virginia for a while and the school I removed my child from sent truancy officers to the door. I was represented by homeschool legal defense so I simply had them wait by the door until I got my lawyer on the phone. I believe each state and territory to be different. For my 5 year old I used the Letter People for language arts and bought books at the TAPS store in Virginia for everything else. If you look up homeschooling on the internet there is a wealth of material available but pricey. I think some of the private schools would be cheaper.
Juanita - If you don't know anything about home schooling then why are you questioning why I say WOW to the USVI's laws? They aren't the same in every state and the VI's seem a bit stringent to me.
As I stated above I've already home schooled 2 other children through high school with no problems and with that experience I've never heard of such crazy legalities.
We left the state in which our son was born before he became compulsory attendance age. Thereafter we ignored the various home school laws of our places of residence. One place we lived had untenable home schooling laws and we were careful never to "register" him for any activities, or grocery shop as a family during school hours wherein he would be regularly observed out of school during that time of day. We had a family physician who disapproved of homeschooling so we had to work around her prejudices, but overall we managed to keep our activities under the radar.
People who opt to home school do so for various reasons. Many teach their kids at home because they want their kids' education to be saturated with a particular conservative religious perspective. Others teach their kids at home because they don't think the government does a good job; not everyone willing to work for teacher's wages is doing so for altruistic reasons. We taught our son at home because we enjoy it and are good at it. We "unschooled" and our approach to our son's education would never have withstood government scrutiny. Our son is now thriving in college on a full scholarship, so family and friends no longer berate us with their concerns. On the other hand, I think the motivations for home schooling matter and in my experience it is not a suitable alternative for most families.
a friend of ours is using an online school vs home school. So far she is really happy with it. Another friend's daughter graduated from it and is now in college. Here is the link: http://www.flvs.net/
I was simply questioning what seems unreasonable or stringent. What I am reading is...
The kids have to go to school from 5-16 yrs. old - just like in public school.
No number of required days - isn't it 186 in public school?
The Comm.has to approve the tutor and the courses - in public school, the teachers have to be certified and they have to teach reading, writing and 'rithmatic, etc.
The Dept. of Ed may examine the pupils - they are seen everyday in public school, and one of the responsibilities of our school personnel is to notice and report anything abnormal, such as abuse, lack of nutrition, etc. I don't know if that would be the purpose of the examination. It could also be just to determine if the kid is learning anything, but for whatever reason, what's the harm?
If you want to be a private school, you have to be inspected. Isn't that reasonable?
No teacher qualifications or standardized test. - That sure doesn't seem stringent.
Just my opinion. No offense to anyone, and again, maybe I am not reading it correctly.
Juanita, what I've heard from other parents is that the VI doesn't want you to home school because they want the money for that kid in public school. So its almost impossible to get approved to do it legally. So from what I can tell most parents do not do it the legal route (through the VI) they do it through their home states usually.
CS- You can contact me at email@example.com. We have an online email group of homeschoolers on STT. Dnt has quoted you the "law" of the VI, which in may or may not be enforced. As head of the local homeschool group the education department has told me that the first thing you need to do is submit a "Letter of Intent" with the department. In theory they are supposed to approve your suggested teaching curriculum and visit your home twice a year. I know several homeschoolers, some who have homeschooled their children all the way through to college and never had a visit. There are advantages to submitting the letter of intent, because the government is required to allow your child to participate and have access to anything public school students have access. For example, school sports, standardized testing, spelling bees, science fairs, etc. One homeschool mother was even able to get school desks for her children.
So in short, in my observation it seems the education department is little concerned about homeschoolers (at least on STT). They do not offer any support such as curriculum, books, etc. They will not offer any services either. If you want something you will have to ask for it, and expect for them to not know what to do with you and tell you no. You will have to be persistent.
If you are considering moving to the VI and homeschooling, the support group is a great resource. It will help you and your child adjust. Again, you can email me at the above address and I will send you an invite to the group.