Private School or Home School

Q. How do I determine whether the resource I will be using to educate my child is a private school or a homeschool program?

The compulsory attendance law, §22.1-254(A), clarifies remote learning as “participation in educational programs and courses at a site remote from the school with the permission of the school and in conformity with applicable requirements.”
It is the parent’s responsibility to both learn what kind of program they are using and to file appropriately according to the law. Below is a partial description of both types of programs.

A Remote Private School:
  • The school keeps a record of names, addresses, etc. of its enrolled students.
  • The school keeps payment records.
  • The school requires days and hours: “Virginia’s compulsory attendance laws require children to attend school—public, private, denomination or parochial—during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools. The length of the school term for public schools is at least 180 days or 990 teaching hours.” See Va. Code §§22.1-254, 22.1-98.
  • The school provides the full curriculum.
  • The school establishes lesson plans.
  • The school maintains records of the student’s achievement.
  • The school requires the student to reach certain benchmarks (grades) in order to progress to the next grade level in their program.
  • The school provides grade reports to the parent.
  • The school includes course information and grades in the high school transcript developed by the academy.
  • The school issues a diploma signed by the private school administration as opposed to the parent signing the diploma in the case of homeschool.

Note: A parent is not required to notify the superintendent of enrollment in a private school and does not file a Notice of Intent to Homeschool in such a situation.

A Homeschool:
  • The company/service is not promoted as a private school.
  • The company/service allows parents to pick and choose courses.
  • The company/service allows the parent flexibility to progress at their own pace and to attend at their own discretion.
  • The parent gives and maintains grades.
  • The parent creates a high school transcript.
  • The parent signs the homeschool diploma as opposed to a private school issuing a diploma at the completion of their program.

Note: A parent choosing a homeschool program must comply with the requirements of the homeschool statue by filing a Notice of Intent form.

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