Q. Do we have to submit Notice of Intent for a five-year-old kindergartener?
A. According to the Virginia homeschool statute, if your child will be five years old on or before September 30, and has not passed his eighteenth birthday, he must attend school (§22.1-254 (A)). He can attend a government school, private or parochial school, homeschool, or be taught by a licensed tutor or teacher. If you will be homeschooling your five-year-old (five on September 30), you should file a Notice of Intent (NOI). However, there is an exemption to this statute.
If, in your opinion as the parent, you believe your five-year-old child is not ready for school because he is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared, he may be exempted for that year (§22.1-254 (H)(5)). This exemption may be made for a child who is not six on or before September 30. The statute states that you should notify your local school board that you don’t want him to attend school until the following year. A call to the local school board office asking what notification procedure you should follow would be helpful because policies differ. Sometimes this phone call is all that is necessary; at other times, a letter may be required. Don’t be surprised if the secretary is not familiar with this statute—just quote the statute reference above.
If you decide to keep your five-year-old at home, you may still teach your child in a manner suitable for his age and maturity. When he is six, you may file a Notice of Intent and teach him as a kindergartner or first grader, whichever is more appropriate for his maturity level.
NOTE: Regardless of whether you file a NOI or not, children who are five years old on September 30 are not required to take an end-of-year test or have an evaluation the following spring.