- VIRGINIA HOMESCHOOL LAWS
- Certified Tutor
- Common Core
- Compulsory Attendance
- Driver’s Ed
- Homeschool Statute
- Home Visits
- Jury Duty
- Notice of Intent
- Part-Time Enrollment
- Religious Exemption
- Starting Mid-Year
- Virtual Schools
- Work Permit
Homeschooling is legal, but how exactly do you comply with the law? Although the legalese can sound complicated, the Virginia homeschool law is very precise in most areas and help is available through our website, our e-newsletter, and our Facebook pages. Our friendly office personnel will also be glad to answer your questions, or you may e-mail your questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Here are answers to some of the questions that are asked most often.
However, there is an important exemption to this statute. If, in your opinion as a parent, your child is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school, you may delay your child’s attendance for one year §22.1-254 (H) (5). Your child may be exempted from compulsory school attendance if he is not six on or before September 30, and you notify the school board that you don’t want him to attend school until the following year. If you elect to keep your five-year-old at home, you may still teach your child in a manner suitable for his age and maturity. With this exemption, it’s not necessary to submit a “Notice of Intent to Homeschool” form until he is six by September 30.
If you plan to homeschool the following year, you may register your six-year-old child as a kindergartner or first-grader depending on his level of achievement and maturity. Regardless, end-of-the-year testing is not required for students who are five years old on September 30 of the school year. The deadline for filing the “Notice of Intent to Homeschool” is August 15 of the year in which you plan to formally teach at home.
The first and second options for education listed above are self-explanatory. The third option referenced in §22.1-254 (A), also known as the “certified or approved tutor statute,” allows a child to be taught in or out of his home by a Virginia certified teacher (either his parent or another teacher) whose qualifications are approved by the superintendent. None of the requirements of the homeschool statute apply (i.e. testing). Any parent who meets the qualification of a certified teacher or approved tutor may teach under this option rather than the homeschool statute (see “Certified-Tutor Provision Clarified” in the Virginia Homeschool Manual).
The Division of Teacher Education, Certification, and Professional Development of the Department of Education to secure a certificate or letter of eligibility. If the approved tutor is the parent, the parent simply sends a letter to the division superintendent with a copy of his teacher certification or letter of eligibility and indicates that he is complying with the third option of §22.1-254 (A).
If the parent who is an approved tutor teaches other children, the names of these children should also be listed in the letter. An approved tutor who is not the parent should send a letter with his certification verification and a list of the children being taught.
The fourth option in §22.1-254 (A) is home instruction. This is defined as the instruction of a child by his parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of the child. It is not considered a private, denominational, or parochial school §22.1-254 (A).
1) First, according to §22.1-254.1 (A), you must meet one of four options.
You may teach at home if any one of the following conditions is met: if a parent (1) has a high school diploma; or (2) is a certified teacher*; or ((3) provides a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner; or (iv) provides evidence that he is able to provide an adequate education for the child. These four options are listed on the form entitled, “Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction.”
*Note: If a Virginia certified teacher complies with option (2) of the homeschool statute as listed on the “Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction” form instead of §22.1-254 (A), end-of-the-year testing will be required as part of the homeschool statute.
Option (1) can be satisfied by attaching a copy of a high school diploma from either parent; option (2) can be satisfied by attaching a certificate or letter of eligibility indicating teacher certification; option (3) can be satisfied by including evidence of enrollment, such as a receipt for payment, letter of acceptance, or enrollment contract; or for an individualized curriculum, a copy of the table of contents or scope and sequence; and option (4) is satisfied by a well-written statement indicating why the parent is able to provide an adequate education for his child.
For the option (iv) statement, you might briefly state that because you are the parent, you know your child best and you are able to determine his academic needs. You might also say you plan to exercise diligence in teaching your child, using a well-planned curriculum. Although the superintendent cannot judge your reasons, he will determine if your statement exhibits a mastery of language, basic grammar, and correct spelling.
3) For all options, a description of the curriculum must be included.
A simple list of the subjects you plan to teach.
4) You must submit evidence of academic achievement.
If you have complied with the homeschool statute 22.1-254, you are required to submit evidence of academic achievement. This evidence may be in the form of a standardized achievement test or an evaluation or assessment §22.1-254.1 (C) (see Testing and Evaluation in the Virginia Homeschool Manual). It must be submitted to the division superintendent by August 1 after each year of homeschooling.
5) You must comply with immunization requirements.
The homeschooling parent must comply with the immunization requirements in the same manner and to the same extent as public schools §22.1-271.4. These records are to be maintained by the parents at home. Immunization exemptions are available (see “Virginia Immunization Requirements” in the Virginia Homeschool Manual).
Remember to keep copies of all correspondence. You may want to send your “Notice of Intent” form by registered mail. It’s not necessary to deliver it in person.
If you decide to homeschool after the deadline, please refer to “Beginning Home Education after the Deadline” in the Virginia Homeschool Manual. This article addresses special situations and what you might expect.
Both parents must have personal religious convictions against school attendance. While you may have philosophical, political, or sociological objections, or a personal moral code in opposition to school attendance, this cannot be the basis for a religious exemption. You must be conscientiously opposed to attendance at school because of bona fide religious training or belief in order to homeschool under §22.1-254 (B) (1). This statute cannot be used for any other reason.
Parents homeschooling under religious exemption should be prepared, if called upon, to testify before their local school board concerning their genuine religious beliefs. It is mandatory that parents have strong religious convictions, not just preferences. Because school boards differ in their understanding of the requirements for religious exemption, adequate legal representation is important. Homeschool Legal Defense Association provides legal services for homeschooling families, but you must be a member before a problem arises.
How you comply with the homeschool law is foundational to all other decisions concerning home instruction. Review your legal options carefully. Understand your choices. Then decide what is right for your family.