Q. What are the physical education requirements for homeschoolers, and how do homeschoolers meet them?

A. Although the Virginia law (§22.1-200) requires that specific subjects are taught in public schools–including physical education at the elementary level–these subjects are NOT required to be taught by homeschoolers. The Virginia homeschool law makes no reference to required subjects. You are free to choose the appropriate subjects for your child’s age, grade, development, and interest, including a physical education program that would strengthen your child’s physical development.

Physical education is good to include for a well-rounded program. Physical activity not only stimulates the body, but also stimulates the mind and offers variety in your school schedule. Some families have used the President’s Physical Fitness program individually or with a support group. This program has meaningful goals and structured guidelines that provide a challenge for youth of all ages (including parents!).

Other families participate in city league soccer, baseball, basketball, and football programs. Some parents enroll their students in individual sports such as private swim teams, roller-hockey teams, and gymnastics.

Larger support groups have organized baseball, basketball, and soccer teams that compete with other homeschool leagues or private schools. Many support groups have a sports day once a week or once a month. On this day students of all ages gather at a local community gym or park. They play games, have competitions, or go on hikes.

Your local librarian may be able to help you find books on P.E. that will give you some good ideas. As you can see, there are many variables. Much depends on the student’s age and interests as well as what’s available in your area.


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  1. How do I know what type of History my child should be reviewing for the end of the year exam? I use the IOWA based skills test, but if she were in public school, she wouldn’t have studied Old World History (I taught out of A Beka 5th grade) but early Virginia history. How do I find out what will be on the test so she’s ready like the other 4th graders (she’s 9 yrs old)?

    1. Yvonne Bunn says:

      Homeschool students are NOT required to take the history and science portions of a standardized achievement test. They must take only those parts of the test necessary for determining a composite score, namely the language arts and mathematics sections.

      § 22.1-254.1(C) (i) states that parents must show evidence that the child has attained a composite score in or above the fourth stanine (23rd percentile) on any nationally normed standardized achievement test. A “composite score” is made up of a combination of the language arts and mathematics portions of the test. The language arts sections are made up of vocabulary, reading comprehension, language skills, work-study skills, and written expression. The mathematics sections include math concepts and math computation.

      Testing for science, history, or any other subject beyond the language arts and mathematics components would mean parents must teach the same subject content, at the same time it is taught in public schools. Homeschoolers are not required to do this. Instead, we can choose materials for these subjects that fit the interests and needs of our children.