(You may print the handbook using the printer icon on the upper right hand corner of this page. The Acrobat icon printing produces a poor quality print out of this handbook. You can also email it to yourself or a friend).

What is Virtual Homeschool International?


This handbook of Virtual Homeschool International should make using the school easier for you and your student. The Virtual Homeschool International was started by homeschooling parents just like you who felt the cost of homeschooling was just too high. We decided to make it more affordable. Virtual Homeschool International is our best effort towards making homeschooling accessible to parents who care.
We aren't a large corporation; we are a homeschool mom and dad who have Ph.D.'s in education. We were surprised when we first began homeschooling to find it was so expensive. So we set out to find a low-cost alternative. Because we could not find one, we created VHI.

There are several sources for the materials used in Virtual Homeschool International. 

  1. Internet web sites that have shown to be good examples or provide solid information for educators and students to use.
  2. Sites offering free materials that have been organized by Virtual Homeschool International for use in the various grade levels.
  3. Public sites such as Project Gutenberg, which are used by Virtual Homeschool International as library sites for readings and textbooks.
  4. Lastly, the Virtual Homeschool International site itself which has many digitized books not available elsewhere, and original worksheets and lesson books. These are available through the grade levels and through the Virtual Homeschool International vlibrary on the mainmenu.

Who Are You?
We are a non-denominational entity. While some of the resources used are Christian, most have alternative choices, and no one groups' politics or religion is presented here. On the other hand, we do try to provide links that students and their parents might use to learn about other views and cultures. Dr. and Dr. Klein have nine adopted children, six of whom are still living at home and are being homeschooled with this curriculum.

For Beginners: If this is your first experience with homeschooling, or if you are coming off of a very prescriptive program with daily lesson plans and right and wrong answers, please invest in the book, "Detoxing" by Ed Dickerson about overcoming schoolish thinking. It is a must have for the adjustment period.
How to use Virtual Homeschool International
Virtual Homeschool International is less complicated to use than you might think at first. We have kept the design simple so that it can be used on most computer systems and most browsers. You may notice some differences between other online homeschools and Virtual Homeschool International; some of the differences between schools may be related to simplicity. 
We want Virtual Homeschool International to be simple for both you and your child to use. Books and documents have been provided by link so that there are no extra expenses beyond your Internet connection and your yearly enrollment fee. We even provide lined paper templates for each grade level.
Site Templates
Site templates are customizable from the left sidebar after you have logged in. If you change the template you are using to view the site you will only make changes locally on the computer you are working on, and not for anyone else, so it is okay to make changes. Be aware that changing the site template changes the template for all pages on the homeschool site, so you will lose the variety of the other pages if you vary from the site "default" templates by selecting your own. We offer a selection of templates because there are many different systems out there and not every template works on every system, and a selection of templates gives users some choice in the look of their homeschool. The template may return to the “default” if you logout and then login again, simply reselect the template you wish to use.
Suggestions for using Virtual Homeschool International
Choosing a grade level to start your student. Start in the grade in which he or she last experienced success. You can adjust the grade level up or down once you find the level where your student is comfortable working. Allow about a week to try different levels until you find the child's comfort level. Most times there will be several text options per grade to choose from. Look through the texts and choose the one you feel meets the needs of your student. More text options will be added as time goes on.
Once you have located the grade you'd like your child to use for each subject area, print out the Scope n Sequence (topics to be covered this school year) for that grade level from the Homeschool Student's course Menu. These will serve as your record of what you and your student will cover this school year. Next, make a copy of the weekly schedule. Both assigned and blank schedules are provided for your convenience. Then plan your week. Feel free to make changes to the schedules that suit both you and your student.
Keep your weekly schedule handy as a record of books and pages covered each day. With this record you can choose either to print out books and documents from sites, or use them online and keep records of texts used and pages covered.
Most files used by VHI are in the PDF Library.
Printing Materials
There are three options for using online texts:
  1. Print out the book or text from the linked source.
  2. Print out each day's lessons from the linked sources.
  3. Don't print out text sources and have the student read them online. Keep careful records of the location and lessons covered so that you can return later to complete lessons.
When printing out books there are several suggestions.
  1. Think about using a three ring binder to keep reading materials in. This is much simpler than any other method of binding.
  2. Use staples. Most staplers can handle about 25 pages, tops, unless you use an industrial device, which can be expensive.
  3. Take printed pages to a copy center and ask them to staple, comb bind, or to punch holes in materials for the three ring binder.
  4. You can go to the Bookbinding page on Educator's Resources link on the main menu and follow the directions there.
Our advice is to let the site host the book or document and print out only what you need, when you need it. The big upside of using this method is that will not have to store the texts and books.
Some books have been digitized as two pages per sheet books. These books can be used either by cutting each page in two, or by hole punching the long side and using a three ring binder to read two pages at a time by turning the binder clockwise. These two pages per sheet books can be read on Acrobat reader by rotating the pager clockwise from the tool bar at the top of the Acrobat page. Some of these books appear to have light print. You can make the print easier to see either by using the plus sign at the top of the Acrobat page to increase the text size, or you can print the page. Printing seems to darken the text. Our most favorite way to print these books is not to. Just leave the book online and print out only what you need. Keep records of the pages you have covered. Math books may be one example of when you might want to print out each days work a day at a time. Math books with answer keys will have the keys at the end of each section. Print these pages and keep them to check your student's work.

Note* When printing PDF files, choose the “fit to page” option in your printer menu if you wish to print small sized books as 8.5 x 11 inch documents. These are easier to read and to bind.
Do keep your weekly schedules and subject goals in a three ring binder. A 2-inch binder should do nicely for each student per year.
Books that should be printed:
  1. Nature study/Science notebooks and New Word Dictionaries: We made these books so that they can be easily stapled into small pamphlets.
  2. Sections of texts and subjects you wish to use offline such as art courses, or worksheets and math lessons that are best completed off line.
Navigation: Navigation within grades is from the Homeschool Student's Menu on the left side bar after you enter the "Course Rooms." All grades and subjects are accessable there. 
Click through these resources and get a feel for what Virtual Homeschool International has to offer as resources.
Virtual Homeschool International Libraryies
The Virtual Homeschool International library has over 1,200 books and text links. These are linked from within the grade and subject levels as assignments, and are also available from the Library link on the main menu on the left side bar. Books in the Library are listed by "subject", "title", and by "author." For example, clicking the "author" link at the top of a library page will bring up the "authors" on that page listed by name. Subjects can be listed by clicking on the subject area at the top of the library page.
Choose Your Own Interest Day
Choose your interest day is a suggestion to let the student decide what to study in depth. The student may choose the same subject for several weeks if the subject is then studied at a deeper level each session. Worksheet reports are provided at each level for reporting "choose your own interest" topics and information. These forms are located in the Records/Forms item on the Homeschool Student's Menu.
Time: We cannot tell you how much time a day your child must spend on his or her schoolwork. Our children spend from one to three hours a day during the school year, and 30 minutes to one hour during the summer. Some children will be done faster, and some will take longer. Some will need bribes and conditions. Others will just do it because it is who they are. They are much like people that way.

Your local district authorities:

Virtual Homeschool International is a curriculum resource and community with guidelines and suggestions. Most states allow a good deal of freedom in homeschooling. Others require a plan of study. The Scope and Sequence page should serve as documentation for states requiring a plan of study. 
Homeschool legal requirements for states vary. You should consult the rules for your state at HSLDA and submit the proper forms for your local school district. Homeschoolers outside of the USA will need to consult their local regulations. We are neither a state public school, nor a private school, but an online Homeschool. We will provide a statement of enrollment to you for your children upon request, but it is up to you to maintain the provided attendance records. 
The Texts We Use 
Most of the texts we use are antiques. We use these texts for a few good reasons: 
  1. These texts are in the public domain and so can be digitized by us and used at a lower cost.
  2. In the years between 1800-1900, schools were often taught by teachers with little or no education in teaching. There are many helps and hints in these texts that are perfect for homeschoolers.
  3. The texts have stood the test of time and are regarded as excellent examples of how a subject should be taught. Your grandparents' generation may have used the same texts and would have gotten an excellent education because of them.
  4. Public education has taken a nosedive in the last 40-50 years. Tests scores are lower and the average level of achievement has fallen. Text books written after this time may reflect these downward trends and be unsuitable for homeschool purposes.
  5. We can make these texts available to homeschool families for a fraction of what current texts are now selling for, even though most of the content is the same.
  6. Using this curriculum allows the student or educator to make instant changes in curriculum to suit the needs of the student. No time is lost due to mailings or price changes, and there are no extra charges.
  7. By using curricula that has been the standard in the past, we can offer a wider range of excellent curricula to a broader range of students. We can offer basic courses to those who need more time to master skills and the ability to move more quickly to other students. We can offer the ability to move at the student's pace, while preparing the student who is college bound.
This is the same curriculum we use with our own children. We don't think you should settle for anything less. 
Attendance sheets 
There are two kinds, the printed one that serves as your records, and the xls attendance sheet that you can keep with your grade book. The printed attendance sheet doesn't have the days of the week marked on it because many homeschoolers like to include weekend activities in their homeschool records; for this reason, there are 31 calendar days represented for each month, and the educator can fill in M T W Th F or the calendar date.

You may also use Homeschool Reporting Online at a %50 discount fee of $10.00 simply because you are a VHI enrolled family. Use the discount code provided for this option in the "Start Page" on the student menu when signing up for this service. This option includes: Attendance, a transcript (report card), lesson plan recording, and activities recording (for your portfolio) for each student in your family. You can print these out after you have saved them. 
The Report Card is yours to fill out as well. The grade record is located on the Educator's Resources page in the FAQ on the mainmenu.

We provide curriculum for the educator to use with the student, or for the student to use, however, record keeping is the educator's (parent's) responsibility. As the student's primary instructor, it is up to the educator to assign a grade for each course and this can be rather subjective. 
Search: There is a search function on the site. Search is located on the main menu and on the upper right hand side of pages in the cmsinfolight template. You can find information on topics, text books, or other resources by using the search function. If you don't find what you are looking for, you will be given the option of searching on Google.
My Links: My Links are for you, the user, to add links that are handy or important to you. The links are attached to your VHI account and are only available to you. Use them to make your VHI experience more powerful for yourself or your student.

Start Page: The start page on the student menu, and the main page after you have logged on, has your directions for how to use the school, the course rooms, and it also has important forms listed on the bottom of the page. An "Important Forms" link is located on the start pages and will have many of the forms you will want to use while you homeschool.

P. E.  Log: The P. E.  Log is listed both on the Student menu and on the start page in the important forms table. The P. E.  Log may be set to private in the preferences and then your records will not be seen by other users. Unfortunately, the P. E. log can only record the activities of one family member at a time.

Racially or Culturally Offensive Materials
Some of our resources are very old classical curriculum, many in the original version; some of these resources might be racially or culturally offensive, such as Black Beauty which has the word "ni**er" in its text. Some portray cultures in a derisive manner. These are antiquated and historical views that are not endorsed by Virtual Homeschool International, but the resources are provided as an example of World and American history. We have tried to avoid such materials; however, sometimes it is just an example of the history of our culture. It's there. We warn parents and students about this material as we become aware of the problem. Feel free to leave any portion of the curriculum out of your child's experience if you feel it is offensive. Blatant examples such as "Little Black Sambo" are not part of our curriculum. If you come across material that is offensive to you outside of its historical relevance, let us know and we will look into removing it.

Student Independence
Encourage your student to take responsibility for their instruction and education as early as you see he or she is able. This is a life long skill that will put him or her ahead of peers.
New links and resources are added daily. 

TELL YOUR FRIENDS and help us spread the low cost alternative word. Tell them you have found the perfect answer to low-cost quality homeschool education!

The Scope of the school
The school covers preschool to 12th grade. We have been careful to make the curricula close to what the public schools are teaching at each grade level. You can move at your own speed and more quickly if you choose. Because all of our curricula are online, you will not have to pay extra fees for your child to change grade levels in any subject. Your only obligation is to keep records of the changes you and your child make. There is no fee for summer homeschool either. Simply choose what you wish to cover over the summer, and go for it. 
The Future
Our plans are to keep expanding the school, to offer more resources, and to keep the cost of homeschooling low. Virtual Homeschool International has over 600 students from all over the world... join us.

Thank you and good luck with homeschooling, 
Dr. Elizabeth Klein, Dir.

Additional information