Virginia Homeschool Laws and Policies

 

Accurate and up-to-date information about the legal requirements for homeschooling is vital for homeschooling parents and families considering home education. An accurate understanding of what homeschooling families are and are not required to do in order to comply with the law is the best foundation for safeguarding homeschooling freedoms.

Virginia Homeschooling – Quick Reference Guides

VaHomeschoolers has compiled two documents to help homeschooling parents gain an accurate understanding of the various options available to Virginia’s home educators. While we are not licensed attorneys (and therefore these documents should not be construed as legal advice), we would like to share the expert knowledge we have gained through years of experience working with parents, public school superintendents and their staffs, as well as our history of working with legislators to craft and safeguard Virginia’s Home Instruction Statute and related laws.

The following two documents are provided at no cost, and may be copied and distributed as long as credit is given to The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers):

Homeschooling in Virginia: Avenues for Legal Compliance (pdf)

In Virginia, parents have three legal avenues for overseeing their children’s educations, in lieu of sending them to public or private school. This publication helps clarify the roles of homeschooling families and school divisions regarding each educational avenue.

Quick Reference Guide to Homeschooling in Virginia (pdf)

Virginia’s options for home education are simple in practice but incorporate a number of details that can be difficult to keep in mind, particularly with regard to some of the less-often used legal avenues. This publication helps clarify the roles of homeschooling families and school divisions regarding each educational avenue.

Homeschooling Related Statutes

The ultimate authority on Virginia home education law is the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended. The following links take you directly to the Code of Virginia, maintained by the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System in Richmond.

Compulsory Attendance Code and Home Instruction Statute

 The most significant laws related to home education in Virginia are the Compulsory Attendance Code (§22.1-254) and the Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1).  §22.1-254 and §22.1-254.1 define the legal options for homeschooling in Virginia, including home instruction, the approved tutor option, and the religious exemption, and discuss the annual reporting and testing/evaluation options for home instruction filers. These laws also regulate the ages and conditions for compulsory attendance in Virginia, discuss probationary periods and grievance hearings, and address PSAT/AP testing for homeschooled students.

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-254 Compulsory attendance required; excuses and waivers; alternative education program attendance; exemptions from article

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-254.1 Declaration of policy; requirements for home instruction of children.

Note: The home instruction statute was significantly amended in 2006 and 2008. You can see how the law was changed here: Home Instruction Statute Changes.

Part-time Enrollment

In Virginia, local school districts decide whether to offer part-time enrollment to homeschooled students. The law allows public schools to count part-time students in the ADM (Average Daily Membership) for funding purposes. To find out whether your school district allows part-time enrollment, consult the policy manual for your local school division. You can read more about finding your school division’s local policy manual here:

Finding Local School District Policies. To find out more about part-time enrollment and related issues, read FAQs about Homeschooler Access to the Public Schools.

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-253.13:2. Standard 2. Instructional, administrative, and support personnel (scroll to subsection N)

Transfer Credit for Homeschooled Students Entering High School

This law requires local school boards to make provision for transfer credit for homeschooled students entering public school for high school. Local policy varies significantly across the state. For more information, read: Returning to School after Homeschooling? and High School Transfer Credit Procedures.

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-253.13:4. Standard 4. Diplomas and certificates; class rankings. (Scroll to subsection A)

Driver Education

Teens who wish to obtain a driver’s license in Virginia must complete a classroom course and a “behind the wheel” course in driver education. Parents of homeschooled teens may teach either or both courses. These laws address driver education and licensing procedures for homeschooled students. For more information on driver education and homeschooled students, see Driver Education.

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-205. Driver education programs.

To read the complete text of the law: §46.2-334. Conditions and requirements for licensure of persons under 18; requests for cancellation of minor’s driver’s license; temporary driver’s licenses; Board of Education approved programs; home-schooled students; fee.

GED Testing

This law discusses the conditions under which homeschooled students may take the General Educational Development (GED) exam and receive a high school equivalency certificate. For more information on the GED and homeschooled students, see: Homeschoolers and The General Educational Development Exam (GED).

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-254.2. Testing for general educational development; eligibility; guidelines.

Immunizations and Vaccinations

These laws address immunization requirements for school-age children.

§32.1-46 discusses which immunizations are required under Virginia law, and §22.1-271.4 requires homeschooled children to comply with the immunization requirements of §32.1-46. For more information on on vaccinations and homeschooling, see: Vaccination Laws Pertaining to Homeschoolers

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-271.4. Health requirements for home-instructed, exempted, and excused children.

To read the complete text of the law: §32.1-46. Immunization of patients against certain diseases; records.

Daytime Curfews

Virginia law allows local jurisdictions to establish curfews for minors between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Local jurisdictions do not have the authority to establish daytime curfews.

To read the complete text of the law: §15.2-926. Prohibiting loitering; frequenting amusements and curfew for minors; penalty.

Stanford 9 Testing

This law says that school districts are no longer required to administer the Stanford 9 Achievement Test, but may opt to provide it to home instructed students for testing/evaluation purposes. Many Virginia school districts are no longer administering the Stanford Achievement Test to homeschooled students.

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-253.13:3. Standard 3. Accreditation, other standards and evaluation. (Scroll down to subsection F)

Penalties for Violating Compulsory Attendance Code

This law discusses penalties for violating § 22.1-254 (Compulsory Attendance Code).

To read the complete text of the law: §22.1-263. Violation constitutes misdemeanor.

Local School Division Policies

 Locally elected school boards determine school division policy, but must adhere to Virginia laws.  For help finding local school division policies, please see:

School Division Policies

Virginia Department of Education Guidelines and Statistics

Although school boards set school division policy, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) offers advice in interpreting how Virginia laws should be implemented.  Please refer to the following page for VDOE guidelines about homeschooling, as well as collected statistics:

VDOE Guidelines and Statistics

Virginia Attorney General Opinions

Families who homeschool based on the Religious Exemption (RE) may be interested to read these Attorney General opinions indicating that school boards are entitled to review RE claims periodically:

Virginia Attorney General Opinions


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