Child Custody in Virginia When the Child is Homeschooled (Part A)Homeschooling is a legitimate and well-regarded alternative form of education in the United States. However, problems can arise for a homeschooled child when his or her parents get a divorce and enter in to child custody disputes. Your disputes over child custody in Virginia could become infinitely more complicated if you wish your child to be homeschooled and your husband does not.
Child Custody in Virginia and the Homeschooled Child
Laws regarding such important decisions as your child's education vary according to your Virginia child custody arrangements. If you have joint legal custody with your husband, education decisions must be reached by a consensus between you and your husband. If you have sole legal custody, you can make all education decisions yourself.
If custody arrangements are still being disputed, you may need to defend your decision of homeschooling your child. To gain legal or physical child custody in Virginia you must prove that your homeschooled child is being met with certain standards of fulfillment:
- Academic fulfillment;
- Social fulfillment; and
- Developmental fulfillment.
Academic Fulfillment for a Homeschooled Child
Perhaps the most widely accepted measure of academic achievement is standardized testing. If you are able to show that your child can succeed on a standardized test you will likely have an easier time of demonstrating that homeschooling has been effective academically.
However, standardized testing is not the only method by which you can prove academic success. If your homeschooled child does not do well on standardized tests or your method of education is not demonstrated in this manner, you have other options, including:
- Making a portfolio of your child's work;
- Making a video displaying your child's achievements in the homeschooling environment; and
- Having your child assessed by an educational psychologist.
Social Fulfillment for a Homeschooled Child
This may be your most difficult challenge as the main argument of most opponents of homeschooling is the lack of socialization for homeschooled children. However, many studies have now proven that a homeschooled child could be socialized just as well as, if not better than, his peers at larger institutions.
Along with evidence of such studies, you may wish to provide the court with evidence of:
- Activities your homeschooled child is involved in;
- Homeschooling groups;
- Field trips; and
- Any other extracurricular events.
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