Written By Wendy Kelly

Virginia Homeschool

Virginia homeschool law gives parents four different options for homeschooling: the "homeschooling" option, "religious exemption", "certified tutor" and the "private school" option. Mandatory school attendence is required for children from age 5 (as of September 1) to the end of high school (either GED or a high school diploma). Instruction hours need to be 180 days. There are no cumpulsory subjects. The four homeschooling options have different criteria.

Homeschooling

The "homeschooling" option is where parents after file a notice stating their intent to homeschool. The notice must be flied by August 15th each year, or as soon as possible after moving to Virginia. This option requires that parents list the curriculum to be used, listing subjects to be taught and books or other methods used. The person teaching the children needs to meet criteria. Either:
  • the parent submits a curriculum or program of study to be used (I assume that this means using one of the full-year curriculum packages available.
  • the parent has a high school diploma.
  • the parent is a qualified teacher (see option 3)
  • the parent is deemed able to teach by the superintendent.
Under this option, the child must be evaluated each year, either showing:
  • a standardized test result in the 23rd percentile.
  • a certified teacher or a person with a Master's degree or higher who knows the child certifies that the child has made academic progress.
  • a report card from a distance school or community college or correspondence school
  • another form of assessment. This option should be pre-approved early in the year.

If progress is not shown, the homeschool is placed under probation for one year. Parents must show that they are able to teach, and provide a remediation plan. If progress is not shown over that probation year, homeschooling may cease as of the following August 1.

Religious Exemption

The religious exemption is an interesting option: Parents simply state that, because of their religious beliefs, conscientiously object to public school attendance. If you wish to be included under this exemption, you simple file a letter explaining your religious opposition to public school and submit it to the school board. The HSLDA will help with this one. If you are approved under this option, you do not have to follow any of the regulations listed above.

Certified Tutor

This one seems almost too easy. In Virginia, if you happen to be a qualified teacher, you simply state that fact and you are free to tutor your own children. You only need to let them know once, with proof that you are certified to teach in Virginia.

Private School

A group of parents can form a private school. Each family's home can be part of the school, and each child can be taught in that part of the school (at home). Private schools are not regulated.

Reading Between the Lines

Virginia is a state considered to have "moderate regulation" To me it sounds like there are definite ways to get around the strictness, making it, conceivably, a very easy place to homeschool. I'd love to hear what homeschooling in Virginia is really like.

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