Q: Can I begin homeschooling now?

A: Yes, according to the homeschool law, parents may begin homeschooling after the August 15 deadline for two reasons: 1) if they move into a new school division, and 2) if they decide to homeschool after the school year begins. Virginia statute §22.1-254.1 (B) states:

“Any parent who moves into a school division or begins home instruction after the school year has begun shall notify the division superintendent of his intentions to provide home instruction as soon as practicable and shall thereafter comply with the requirements of this section within thirty days of such notice.”

Beginning after the August 15 deadline does not mean parents can willingly avoid or carelessly neglect the deadline. Laxness can result in the superintendent enforcing the deadline and not accepting your Notice of Intent. The law refers to parents who move or who “begin” to homeschool, indicating they have decided to homeschool at this time of the school year.

If you decide to homeschool after the August 15 deadline, you should notify the superintendent as soon as it is practical and then comply with the statute requirements within 30 days. If you withdraw your children from public school to begin homeschooling, it is very beneficial to understand the homeschool laws and your rights in order to prevent possible truancy charges.

If you’re a new Virginia resident, or you’ve moved from one school district to another in Virginia, inform your local division superintendent that you are in his district. You may contact the superintendent’s office by phone, letter, or by filing a preliminary “Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction” form. (The Notice of Intent form can be downloaded from the law section at heav.org.) You then have thirty days to complete the requirements and fully comply with homeschool statute §22.1-254.1.

You can find more information about withdrawing your child from public school and beginning after the deadline here.

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