General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Virginia
In Virginia, children must be enrolled in school (or be homeschooled) from the ages of 5 to 18. In Virginia, there are four main requirements for homeschooling your child.
You must send a letter of intent to homeschool your child to your local school board or school superintendent. One of the parents or guardians who is going to be responsible for the education of the child must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. You can also provide evidence that the parent will provide an adequate education for the child should they not hold a diploma.
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You must submit a list of the subjects which your child is going to study over the coming school year. By August 1 of each year, you are also required to submit evidence of academic progress of your child.
If you are homeschooling your child under the tutelage of a certified teacher or tutor, then there are no yearly assessments as long as the credentials of the teacher are up to date.
Notification of Intent to Homeschool in Virginia
If you are homeschooling and the school year has not yet started, you need to send a notice of intent to homeschool by August 15. If you are taking your child out of school, you can legally homeschool your child after your school superintendent has received your notice of intent.
There are templates out there for notification of intent, including one specifically for Virginia schools, but you do not need to complete an official template. The notice of intent can simply be a letter informing your school board that you are going to homeschool your child.
You must have a high school diploma or equivalent, so a copy of that should be included in your notice of intent. If you are not teaching your child, the credentials of the teacher who is, or notification of enrollment in online classes will also suffice. Your notice of intent should also include a list of the subjects your intent to teach over the year.
This notice should then be filed annually for every year you are homeschooling your child.
Qualifications Required to Homeschool in Virginia
In Virginia, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent to homeschool your child. If you do not, then you will need to find another way to teach your child, for example, a certified teacher or online courses.
Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers in Virginia
There is no required teaching time for homeschooling in Virginia. You do not need to commit to a certain number of hours per day or days per year. It is a good idea to form a learning plan, but this is not required.
What Subjects Need to be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Virginia?
In Virginia, there are no laws regarding the subjects which you need to teach your homeschooled child, but we recommend creating a learning plan which is in line with what is being taught in the classroom. How you teach these subjects is entirely up to you.
To stay in line with most other states in the country, it is recommended that you touch on spelling, writing, English, language arts, geography, math, science, social studies, physical education, health education, and art. There are no laws stating how often these should be taught or at what grade level but it is recommended that you try to keep the lessons grade-specific.
What are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers in Virginia?
Virginia law does not dictate what you teach your child and how you teach them. There are no laws surrounding how you assess your child or what records need to be kept. However, we recommend that you keep records of everything your child does or is involved in so that you can track their progress or for any disputes.
Things to include in your records include proof of attendance, information on the resources you are using (including workbooks, textbooks, online resources, etc.), samples of your child’s work, any correspondence with school officials or boards, portfolios and test results, and any other homeschooling documents which prove that you are complying with homeschooling law and regulations.
We recommend keeping your records for two years, and the best way to store them is by scanning them into your computer and storing them in separate folders, grouped by the year your child was homeschooled.
What you do need to provide by law is an annual evaluation. This should show that your child has achieved adequate growth over the school year. You can use standardized achievement tests, and evaluation letter from a licensed person, a report card or transcript from a community college or other education program, or any other type of assessment agreed upon by you and the school board.
Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted in Virginia?
Yes. Under Virginia education laws, your child can be partially enrolled in public school. This means that your child can take regular school classes as part of their homeschooling education and can split their time between home and school (as long as the school offers this).
Homeschoolers are also eligible to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools. Any homeschoolers who live with a disability are also eligible for services through their local public school (the same services which students with disabilities would receive if they were enrolled in public school).
Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities in Virginia?
Yes, and it is encouraged. Homeschool children are permitted to participate in any other extracurricular activities, whether it be with a public school or another organization. You should submit any extracurricular activities as part of your notice of intent every year.
To receive more information about the homeschooling laws in the State of Virginia, you may want to visit the Home Educators Association of Virginia website.