Part A & B
Explanation and Instructions for Home Educating in Virginia
Please note: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE GIVING OF LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT HSLDA FOR LEGAL ADVICE.
In Virginia you have three basic options for the home education of your children. Each of these options is discussed in detail following the copy of the section of the law that pertains to them:
In addition, the following items will be discussed:
EXPLANATION AND INSTRUCTIONS for operating under the Home School Statute: Sections A and B
This section of the Virginia Code was passed in 1984. It has been amended several times, with the latest being in 2008. Any parent can home educate using one of the following options:
- If you hold a high school diploma or higher degree (option i )
- If you hold a valid Virginia teaching certificate(option ii )
- If you enroll your child in a correspondence course approved by the Virginia Board of Education (A list of approved courses can be obtained from the Home Educators of VA web site.)(option iii )
- If you submit either evidence that a parent can teach or submit a curriculum that includes state objectives for language arts and math (option iv )
- To comply with the home school law, you need to complete a Notice of Intent Form. You should obtain your form from GRHE, HEAV, or HSLDA, and not from the school system. Forms obtained from school systems often request information not required in the Virginia statute. You must check one of the four options to indicate how you plan to comply with the Virginia home instruction statute.
- The Notice of Intent form is due by August 15 prior to the school year.
- Make a copy of your intent form for your records.
- Mail the original Notice of Intent form to the school district in which you reside.
- Remember to send all correspondence with school systems by certified mail with return receipt. When your signed receipt is returned to you, indicating delivery, staple it to your Notice of Intent in your file.
- You will find a listing of local school divisions and mailing addresses on this website.
For option i– (holds a high school diploma) – We recommend that you submit a copy of your or your husband’s high school diploma. If you or your husband has a higher degree, you may copy that diploma in lieu of a high school diploma. Please note that only a high school diploma by either parent is required for option 1.
For Option ii – (is a teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education) – We recommend that you make a copy of your teachers license or write down your license number to accompany your intent form.
For Option iii – (provides a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner) – We recommend that you send a copy of your child’s enrollment in a correspondence school, or if you are designing your own program of study, simply list the subjects you are planning to teach for the school year.
For Option iv – (provides evidence that he is able to provide an adequate education for the child) – We recommend that you attach a well written, correctly spelled, grammatically perfect letter explaining why you are able to provide an adequate education for your child. Give evidence explaining that I am the child’s parent, have his best interest in heart, and am best able to determine his/her academic needs. It is very important that you proofread and have someone else proofread your letter. Include plans for instructional activities and present for your child. You do not have to prove that you will meet the Standards of Learning in your curriculum description. You do not have to supply lesson plans, or show the superintendent your textbooks. The superintendent will determine that you are able to express yourself well and use the English language correctly. He does not have the authority to decide whether or not your curriculum equates with the curriculum of the public schools.
Under any of the options, the superintendent does not have the power to approve your intent to home educate your child. As long as you have filed the correct paper work in a timely fashion, approval is automatic.
Regardless of the option you choose, if you have religious reasons for teaching your children at home, even if you do not consider these reasons to be a conviction, state your religious beliefs for home education in your initial contact with school authorities. This will set a foundation in case you should decide at a later date that you want to declare religious exemption. A new Notice of Intent form must be filed each year, due August 15.
SUBMITTING A DESCRIPTION OF CURRICULUM WITH YOUR NOTICE OF INTENT
The law states that you must provide a description of the curriculum to be followed for the coming year.
Under all four options, you will attach to your Notice of Intent a list of the curriculum you plan to use. This should be a simple listing of subjects you plan to use for teaching your child. Remember that this is not individual lesson plans and you are free to use what ever books or curriculum you feel is right for your child. The superintendent does not have the right to approve or disapprove of your curriculum. You do not have to use a curriculum provided by the school system if it is offered.
BEGINNING HOME INSTRUCTION AFTER THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
Please note under Subsection B. that you may begin home schooling in the middle of the school year, or upon moving into a school district in the middle of the school year. That means that you have the right to pull your child out of school at whatever point you deem necessary. When starting mid-year, you must notify the superintendent of your intention as quickly as you are able. You then have 30 days from that notification to get your Notice of Intent with all required information to school system. If you are beginning mid-year, please refer to our Checklist for Pulling a Student Out of Public School in the Middle of the Year.