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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is Homeschool / Homeschooling?

    Homeschool is a progressive movement where parents take a more hands-on approach to their children’s education with higher levels of involvement by working actively with their student in selecting curriculum, courses, instructors, online programs, and by acting as an instructor in some cases. Homeschooling practices may vary from student to student, however, there are usually some common characteristics.

    So, what are some of these common characteristics? Education is parent directed.

    This does not mean that the parent teaches every subject, (although it might!) but that the parent is ultimately responsible to oversee the education of their child.

    Education is customized to meet the child’s and the family’s needs.

    Parents have the freedom to create an experience that encompasses the academic, social, and family values and schedules that fits their goals and needs.

    Education can take on a broader meaning beyond “academics.”

    Families can enjoy the freedom of expanding their definition of education to include shared life experiences beyond academics and book learning.

    Education is primarily home based.

    This doesn’t mean all learning is done at home (hence terms like unschooling, eclectic homeschooling—and even “roadschooling,” “boatschooling,” and “worldschooling”).

    It does mean that homeschooling has a significant component of home involved in contrast to the choice to outsource learning primarily to others and in other environments.

    Educational choices are up to the parent but must still comply with state homeschooling laws.

    This is really important.

    Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, not every official is friendly to homeschooling, aware of its benefits, or familiar with the law regarding homeschooling.


  2. Why parents choose homeschool?

    Most parents and youth decide to homeschool for more than one reason. Among others, the most common reasons given for homeschooling are the following: Customize or individualize the curriculum and learning environment for each child and accomplish more academically than in schools, use approaches other than those typical in institutional schools in an effort to customize the instruction to the student’s needs.

    • Enhance family relationships between children and parents and among siblings.
    • Provide guided and reasoned social interactions with peers and adults.
    • Provide differentiated and individualized instruction to students for whom the classroom environment is not conducive (e.g., students who are considered gifted, special education, or may exhibit cognitive impairment)
    • Provide a safer environment for children and youth, because of physical violence, drugs and alcohol, psychological abuse, racism, and improper and unhealthy sexuality associated with institutional schools.
    • As an alternative education approach when public or private institutional schools are closed due to acute health situations such as related to disease (e.g., Covid-19, coronavirus).
    • Protect children from the soft racism of low expectations for minority students (e.g., Black) (e.g., Fields-smith, 2020; mazama & lundy, 2012).
    • Teach and impart a particular set of values, beliefs, and worldview to children and youth.

    Source: NHERI


  3. What is the philosophy of homeschool?

    The general philisophical approach of homeschool is parents becoming the primary voice in their children’s education. Parents have often felt excluded from their children’s education.

    Often parents complain that they feel powerless to influence the decisions around curriculum, instruction, or even discipline decisions. Parents frequently feel as if they are blind to decisions in schools because of a veil of bureaucracy.

    Homeschooling permits parents to remove the veil and maintain a higher level of influence and involvement. Parental involvement is highly correlated to academic outcomes & success.


  4. What is OUR philosophy of homeschool?

    Clearly, academic success should be a primary goal of education efforts. We invite parental involvement in course construction and curriculum selection. We must ask why we are educating them in the first place.

    At Roanoke Salem Homeschool Academy, we seek to help families educate their children to the Glory of God. Education exists to help people learn of God and know Him through Christ. Our purpose is simple.

    Why do we learn to read? So we can read the word of God and know Him.

    Why do we learn maths? So that we might count and see the blessings God has given.

    Why do we learn history? So we can see God working throughout time in His creation and not forget the good things he has done.

    Why do we learn science? Because God has hidden His wonder in plain sight that we can know and seek Him.

    “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17: 3 ESV

    A word of caution: The homeschool movement is vulnerable to indoctrinating a legalistic view of God. It is easy for homeschool families to get caught up in “what we DON’T permit or do” and take an elitist stance of superiority. This is not our stance and should be guarded against with diligence.


  5. Is Roanoke Salem Homeschool Academy a Co-Op?

    While we do share some aspects with homeschool co-ops, Roanoke Salem Homeschool Academy is not a TRUE co-op. Co-ops are generally characterized by parents “cooperativelly” instructing students at no charge. While many parents do teach, they are not required to. At The Homeschool Academy, parents pay to purchase instructional services from instructors. While the instructors MAY be other parents, they can include others from the community including pastors, friends, professionals, family members, and, yes, parents.


  6. How does homeschool differ from other models?

    Homeschool offers flexibility and transparency not afforded parents in traditional models of education. Because homeschool parents are the primary decision makers for their children’s education, efforts around homeschooling support models frequently put the parents decisions as the driving factor for their offerings. By focusing on parent and student drivers, the homeschool support systems can often customize and individualize content delivery to maximize learning and mastery of content without sacrificing quality of instruction.

  7. How is a co-op academy different from hybrid models?

    While there are similarities between homeschool co-ops and hybrid school models, many times the differences are substantial. While both offer some degree of classroom instruction, many times the hybrid models offer lackluster, online content as supplementary instruction at home. Since these online programs are usually selected by the state or municipality as a one-size-fits-all offering, even if the parents wanted the content to be changed, it is usually impossible for the parents to have any input in the curriculum selection or instructional delivery.

    Hybrid models typically follow state academic calendars and state specified curiculum for all participants across all offered subjects. Also, most hybrid models are fixed to an every-other-day offering classes either on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays, or Tuesdays,Thursdays where the students are using online content and class work during their homebound days.

    While homeschool co-ops & academies do offer classroom instruction and can utilize online content, the parents are encouraged to regularly communicate with the instructors to gage the effectiveness & appropriateness of the content being offered. Additionally, the co-op instructors are at liberty to individualize the content and modify the course to meet the students’ needs without being held to an arbitrary timeline.

    Homeschool co-op models are typically 1-2 days per week with some offering 3-4 day options. Courses are offered a la carte and afford a great deal of flexibility in daily attendance, participation, and subject offerings.

    Because homeschool co-ops rely on and require high levels of parental involvement, there is more of a shared responsibility with the parents to insure content mastery. Parental involvement and cooperative assessment, can increase the liklihood of academic success in courses offered. There is far less risk of performance drops going unnoticed.

    One aspect of homeschooling is seeking progressive proficiency. Levels of mastery of a subject can differ among students based on their interest category, age, and specific academic leanings. For parents, it is often more important to build skills that will facilitate the student’s future life and career than to expect a student to achieve some level of comprehensive mastery over all subjects.

    In other words, if a student has interest in being a chef, the parents and student may feel no need to get an A in physics – much less to even take the course. However, a student wishing to becoming a nuclear engineer may feel the need to take and excel at higher sciences and maths.

  8. How do homeschool students fare compared to their peers?

    Among other evidence cited, the home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. (The public school average is roughly the 50th percentile; scores range from 1 to 99.) A 2015 study found Black homeschool students score 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public school students (Ray, 2015).

    78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools (Ray, 2017).

    Source: NHERI

  9. How do the social aspects of homeschool compare to other models?

    Research facts on homeschooling show that the home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.

    87% of peer-reviewed studies on social, emotional, and psychological development show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in conventional schools (Ray, 2017).

    Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.

    The balance of research to date suggests that homeschool students may suffer less harm (e.g., abuse, neglect, fatalities) than conventional school students.

    Source: NHERI

  10. Who are the teachers classes at The Homeschool Academy?

    In most homeschool co-ops, parents make up a significant portion of the instructional staff – approximately 70–85% of teachers are parents of students. However, frequently grandparents, retired teachers, professionals, and even older students can step in to teach as long as there is a reasonable curriculum and a level of mastery of the subject. New classes and instructors may request the director to review curriculum and offer advice on how to best instruct a course.

    Most of the time, teachers only offer to instruct courses where they have both an interest and a higher level of proficiency. In core academic courses, we would recommend a demonstrable proficiency (meaning a successful completion of higher level courses, professional certifications, degrees, or some level of mastery) before allowing a person to instruct a course. There is no specific legal requirement for these recommendations and The Homeschool Academy does not require these, however, it is advisable as instructors, parents, and students m may be dissatisfied with subjects that are a poor fit.

    For Example: Anatomy may be instructed by someone who has a high degree of interest and knowledge in the topic who could follow a well-built curriculum, but we would not require the instructor have a medical or biology degree.

    To improve instructional delivery, the director of the Homeschool Academy will offer trainings throughout the year with an initial dry-run walk through before co-op kicks off each year. Additionally, the director will make regular drop-in observations of instruction and offer helpful assessments and advice to the teachers as a way to continually improve instructional design and delivery.

  11. How would teachers be selected, evaluated, & monitored?

    Teachers are often selected based on their interest in course offerings. Sometimes, teachers offer to instruct a new class. Other times, parents ask for specific people to teach a class. As long as the parents are comfortable with the skill level and classroom management, this has shown to be an effective way of selecting instructors.

    Each year, teachers will be required to attend various trainings during co-op class days where instructional observations may be brought to light as a way of helping all teachers to improve their craft. The Director (and possibly the Assistant Director) will regularly offer class observations and assessment to teachers. Additionally, teachers may be coached one-on-one to help with acute or in-the-moment issues or overcome instructional obstacles.

  12. What would West Salem Baptist require of teachers in the Homeschool Academy?

    Teachers will be required to pass a criminal background check before beginning instruction.

    Parents will need to be comfortable with the instructors proficiency and classroom management. New instructors and curriculum may require review from the Director and Elders of West Salem.

    Teachers should have a level of interest in the course they are instructing. We prefer the instructors offer some assurance of proficiency in the subject.

    Example: A senior high school student may wish to teach an elementary art course. It would be expected that the student has an interest in art and teaching art. It would also be expected the student have demonstrated to some degree their proficiency. Regardless of age, we would request the instructor be reliable and timely. Ultimately, it is the parents who select the teacher with their willingness to pay for the course. While this is not a foolproof method of selecting instructors, consider that it has served students and parents far better than the selection method employed in local government-funded schools.

  13. What is required for parents to teach at Roanoke Salem Homeschool Academy?

    • Cleared criminal background check
    • Be professing Christians.
    • Pass a criminal Backround Check
    • Agree and sign our statement of faith.
    • Be willing to repent when needed.
    • Be able to reliably handle a class of 30 weeks.
    • Be able to select appropriate curriculum, materials, and assignments for the course.
    • Submit a detailed list of materials purchased with supply fees.
    • Work with parents and students to ensure success and overcome obstacles, discipline issues, and academic struggles.
    • Not be heavy-handed with punative and disciplinary measures.
    • Not be demeaning or insulting to students, parents, or staff. We expect our instructors to behave admirably.
  14. What are the state’s LEGAL requirements to teach at The Homeschool Academy?

    As a homeschool co-op, aside from a criminal background check, there are no required licenses, certifications, or state regulations to instruct. However, that is not to say that just anyone is allowed to teach in the co-op. Our parents and students require that we find teachers who are both responsible and capable instructors for the subjects and courses which they lead. Parents and students have no obligation to continue in a course for any reason. They can, and will “vote with their feet” if the instructor is not demonstrating proficiency or decorum in the class.

  15. Will parents be required to teach at Roanoke Salem Homeschool Academy?

    Initially, we may need parents to step up to instruct courses based on instructor availability. Our single largest need is qualified, quality instructors to cover a variety of classes, ages, and interest categories. As we gain more families, we may require an interview for parents who wish to teach at the academy. We recommend teachers have spent at least 1 school year with us as a get-to-know-you period.

    It is our hope and expectation to find great quality instructors who are invested in the homeschool community.

  16. What qualifications do the parents have or need?

    Are parents qualified to teach their students? It depends. Many parents initially feel ill equipped to teach subjects they haven’t faced in a classroom in years – sometimes decades. However, parents of elementary and middle school students quickly realize they often have a better grasp on the subjects than their initial fears seem to betray.

    Still, high school courses often make parents tremble, with some parents even retreating to traditional models out of fear they will fail their children in more rigorous, academic courses like the Algebras, Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, and much of the STEM field classes. However, most homeschool parents realize they can utilize many more resources than the traditional, charter, magnet, and private schools would offer.

    However, more often than not, parents are frequently NOT instructing their student’s classes. Instead, most parents engage outside help from grandparents, retired teachers, tutors, friends, and co-op instructors. By curating assistance from the community, parents remain engaged and are able to selectively assemble a dream team to meet their students’ ever changing educational needs.

    Traditional schools are often reflected in real estate prices. In reality, even parents who have the ability to afford higher real estate are, in some ways, making as much of the decision(s) on education as the homeschool parent. Frequently, when parents purchase a home, they are aiming for their student to be in the best schools* with the best teachers and around the most desirable peer group. Homeschool parents are no different.

    However, homeschool parents are less likely to outsource the teacher selection process to the local municipal school board. Instead, they are often intentional about selecting their instructors and willing to change that selection if the child’s educational performance indicates change is needed. While it is true that there are parents who make these choices based on many factors, academic performance remains a top motivator for finding instructors.

    *”Best Schools” is often an arbitrary term that seems to be centered on data around test scores and the ABSENCE of reported violence in the school. While many other factors may be considered, it is well documented that students in traditional schools are at a higher risk of experiencing violence, bullying, threats, or crimes.

    “Substantial percentages of U.S. students in the 6th through 12th grades face crime or threats at school or on the way to or from school. Seventy-one per- cent of students reported that bullying, physical attack, or robbery had happened at their schools; about one-quarter students said that they worry about becoming victims of crime or threats at school, and about one student in eight was victimized at school. Exposure to dangerous or threatening behavior at school was most common for students attending middle or junior high schools, students at public schools, and students at larger schools.”

    Source: National Center for Education Statistics

  17. Are you affiliated with any other homeschool groups in the Roanoke valley?

    Roanoke Salem Homeschool is a separate entity from other homeschool co-ops in the Roanoke area.

    While there are many great co-ops options, Roanoke Salem Homeschool sets itself apart from other co-ops by offering classes an a la carte model and gathering top-notch instructors at a centrally located venue accessible to Roanoke, Botetourt, Bedford, Floyd, Franklin, and Montgomery counties. This allows parents to instruct where they feel most comfortable while NOT requiring that parents must teach.

Meeting at West Salem Baptist


500 Turner Rd
Salem, VA 24153

Church Phone:

(540) 389-2129