FAQ – High School and Teens

My daughter wants to homeschool high school. Help?

There is a lot of information out there on this subject. One way to begin is to watch the videos on homeschooling high school available:

Planning for Homeschool High School

Homeschooling High School

You’ll also find a lot of basic information about homeschooling high school at our website at Homeschooling Teens.

This FAQ article Homeschooling Your Teen – Frequently Asked Questions may be of special interest to you.

Does Virginia law require that a parent is home to supervise a high school age student?

Virginia law does not directly address parental supervision of homeschooled students. We recommend that families use the guidelines prepared by Child Protective Services on child supervision, such as the ones prepared by Fairfax County CPS: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/childrenyouth/supervision_eng.htm .

Some students of high school age are able to work independently from home without parental supervision, while others are not. Special factors to consider might include the emotional maturity of the student, ability to work independently, and how comfortable the parents are with the child being left unsupervised. If the child cannot be left unsupervised, possible alternatives might include having the child stay with another homeschooling family or another family member during school hours, bringing the child to the workplace, restructuring work hours around the child’s school hours, or paying a responsible adult to provide supervision during school hours.

How does a homeschooler graduate from high school?

There is no official graduation for homeschoolers. Homeschoolers graduate when their parents determine that they have finished their high school course of study. Just as homeschoolers receive a diploma only if the parents create one for them, they only “graduate” as their parents see fit. If they are part of an organized group or co-op, they may participate in a graduation ceremony planned by the group. Others may have a non-traditional celebration to mark their graduation.

Do homeschoolers receive a diploma upon graduation? If not, how do they get into college without a diploma?

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not award diplomas to homeschooled students. The diploma a homeschooler receives can be one their parents create, from a local co-op type program or one from a correspondence school. Most homeschooled students go on to college or career without a diploma. Some choose take the test to receive a GED (general equivalency diploma). Most colleges and universities accept a parent created transcript documenting the student’s high school course of study for the purpose of admissions.

Many colleges have pages on their websites that address homeschool admission to their university.

How does a homeschooler get a Driver’s License?

Homeschoolers may do all of their driver’s education at home or they may attend a private driving school. A few public school divisions will allow homeschooled students in their driver’s education, but this is rare and you need to check with your local school. All teens in Virginia must complete both classroom and behind the wheel training.

Like all teens in Virginia, if your student is under 19 years of age he will need to take the permit test at the DMV before he can begin behind the wheel training and will have to have held the permit for at least nine months before getting his license.

Classroom instruction may be done at home but must utilize a state approved correspondence program. You can find approved programs at http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/citizen/drivers/homeschoolers.asp

If you are going to be the behind the wheel instructor for your child, you must complete and mail Form HS-1 to the state office Department of Motor Vehicles, granting consent to DMV to review and monitor the parent’s driving record until the student successfully completes the DMV road skills test. Along with Form HS-1, the parents must also submit proof that their child has completed the classroom portion of driver education, as well as a copy of the letter from the school division documenting receipt of the Notice of Intent or Religious Exemption paperwork.

If your driving record is acceptable you will receive a letter from the DMV granting you permission to teach the behind the wheel portion of driver’s education. This  letter must be presented along with the student’s learners permit to take the driving skills test at your local DMV office.

You can read more details at Homeschool Driver Education and on the official DMV site.

What is dual enrollment?

Dual enrollment is the term used to describe a student who is enrolled both in high school and at a local community college. Courses taken at the college may be used for high school graduation and college credit.

Students may apply to their local community college when they are 16 (they may attend younger with special permission).

Can you provide me with information regarding transfer from homeschool to public high school?

If you are planning on sending your child back to public school during or after the 9th grade, your local public school may or may not award credit for the work your child has completed. Also, to graduate from high school, state law requires that all SOL tests be completed.

If your child uses a distance learning program which has been approved by the Virginia Council for Private Education or one of its affiliates, then your local school division is required by law to give her credit for that work. You can see a list of approved distance learning programs.

If you are not using an approved program, your local school division is required by law to consider the merits of your child’s homeschool program—but they do have the right to award or refuse credit as they see fit. There is often room for negotiation, but the school has the final say. This varies around the state because each school division sets its own policy. Some school divisions will award credit if the entering student passes the SOL exams in those subjects. Other school divisions sit down with the parent and student and award credit based on the work completed, textbooks used, records you have kept, etc. Some school divisions may ask for records of hours spent on specific subjects or who instructed the student, while others may be more interested in whether the material was covered or mastered. Every school division does things differently, so you may want to talk with your local school division about how they award high school transfer credit, or you may want to talk with experienced parents in your community about their own transfer credit experiences.
Read more here: High School Transfer Credit Resources.

Can a homeschooler attend one of the military service academies?

Homeschoolers may attend the service academies. Check the website for the academy your child is interested in attending to see the requirements for admission.

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.

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