Q. My superintendent sent a Notice of Intent form and reminder letter with lots of additional requirements. What should I do?
A. Some school districts develop their own Notice of Intent (NOI) forms. Some districts may also include instructions for the submission process as well as forms such as immunization forms or a notice of homeschool discontinuance. Many are created for the convenience of the superintendent’s office—not necessarily with ill intention toward homeschool families. These NOIs and forms often ask for more information than the law requires.
The law does NOT require that a parent or guardian use a particular NOI form. In fact, parents can write a letter if they prefer. Instead of using the superintendent’s NOI and additional forms, a parent can download and print the newly revised HEAV NOI form. It is consistent with the law and includes additional language regarding option (iii) as well as clarifying language for the child’s age. Instead of referring to a birthdate or age, it lists the “age on or before September 30.” This should give the superintendent the information he needs without a parent providing a birthdate.
Send your NOI or letter to the superintendent or his designated person by August 15 each year. Make a copy of your NOI to keep on file at home along with evidence of progress and immunization records for each child. You can either hand-deliver your NOI form or letter to the superintendent’s office and ask for a receipt, or you can mail it from the post office by certified, return-receipt postage. This receipt is evidence that you have notified the superintendent of your intention to homeschool on or before August 15.
You are not required to wait for a letter from the superintendent giving you “permission” to homeschool. Virginia is not a permission state although many superintendents use the word “approval” and send an “approval” letter. Instead of asking for permission, you are notifying the superintendent of your intention to homeschool and providing evidence of the way in which you have met the requirements of the homeschool statute, §22.1-254.1. To begin home instruction, the statute requires you to comply with one of four options and provide a description of curriculum for each child listed. The curriculum description is limited to a list of subjects you plan to teach for the coming year. Evidence of academic progress is required after homeschooling.
If you do not provide acceptable evidence of your compliance along with your curriculum description, you can expect to hear from the superintendent in writing.