What are the requirements for homeschooling in Virginia?
Virginia homeschool laws outline three basic options for home instruction in the state:
- Follow the Virginia Home Instruction Statute, which regulates that homeschool parents must meet specific educational criteria, file a notice of intent to homeschool, comply with immunization requirements, and submit evidence of academic achievement annually
- Teach under a certified tutor provision
- Claim the religious exemption statute for a bona fide excused attendance from public schooling based on sincere religious conviction
This page will detail more about these options for homeschooling in Virginia and will guide parents and students toward the key information they need to know when starting to homeschool in the Old Dominion state.
- Virginia Homeschool Requirements
- Your Notice of Intent
- Switching from Public School to Homeschool
- Homeschool Recordkeeping in Virginia
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling in VA
- Additional Resources for Homeschooling in Texas
*This information was not compiled by a lawyer. This should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
Virginia Homeschool Requirements
The compulsory attendance law in Virginia relates to children who are between the ages of 5 and 18. It is completely legal, however, for parents to use home education in lieu of school attendance to meet compulsory requirements. Most families who homeschool in Virginia choose the option outlined in the Virginia Home Instruction Statute. This statute mandates four main requirements of homeschool families:
- A notice of intent to instruct a child from home
- Evidence of at least one of the following: parent holds a high school diploma or equivalent (or higher), parent holds a teacher certification, student will be enrolled in a correspondence course/distance learning program, or evidence that parent is able to provide adequate education for a child
- Submission of a list of subjects to be studied in the coming year
- Evidence of academic progress submitted by August 1 of each year
Requirements to teach under a certified tutor provision in Virginia
For those families choosing to homeschool under the certified tutor provision, the following requirements should be noted:
- The tutor or teacher must be certified by the state of Virginia
- The teacher certification must be approved by the superintendent of schools
- Any parent or non-parent who is certified can teach the student
- Instruction can take place in or outside the home
- No yearly assessment or notifications are required as long as the teacher’s credentials are up-to-date
Requirements to claim the religious exemption statute in Virginia
Choosing the religious exemption from public schooling will only apply to a select group of families. Those families must:
- Have sincere convictions against sending their child to school
- Not base those convictions on political, sociological or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code
- Be prepared to provide proof of your convictions to a Virginia school board
Your Notice of Intent
When homeschooling under the Home Instruction Statute, parents must submit a notice of intent to homeschool to their local school division superintendent by August 15. (Note: families may begin to homeschool at any time of the year, however. Once your superintendent has received your NOI, you may begin legally homeschooling your child.) Your notice of intent does not have to be an official form, although your local division office may offer one. It can simply be a letter stating which option you are choosing to homeschool under and providing proof that you qualify for that option.
Examples of proof of qualification might include a copy of your high school (or college) diploma or transcript, a copy of a teacher’s certification, or proof of enrollment in a correspondence school.Your notice of intent should also include a list of subjects you plan to study in your upcoming homeschool year. It is a good idea to submit your notice of intent via certified mail with a request for return receipt so that you have evidence of your submission, although some school districts provide online portals for such submissions.
Switching from Public School to Homeschool
If your child is currently enrolled in a public school, there is no formal requirement in Virginia that families notify their current school when transitioning to homeschooling. However, informing your current school of your decision has the advantage of preventing any truancy questions or complications during the shift. It is important, however, that you file your notice of intent to homeschool and receive confirmation of its submission before pulling your child from school.
Homeschool Recordkeeping in Virginia
When using the Home Education Statue option in Virginia, parents have specific information they need to submit to their school district annually to show evidence of academic progress . This evidence can take one of two formats:
- results from a nationally normed standardized test
- an evaluation or assessment
For those choosing the standardized test format, Virginia homeschool law specifies that students must have “a composite score in or above the fourth stanine on any nationally normed standardized achievement test; or an equivalent score on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT test.” For those choosing the evaluation/assessment option, this could be a letter from a Virginia certified teacher who has reviewed the child’s academic progress or it could be a report card/transcript from a community college, correspondence school, etc.
Even though those are the minimum records required by Virginia homeschoolers, that does not mean that they are the only items you should track in your homeschooling. You will discover that any future transitions in educational status such as moving back to school after homeschooling, applying for college, or enlisting in the military will all go more smoothly if you have kept comprehensive records of your homeschool activities. In addition to your standardized test scores or evaluation, you may also want to keep a homeschool portfolio that includes an overview of the curriculum you’ve used as well as samples of assignments completed by your student, quizzes or tests, and written work. (This is something that Time4Learning’s curriculum makes very easy!) For high school homeschoolers, you might also want to include a detailed transcript.
Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling in Virginia
The time that a family spends homeschooling is subject to many different factors. Some will homeschool from kindergarten all the way through graduation. Others may only need to homeschool during a specific school year. If, for any reason, you need to return your child to public school after a period of homeschooling, you will need to follow the enrollment requirements of that specific school.
Some schools may request to review your homeschool records to help with grade level placement. Others may even require additional testing or evaluations before establishing enrollment. Each school division also makes its own decisions in how to transfer high school level credits and grades.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Virginia
Have other questions about homeschooling in Virginia? You may find the following pages helpful.