Q. Can I pull my child out of school RIGHT NOW? He started public school, but it’s just not working.
A. The short answer is “Yes, you can.” Virginia homeschool statute does provide a process for parents who decide to start homeschooling midyear.
It is important that you comply with the law BEFORE you remove your child from the school system.
Simply not sending your child back to school without an explanation will create a lot of questions. If a child is unexpectedly absent for a period of time, the school must find out why. An absence with no explanation may trigger an unnecessary truancy investigation and could result in daily fines. It is always best to comply with the law first.
How to Comply with Virginia Homeschool Law
Write a letter of intent OR send in the Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction.
Show evidence you have complied with the law by choosing one of the four options and providing ONE of the following.
- 1: Your high school diploma or higher degree
- 2: Documentation of your Virginia teacher certification
- 3: Evidence of a program of study or curriculum delivered by a correspondence course, distance-learning program, or in any other manner
- 4: Show in a letter that you are able to provide an adequate education for your child
If you are pulling your child from school immediately, hand-deliver your NOI to the superintendent’s office and obtain a receipt. If time is not critical, mail your NOI certified/return-receipt. Some school districts may permit emailed NOIs; check on the district’s web page.
If You Choose Options 1, 2, or 3
Once you have a receipt, you have evidence that you have complied with the compulsory attendance laws.
It is not necessary to wait for a response from the superintendent.
You are not asking for permission or seeking the superintendent’s approval. However, you may receive an incorrectly worded response indicating they have “approved” your homeschool. You are simply notifying the superintendent’s office of your intent to provide for your child’s education in a manner already approved by the General Assembly. The law doesn’t require you to wait for “approval” from the superintendent before withdrawing your child from public school.
Now you are ready to withdraw your child by phone, email, letter, or signed form, and begin homeschooling.
NOTE: Though the law doesn’t address the procedure for withdrawing a child from public school, it’s good to know their preference. Some may request a phone call or an email, and others may want a letter, Still others may ask for a parent to come in person to sign a withdrawal form.
If You File Under Option 4
If you choose Option 4 in order to homeschool, you must provide evidence that you can provide an adequate education for your child. You can usually provide this in the form of a typed letter.
While options 1, 2, and 3 are automatic when evidence is provided, option 4 is not. The superintendent is responsible for reviewing the information you provide to determine if you have the ability to provide an education for your child.
Your letter should be carefully written with good grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. You may want to include the following:
- statement that you are complying with §22.1-254.1(A)(iv)
- brief explanation of why you are able to teach your child
- list of subjects you plan to teach (for informational purposes only since the superintendent does not have the authority to approve or disapprove your curriculum choices)
Also, it may be helpful to include brief plans for instructional activities. For instance, explain how you are planning to teach these subjects or what methods you plan to use.
As with the other options, be sure to make copies of your paperwork for your files. Also, upon submission of your letter in person or by mail, obtain a receipt proving that you have complied with the law.
However, unlike the other options, you should wait for a response from the superintendent before you withdraw your child from school in order to avoid truancy charges. For option 4, a decision is made at the discretion of the superintendent based on the letter you provided. It is not automatic. After you hear from the superintendent in the form of a letter, you can withdraw your child from school.
Under all four options, regardless of when you begin homeschooling during the year, you must annually submit test results. You must send the results of a standardized achievement test or evaluation to the superintendent’s office by August 1 following completion of each homeschool year.
There are instances where a parent may want or need to remove their child from public school quickly—for safety reasons, for instance. Because specific situations vary widely, we recommend you call the office to talk with one of our trained homeschool counselors. Free phone counseling is available M-F from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 804-278-9200. We are happy to help you find the best option for your family.