Homeschooling Satisfies Virginia Compulsory Attendance Code If the Parent Gives Required Notification
School attendance in Virginia is regulated by the Compulsory Attendance Code (§22.1-254), which begins with Subsection A as follows:
A. Except as otherwise provided in this article, every parent, guardian, or other person in the Commonwealth having control or charge of any child who will have reached the fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and who has not passed the eighteenth birthday shall, during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools, send such child to a public school or to a private, denominational, or parochial school or have such child taught by a tutor or teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education and approved by the division superintendent, or provide for home instruction of such child as described in § 22.1-254.1.
In Virginia, children from the age of 5 through 17 are required to attend school, but the term “school” does not necessarily mean an institution. Home instruction and approved tutoring are deemed as complying with the Code. Note also that a religious exemption from the Compulsory Attendance Code can be granted. Other exceptions include an “opt-out” provision for children under 6, and for homeschooled teens who pass the GED.
- Home Instruction – Send annual Notice of Intent (NOI) and Evidence of Progress to your school division. NOI is due on August 15 for coming term and Evidence of Progress for previous term is due on August 1. Exception: See Beginning Homeschooling Mid-Year
- Approved Tutor – Send a one-time notice to your school division that an approved tutor will be tutoring your child. Note that a parent with a current Virginia teaching certificate can be an approved tutor.
- Religious Exemption – Petition the local school board (not the school division) to grant a religious exemption from the Compulsory Attendance Code
Note: In common language, the term “homeschooling” applies to Virginia families who have chosen any of these three avenues.
Links to the Laws and Policies
To read the sections of the Virginia Code of Law which apply to homeschooling, as well as the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and local school division policies, see Virginia Laws and Policies.