Information for School Personnel

Welcome,  superintendents and district representatives! Here, you will find HEAV’s annual letters to superintendents and helpful links to information pertinent to Virginia’s compulsory attendance and homeschool laws.

General Homeschool Resources:

Virginia Educational Options
Virginia Law Flowchart

HEAV Letters to Superintendents:

2021-2022 HEAV Letter to Superintendents
2020-2021 HEAV Letter to Superintendents

certified tutor
Certified Tutor Option
folded hands on bible religious exemption
Religious Exemption
kindergarten learning styles 1
Five-Year-Old Exemption

Virginia Homeschool Law Presentations:

by Yvonne Bunn
Director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs

The Virginia Homeschool Statute

Testing and Proof of Progress

Kindergarten Opt-Out Provision

Certified Tutor Statute

Religious Exemption Statute

Immunizations & Homeschooling

Contact us!

Reach our legislative team through our contact form or by calling the HEAV office at 804-278-9200.

HEAV Letters to Superintendents

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August, 17, 2022

Dear Superintendent <Last Name>,

As an introduction, Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) is a state-wide homeschool organization that has supported homeschool families since 1983. We work closely with our state legislators, the Virginia Department of Education, district representatives, and homeschool parents to provide accurate information regarding the homeschool law, the certified tutor statute, delayed enrollment, and religious exemption. We are listed in the VDOE Home Instruction Handbook as a resource, and we invite you to visit our website at www.heav.org for more information on our organization.

I am writing to request your assistance directly and to ask you to forward the information below to the appropriate homeschool designee and staff.

Each year, HEAV receives thousands of inquiries from parents who seek to resolve issues in their respective districts. We believe these situations can be resolved with a clear understanding of the compulsory attendance and homeschool laws. We would like to help ensure compliance with the law and eliminate unnecessary emails and lengthy phone calls for your district representatives and parents.

Below you will find a list of the issues most frequently reported. I hope this information will be helpful.

Issues Related to the Homeschool Law

  • Notification: The statute requires parents to annually notify the superintendent by August 15 of their intent to provide home instruction, and to provide evidence of how they have complied with the law. The statute does not require parents to ask permission to homeschool. Terms used by district representatives that commonly create confusion include homeschool application, approval, request, and registration. (Reference: §22.1-254.1.(B))
  • Requiring personal information on printable and online forms: District requirements for personal information beyond a child’s name, address, and age as of September 30 of the school year are inconsistent with the law as determined by the Virginia Supreme Court. Only the state legislature can add requirements to the law. (Reference: Sosebee v. Franklin County School Board)
  • Homeschool graduation and diplomas: As with private schools and certified tutors, districts do not have statutory authority to verify completion of a homeschool course of study; this is the responsibility of the homeschool parent or the program that issues the diploma. Parents are not required to provide a copy of their student’s transcript and/or diploma to their district to indicate graduation. (Reference: §22.1-254.1)
  • Homeschool graduation and evidence of progress: When a home-educated student reaches the age of eighteen or when the student graduates, the student is no longer under compulsory attendance laws. Therefore, evidence of progress is no longer required. (Reference: §22.1-254.(A))
  • Responsibility of processing correspondence:
    • The statute assigns the superintendent or his designee the responsibility of processing homeschool correspondence—such as notice of intent forms and evidence of progress—not the school board. (Reference: §22.1-254.1.(B))
    • School boards, however, are responsible for acknowledging religious exemption correspondence. This private, legal information should be processed in a closed board session and should not be included in public records. The superintendent or designee should not be the intermediary between parents and the board regarding religious exemption. (Reference: §22.1-254.(B)(1))
  • Notification of tests: Districts must notify parents of the availability of AP, PSAT, ACT, and Pre-ACT tests, as well as of the availability of financial assistance related to these examinations. (Ref. §22.1-254.1(F))
  • JROTC for homeschoolers: Public high schools that offer JROTC must include qualified homeschool students in their JROTC programs. (Reference: HR 2500 (116th): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020)

Confusion Related to Certified Teacher Options

  • The Code of Virginia provides two separate options for individuals who hold a Virginia teaching license.
    • The Virginia Certified Tutor statute, §22.1-254:
      The Virginia certified tutor option is under the compulsory attendance statute.
    • A teacher who holds a current Virginia teaching license must submit their teaching credential to the district superintendent, who verifies it is current.
    • A certified tutor may teach his or her own children or the children of another parent.
    • After verification, the teacher/tutor will submit a new credential when he or she is recertified.
    • As in the case of parents who choose private school, certified teachers who use this option are not required to provide personal information regarding the children they teach.
    • They are not required to report to public school districts annually or provide evidence of progress.
  • The Virginia Homeschool Statute §22.1-254.1:
    • The statute provides four ways a parent can comply with the homeschool law.
    • Option (ii) allows a parent to homeschool if he or she holds a current Virginia teaching license.
    • The parent may only teach his or her own children.
    • The certified teacher/parent must comply with homeschool laws in the same manner as all homeschool parents including annual notification and evidence of academic progress.

Note: HEAV encourages parents who hold a Virginia teaching license to clearly indicate the statute with which they are complying: the certified tutor statute under compulsory attendance (§22.1-254) or the homeschool statute under option (ii) (§22.1-254.1).

Privacy Concerns Regarding Homeschool and Religious Exemption Families

  • The personal information on homeschool notice of intent forms or letters and on religious exemption documents cannot be disclosed to the public, the media, or other districts without the written consent of a student’s parent. (Reference: §22.1-254.1(G))
  • The division superintendent may notify Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction of the number of students in the school division receiving home instruction. (Reference: §22.1-254.1(G))
    It is my hope that this review will be a helpful reference to ensure district practices are consistent with Virginia’s homeschool laws.

Thank you for working with the homeschool parents in your district. I am available to receive your questions and feedback by phone or the email below.

With kind regards,

Yvonne Bunn
Director of Homeschool Support & Government Affairs
Home Educators Association of Virginia
support@heav.org

P.S. Please visit HEAV’s new School Personnel webpage to view previous superintendent’s letters and to access resources specifically related to the implementation of homeschool laws.

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July 19, 2021

Dear Superintendent,

Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) is a statewide homeschool organization that has supported homeschool families since 1983. We work to provide accurate information and are listed in the VDOE Home Instruction Handbook as a resource.

Through the years, HEAV has appreciated the opportunity to work with many superintendents and their staff in implementing homeschool laws throughout the Commonwealth. Now that another homeschool year is fast approaching, I would like to share some concerns parents have brought to us with the hope that we can amicably resolve them.

Some school districts—often unintentionally—are asking for more information than the homeschool statute requires. This creates confusion for parents and an unnecessary burden on the staff because of additional phone calls, emails, and letters.

We encourage parents to provide the information the law requires; yet, we are finding requirements in some districts inconsistent with the law at various processing points. Though this may not necessarily have occurred in your district, I would like to make them known to you so we can work together for consistency in applying the requirements of §22.1-254.1, known in the statute as the homeschool declaration of policy and requirements.

    • The statute does not specify a particular method or form of delivery when parents notify the superintendent of their intent to provide home instruction. It does not require the use of a particular paper form, electronic form, or website portal.
    • The statute requires parents to annually notify the superintendent of their intent to provide home instruction and provide evidence of how they have complied with the law. The statute does not require a parent to ask permission to homeschool or wait for a response–only to notify. §22.1-254.1(B)
    • When withdrawing a student from public school, the law does not require parents who have complied with the statute and have evidence of notifying the superintendent of their intention to homeschool to wait for a response or permission from the superintendent before withdrawing their child and beginning to homeschool. §22.1-254.1(B)
    • A child’s birthdate or grade level is not required when notifying. Providing the child’s age as of September 30 is consistent with compulsory attendance laws. §22.1-254(A)
    • The school board, not the superintendent, has the responsibility of acknowledging religious exemption (RE). The statute does not require a parent to submit RE information to the superintendent before submitting it to the school board. §22.1-254(B)
    • Homeschool parents are not required to complete public school surveys or provide homeschool termination forms, homeschool diplomas, or transcripts upon graduation.
    • Providing immunization records is not a requirement to homeschool according to the declaration of policy and requirements for home instruction (§22.1-254.1). While all parents of school-age children must comply with immunization laws, parents cannot be denied the right to homeschool based on vaccination records—they are not one of the requirements. The law is specific that only the superintendent may request and receive these private medical records. Vaccination exemptions are also available. §22.1-271.4, §32.1-46(D)
    • A description of curriculum is limited to a list of subjects the parent plans to teach during the coming year. §22.1-254.1(B)
    • Parents who choose to provide the results of a standardized achievement test are required to provide a composite score in or above the 4th stanine to show academic progress. Sub-test scores are not required. §22.1-254.1(C)
    • A Virginia certified tutor (teacher) has two options: 1) comply with §22.1-254(A), the compulsory attendance law, with no requirements as long as they provide evidence of current teacher certification in a letter to the superintendent, or 2) comply with §22.1-254.1(A)(ii), the home instruction statute, by providing a
      notice of intent and selecting option (ii) that requires yearly notification, a curriculum description, and annual assessment.
    • Districts must notify parents of the availability of AP, PSAT, ACT, and Pre-ACT tests and financial assistance. §22.1-254.1(F)
    • Public high schools that offer JROTC must include qualified homeschool students in their JROTC programs. 116th Congress, H.R. 2500, Code Section 2031 of Title 10, USC (g)(1), National Defense Authorization Act
    • School divisions are prohibited from sharing information provided by parents who comply with the homeschool statutes (§22.1-254, §22.1-254.1) other than sharing with the VDOE the numbers of homeschoolers in their districts. §22.1- 254.1(G)

In 2020 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in a homeschooling case, Sosebee v. Franklin County School Board, that school boards cannot legislate or require more information than the elected state legislators have clearly outlined in the statute. The court concluded that “the power to amend statutes is the power to make law; that power rests squarely and solely on the General Assembly, not school boards.”

Superintendents cannot add to the requirements of the homeschool statute by developing a new policy or requesting additional information, then requiring compliance. Neither can they fail to implement the clear mandates from the Code.

I respectfully ask you to please review your notice of intent forms, online portals, how to-homeschool website pages, and the instructions you provide to your appointed homeschool assistants and staff.

It is my hope that we can work together for a smooth transition for parents who choose home instruction as a viable educational alternative.

I appreciate the positive relationship HEAV has developed with many of you throughout the years. I am glad to discuss any questions you may have now or in the future at 804- 278-9200. You may also find helpful information at www.heav.org.

With best regards,
Yvonne Bunn
Director of Homeschool Support & Government Affairs