Religious Exemption Sample Letter
In the state of Virginia if your children have already attended public school in the past, and you want to homeschool them under the religious exemption provision, then you have to send a letter to the local school board requesting permission &/or stating your intentions. This frees one from all government interference with testing and curriculum approval and also allows one to educate one's children according to biblical standards. Below you will find the letter I wrote to my local school board in order to obtain religious exemption in the state of Virginia. We were granted Religiously Exempt status a week later.
Hint: Do not copy
anyone else's letter.
To Whom It May Concern,
We are writing to let you know that we intend to homeschool our children in accordance with the religious exemption statute 22.1-254(B)(1). Our children, Tommy ------ and Jamie ----- have attended public school in the past. We have recently felt the Lord's calling upon our heart to repent of this practice and mend our ways. We believe that the Bible, God's Holy, Living Word instructs us to take responsibility for their education ourselves.
Our job as parents is to give our children the religious and educational foundations they need in order to grow into intelligent, productive, Christian men.
One of the methods that God instructs us to use in home education is to teach our children His Word, and right principles of living throughout the day. The above verses specify that we should teach when we sit together at meals or for fellowship and when we work at our daily labors. The last phrase specifically commands us to make evening and morning devotions a time of family education.
Children are obliged to honor their parent's traditions and their parent's values. God promises children who follow this teaching that they will have long lives filled with abundance. When our children attended public school they learned many philosophies and traditions that conflicted with the principles they were being taught at home. This put them in a position where they had to choose between believing what the teachers were saying or believing in the Word of God. You can imagine that this was very uncomfortable for them. Children especially, should not be put in the position where they must choose success in school or eternal salvation. Yet this is exactly what was happening to them.
Our children know that God is their savior and that they have an obligation as Christians to share their convictions with others. When they heard the teachers teaching worldly philosophies, they could immediately discern that "the spirit of truth" was not in the words they heard. They were hearing words with the "spirit of error". While they knew they should respect their elders, specifically the teachers, they also knew that what they were learning was at times, directly contradictory to God's Word. This lead to some heartfelt frustration on their part. Reconciling their spiritual beliefs with a public school curriculum became a heavy burden for them to bear.
This tells us that even though a public education may seem like a doorway to worldly wisdom, God sees it as a foolish use of our intellectual resources.
Additionally, God teaches us that as Christians we are called to be separate from the world. We live in the world, but we are called to live separate lives, with Christ at the center.
In this passage we see the doctrine commanding us to live separate lives. We are told that in order to be received by God that we must first "come out from among them, and be separate". We feel that it is impossible for our children to lead separate lives while attending public school.
As Christians we aspire to experience the perfect will of God. When we are affected, or even consumed by the world and it's sexual lusts, temptations, and vanities we are essentially wasting our time. God warns us that the satisfactions of this world are temporary. They will pass away. Yet when we keep ourselves from conforming to the world we are actively investing in our eternity. Certainly eternity is much more important to our family than the temporary enticements from the world.
In public schools our children are compelled to interact with "strange children" who do not have the same biblical priorities that they do. Without meaning to do so, these other children expose our children to wickedness that they are not equipped to handle. Teachers and other school leaders are not able to be everywhere at once. Misbehavior, horseplay and inappropriate items brought from home fall through the cracks. In order for our sons to grow up as strong healthy plants we need to protect them from this type of worldly temptation to wickedness, which we feel unable to do while they attend public schools.
This passage teaches us to avoid the types of temptations that our children have faced in public school. Jesus died for us, for our sins, in return we desire to keep his commandments and to follow his teachings. We want to be the peculiar people referred to above; living soberly, righteously, denying worldly lusts and being zealous of good works. The conditions in public schools cause our children to stumble spiritually and prevent them from living out their convictions in the wholehearted manner that God expects from us.
Finally we believe that religion and education are inseparable.
When we give our hearts and our will over to God as we understand him, we are filled with a desire to learn more about Him through His Word. Because of the separation of church and state, public schools are unable to offer this type of comprehensive education to our children. In order to teach them in the way that God has commanded, we must educate themselves, at home.
Mr. & Mrs. Fred & Maggie