Military homeschoolers face many unique situations not seen outside the military. How do you remain in compliance with homeschool and compulsory attendance laws in these circumstances? Here are answers to some common situations for military homeschoolers.
While in some situations you can use your home state or state of record instead of the state in which you physically reside, compulsory attendance laws are specific to physical residency. According to DoDEA Administrative Instruction 1375.01, Section 3.1, homeschoolers are subject to follow the homeschool statute of the host nation, state, commonwealth, possession, or territory in which they reside. In Virginia (as in all U.S. states), residency for compulsory education of minors is determined by where you physically reside.
Think of it this way—the state in which your child sleeps at night (outside of vacation time) is the state whose homeschool and compulsory attendance laws you must follow. Even if you own a home in another state, if your children live with you in Virginia, you are subject to Virginia compulsory attendance laws.
The timing of when you move into Virginia is important. If you move in the summer after the school year has ended and intend to homeschool during the upcoming school year, your notice of intent is due by August 15. If you move during the current school year, the law states that you must notify “as soon as practicable” and comply with the homeschool regulations “within 30 days of such notice” (Code of Virginia 22.1-254.1.B).
When moving out of Virginia to your next duty station, once you leave the state, you are no longer subject to Virginia law. If you move before proof of progress is due on August 1st, you are under no obligation to submit your test results or evaluation. While it is not required by law, it is a courtesy to notify the superintendent when moving out of state.
If you move to a U.S. military base in a foreign nation, you are not subject to homeschool laws of Virginia or any other state, as those laws only apply to those who physically reside in that state. If your base is covered by the Status of Forces Agreement with the host nation, you are not subject to the compulsory attendance laws of the country in which you reside. This means you are under no regulations of any kind and can homeschool freely. If your base or your assignment is not covered by SOFA, you must comply with the laws of the country in which you reside. Some nations with U.S. military bases ban homeschooling; confirm with your command structure that SOFA covers you and your family.
Transition Between Assignments
Transition time when you are without a permanent residence can confuse this issue. While in temporary living arrangements, you may still become subject to compulsory attendance laws when your time in temporary housing in Virginia exceeds 30 days. If you find yourself approaching or exceeding 30 days in temporary housing, contact HEAV at 804-278-9200 for advice on your specific situation.
Many military families take extended vacations while transitioning duty stations, visit with family in other states, or move back and forth between Virginia and other states while waiting for housing. When you are in any state for more than 30 days, you may become subject to the compulsory attendance laws of that state. Please check with each state’s homeschool organization. A map of state organizations can be found at homeschoolfreedom.com/resources.
One benefit of homeschooling is the ability to travel with your servicemember while on temporary assignment. Even if you have a permanent home in another state, if your temporary assignment brings you to Virginia for more than 30 days, you may become subject to Virginia homeschool laws. If you find yourself approaching or exceeding 30 days in Virginia temporarily, contact HEAV at 804-278-9200 for advice on your specific situation.
During your time in Virginia, we invite you to partner with HEAV to help protect and promote homeschooling freedoms in Virginia. Join HEAV or Renew here.