Homeschooling in Virginia
Wednesday, 02 March 2022

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Virginia is full of history, nature, and science, making it a perfect place to homeschool. Maybe you are thinking about homeschooling in Virginia. Maybe you are already homeschooling and need some field trips and support group information. I am hopeful this blog post will help each of you along your homeschooling journey.

Compulsory Attendance Ages

Virginia's compulsory school age applies to children who have reached their 5th birthday on or before September 30th for any given school year and who have not passed their 18th birthday or graduated. All children within these ages must either attend their local or private school or send in homeschooling documentation. This documentation is to be sent to your local school board.

Options to Homeschool

There are three options to homeschool in Virginia:  

  1. File a Notice of Intent with the local school board
  2. Hire a certified teacher
  3. Apply for Religious Exemption (sincere religious objection)  

The most common type of homeschooling in Virginia is to file a Notice of Intent, so I will be focusing on that option. If you are interested in hiring a certified teacher or applying for a religious exemption, you can find more information about those options here.

Filing a Notice of Intent Form

Notice of Intent form or letter explaining how you have complied with the law is required to be submitted to your local school board every year by August 15th. If you just moved to Virginia, it would need to be submitted within 30 days and then every August 15th after that. You would pick ONE of the options on the form and attach the correct documentation for the option you choose. 

Option 1: attach a copy of your (or your spouse's) high school diploma or transcript

Option 2: attach a copy of your teacher's license

Option 3: evidence of enrollment in a correspondence or distance learning program

Option 4: attach a letter stating you are able to provide adequate instruction for your child(ren)

You would also need to attach a simple list of the subjects you plan to teach to your children this year with any of these options. 

It can be as simple as math, English, reading, science, history, etc. There are no required courses that homeschoolers in Virginia must take, and we are only required to notify the local school board that we are homeschooling, not ask for permission to homeschool. Sending this documentation by certified mail will give you a record of receipt by the school board that you can keep on file. Some school districts, such as the one I live in, will mail you a letter stating they have received your information. If they do, always keep that letter for your records. 

You do not need to wait to homeschool until you receive notice back. Your responsibility is to inform them you will be homeschooling. Once it is mailed out, you can begin homeschooling.

Submitting Evidence of Progress

Informing the local school board of your child's evidence of progress is required for every student that is between the age of 6 (on or before September 30th of that school year) and 18 (unless they have graduated). You do not need to keep attendance or track the number of days schooled. However, you do need to provide evidence of progress to your local school board by August 1st each year. There are four ways to fulfill this requirement:

Use any nationally normed standardized achievement test, such as the IOWA test offered by BJU Press Homeschool. 

Your child must score above the 4th stanine or 23rd percentile for the core composite score. 

  1. That score includes math and language arts sections only.  
  2. Submit the results of an ACT, SAT, or PSAT test with equivalent results as above.
  3. Submit an evaluation letter from a licensed teacher or someone with a master's degree or higher in an academic discipline.
  4. Submit a report card or transcript from a community college, college, or correspondence school.

If you are planning to continue homeschooling each year, you might want to send in your evidence of progress along with your notice of intent for the following year. I find sending them together saves me time. Just make sure you send them in by August 1st if you are sending them together.  

You also might want to use certified mail to have proof of receipt. Remember to keep a copy for your records.

Field Trips

Virginia is bursting with opportunities for field trips. History is around every corner. You can visit homes of the presidents, such as George Washington’s Mount VernonThomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace; visit battlefield and war museums, such as the  Manassas National Battlefield, the Stonewall Brigade Museum, and the Virginia Museum of the Civil War; and visit other history-rich places such as Colonial Williamsburg, the Frontier Culture Museum, and Jamestown.

If you are looking for science-related field trips, there are many science museums, such as the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, and Amazement Square, to name a few. You can learn about trains, cars, planes, and other vehicles at the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the Virginia Air and Space Center. You can explore nature at the Luray Caverns or go to our favorite caverns, which are Grand Caverns. Plus, there are numerous hiking trails in Virginia along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, and various farms throughout the state that you can tour and explore, like the unique Virginia Maple Syrup Trail in Highland county. You can take so many different field trips to make your homeschool come alive!

Homeschool Associations and Groups

Virginia also has numerous support groups for homeschoolers. 

The largest support system in Virginia is the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV). 

On their webpage, you can find out more about homeschooling in Virginia and find a list of homeschool co-ops and groups near you. They also have special homeschool events listed, such as special homeschool days at various museums and businesses throughout the state. If you are looking for more information on homeschooling in Virginia, you can go to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website. They provide information on homeschooling in general and the specific laws in each state. 

As a member, you would support those who work hard to fight for our rights to continue homeschooling. You would receive extra benefits, including free personalized legal protection and access to additional homeschooling helps and forms. One of the best ways to receive homeschool support is to connect with a HomeWorks Consultant near you. We are homeschooling parents just like you who want to encourage other homeschoolers by answering questions, finding solutions, and helping in any way that we can. Since we represent BJU Press Homeschool, we can also offer extra discounts on BJU Press Homeschool materials.

Virginia is a wonderful place to homeschool, with many opportunities to connect with others and explore the state. With a solid, academic curriculum like BJU Press Homeschool, you should have no trouble meeting the Virginia requirements to homeschool year after year. Plus, your children will learn to think critically, be challenged with a biblical worldview, and grow in their knowledge of God. There is nothing more exciting than that!

Meet the Author

Heather Spencer - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant