Some states have moderate or heavy regulation of homeschooling, while other states have few or no regulations at all. In some states, parents simply withdraw their children from school and begin educating them at home. In other states, parents are required to report regularly, show proof of progress, or keep certain kinds of records, like attendance records, lists of subjects being taught, etc. Then there are the “private school” states, where homeschooling is considered to be a type of private school and parents who educate their children at home comply with the same regulations as private schools. With many states, there are multiple ways to homeschool legally, and different laws for each approach. It can be very confusing and bewildering for beginners.
Because each state’s laws are so different, it is important to find out the requirements that govern your home state. Legal requirements change often, and Internet webpages and school division offices often have inaccurate or out-of-date information about homeschooling laws. Your state homeschool organization is usually the best resource for the most accurate, up-to-date information about the laws in your state. If you do not have a state homeschool organization, consult your local homeschool support group for information on your state’s laws.
Accurate and up-to-date information about the legal requirements for homeschooling is vital for homeschooling parents and families considering home education. Understanding what homeschooling families are and are not required to do in order to comply with the law is the best foundation for safeguarding homeschooling freedoms.
It is Easy to Comply with Virginia Homeschooling Law
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers encourages you to read and understand Virginia homeschooling laws.
A few good points to know about homeschooling in Virginia:
- Home instruction is not considered a “school” under Virginia law.
- You do not need to purchase “legal insurance” to homeschool in Virginia.
- You do not have to keep attendance records.
- You do not have to send quarterly progress reports to the school division.
- We do not have “umbrella schools” to keep our records for us.
- You do not have to work with a certified teacher.
- You do have to file annually with the local school division.
- You do have to test or evaluate the children annually.
- You do have to submit proof of immunization, if asked.
Children in Virginia between the ages of 5 and 18 as of September 30 of the school year are required to attend school. There is a special provision for children who are younger than age 6 as of September 30 of the school year. Homeschooled children age 16 or older may take the GED if they so choose.
Filing Your Homeschooling Paperwork
You may begin homeschooling your child in Virginia at any time during the school year.
According to the Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1 B) “any parent who moves into a school division or begins home instruction after the school year has begun shall notify the division superintendent of his intention to provide home instruction as soon as practicable and shall thereafter comply with the requirements of this section within 30 days of such notice.”
Two important notes:
- Whichever option you choose, if you move to Virginia during the school year, you are required to file with the local school division, even if the school year is almost over.
- If you move to Virginia during the school year and are filing under the home instruction statute, you are required to test or evaluate, even if the school year is almost over.
If you have questions, please email VaHomeschoolers or call our toll free number (866) 513-6173.