Religious Exemptions

By Christine Tate, June 5, 2014

If you live in a state that regulates homeschoolers, you need to file your intent to homeschool. In many states, when you decide to homeschool, you have the option of requesting what is called a “Religious Exemption”. Going the route of Religious Exemption is more work upfront, but less work long-term. It also puts you in a position where the local powers that be must leave you alone completely. For example, in Virginia, anyone can homeschool by simply filling out what is called a “Notice of Intent” or NOI for short and filing it with the school board. The form must then be re-submitted annually by August 15 of every year and your child must take an annual competency test for proof of minimal educational competency for their grade level. The NOI also has a section where you must tell the school board what your curriculum plans are for the year. In Virginia, when you go the Religious Exemption route, you submit your statement of faith with a few other pieces of requested information and have it voted on for approval by the school board at their next meeting. Once it is approved, you get a formal letter from the school board notifying you that your request has been granted. From that point on, you have no further contact with or obligations to the school board nor can they request anything from you.

In order to write the statement of faith letter for the Religious Exemption request, you’ll need to do some soul searching about why you feel God is leading you to homeschool. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to homeschool and choosing to request a Religious Exemption, but what are the reasons you, specifically, feel God is calling you to homeschool through a Religious Exemption? Below are some scriptures related to homeschooling and/or the educational process that you can use as foundations for your argument in your letter. Some of them may speak to you, some of them may not. These are just a few suggestions to help get you started:

“Be not conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2

“Be ye not yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

“Come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 6:17

“Learn not the way of the heathen…” Jeremiah 10:2

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Isaiah 54:13

“As a man thinketh in His heart, so is He.” Proverbs 23:7

“Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

“Hear my son your Father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8

“Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:2-4

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 

“Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

“And Jesus answering said unto them, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Mark 12:17

“ Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5

“And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.” Genesis 33:5

“And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.” Genesis 48:8-9

Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:18

And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” Hebrews 2:13

“I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.” Psalm 91:2

“You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble.” Psalm 32:7

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, you save me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3

“Choose ye this day who you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

I hope these scriptures help you organize your thoughts and guide you in writing your Statement of Faith for a Religious Exemption. May you be blessed in your homeschooling journey!


Know Your Child’s Learning Style

By Christine Tate, March 25, 2014

God makes each and every one of us unique and special.  Just as God appreciates us for who we are and relates to us on levels we can understand, so too must we, as homeschooling parents, understand each child and how best to reach that child.  One way to do this is to understand your child’s learning style.  Your child will probably have a blend of styles, but if you look closely, you’ll see one particular style that stands out among the others as their dominant style.  The three main styles are Audio Learners, Visual Learners, and Kinetic Learners.

The Audio Learner processes information best when it is heard.  If you want them to remember something, they need to hear it.  To maximize the education experience for the Audio Learner, try reading to them and giving them audio books to listen to.  You can also use videotaped lectures where they can listen to the lesson before tackling the workbook.  Playing soft classical music in the background may also help them focus on their work when their assignment is visually based.  Group discussions and oral reports are another way to bring sound into the learning environment.

For the Kinetic Learner, motion helps them process information.  Try letting them act out vocabulary words like a reverse form of charades (give them the word, then let them act it out as they define it).  Acting lessons are a good way for the Kinetic Learner to learn story development.  Younger children may benefit from a trip to the park to learn their A, B, C’s.  They can feel the swing of the “J” on the slide and experience the roundness of the “O” on the merry-go-round.  Math can turn into a kinetic experience with a bowl of M&M’s or pennies.  Nature walks can turn into science experiments.  The possibilities are endless to add movement into the education experience.

Visual Learners need to see something to be able to recall it.  Workbooks work well for this type of learner, especially workbooks that are colorful and visually engaging.  Anything you can do to bring visual images with high impact into your classroom will enrich their recall ability.  If you’re talking about geography, use colorful photographs of different countries to engage them.  Watching a documentary will give them good visual recall for history.  A trip to the art museum will stimulate their visual processing abilities for art appreciation.

The possibilities for reaching your child are only limited by your imagination.  Try to include elements of all three learning styles in your lesson plans to make learning the richest experience possible.  Above all, trust your instincts.  God gave you the child you have because He knows you are the parent your child needs.  You, as the parent, will best know what they need and how to connect with them to give them the best education possible.



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