Whether you are moving into Virginia from out of state or you have made the decision to start homeschooling after the school year has begun, you may begin homeschooling at any time.
You May Begin Homeschooling Mid-Year
Thanks to The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers’ successful 1998 legislation, parents may begin home instruction after the school year has begun, even if the child is already enrolled in a school. You may withdraw your child at any time during the school year.
According to the Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1 B) “any parent who moves into a school division or begins home instruction after the school year has begun shall notify the division superintendent of his intention to provide home instruction as soon as practicable and shall thereafter comply with the requirements of this section within 30 days of such notice.”
To read the complete text of the law, see §22.1-254.1 Declaration of policy; requirements for home instruction of children.
Helpful Steps for Withdrawing your Child from Public or Private School
Learn about Virginia homeschooling law. Be sure to read Virginia Laws and Policies to learn more about the law and your rights.
Learn about homeschooling in Virginia. Browse our website to become familiar with the ins and outs of homeschooling in Virginia.
Understand the law about mid-year withdrawals. You do not need “approval” to begin homeschooling.
Know your filing options. Most homeschooling parents file under one of four options of the home instruction statute. (See Filing Your Notice of Intent for more informaiton. You may also choose to file under the approved tutor provision (see All about the Approved Tutor Provision) or the religious exemption (see Religious Exemption from Compulsory Schooling). Learn about these options and decide which one is best suited to your family.
Start planning your homeschooling year. Take some time to think about how you plan to educate your child at home, once he is withdrawn from school. Think about the approaches you may follow, and the resources you may want to use. Helpful articles include: Choosing Curriculum and Resources, and Resources for Exploring Various Homeschooling Methods.
If your child is a teen, read High School Transfer Credit Procedures to better understand your options if your child wishes to return to school in the future.
Assemble your “Notice of Intent” or “NOI” paperwork. Home instruction filers must submit a “Notice of Intent” (NOI) to their local school superintendent or his designee. You can use the form provided by your local school division, or simply write a letter. For more information on filing your NOI , read Filing Your Notice of Intent.
Assemble your curriculum description and additional documents as needed. The law says that you have 30 days to file this additional documentation after submitting your Notice of Intent (NOI). This gives you time to dig up your high school diploma (or higher), draft your brief description of curriculum, etc. as needed. (For additional guidance on preparing a curriculum description, see All About Curriculum Descriptions). Ideally you should submit all your paperwork upfront before withdrawing your child, but the law gives you this option if you need additional time.
Submit a copy of the NOI to your school superintendent. Either hand-carry it to the superintendent’s office (preferable), or send it via certified mail. Whichever you choose, make sure to get a written receipt. Keep a copy for your records.
Inform your child’s school of your decision. This can be done either by phone or in person. Some parents give their school office an additional copy of their NOI. Some parents recommend calling the school office on the first morning, informing them the child will no longer be attending, because he or she is being homeschooled. Other parents prefer to formally withdraw the child in person. Whichever you choose, one parent may need to visit the school in person to return textbooks, clear out desks, etc. Notifying the school is not required by law but makes for a smoother transition and is considerate.
Make a copy of the Virginia Home Instruction Statute(§22.1-254.1), and keep it handy. The full text of the statute can be found here: Virginia Home Instruction Statute(§22.1-254.1). You then may quote the law to any school employee who is uninformed or misinformed about Virginia homeschooling law.
You do not need “approval” to begin homeschooling. Once your NOI has been received by the division superintendent, you may legally begin homeschooling your child. Read Handling It Ourselves or ideas for how to deal constructively with your school division.
Don’t forget about Testing and Evaluations! Your test scores or evaluation results are due in your Superintendent’s office by August 1 following the end of the current school year regardless of how much time is left in the school year. Read Homeschool Evaluation and Testing Information.
Begin Your Journey! You are now free to begin your homeschooling journey with your child. Browse the VaHomeschoolers website for additional information and support. Find a local homeschool support group which can help you and your family as you transition into the homeschooling community. Many groups are listed here: Virginia Homeschool Groups.
FAQs about Mid-Year Withdrawals
I’m beginning homeschooling mid-year, and there are only a few weeks left in the school year. Do I really need to file an NOI? Do I really need to test or evaluate my child?
Yes, Virginia law requires you to file an NOI and submit testing or evaluation results, even if you only provide home instruction for a few days of the school year. You must test or evaluate, even if your child has already taken the SOL examinations in school. The testing/evaluation process does not need to be complicated or stressful. Read Filing Your NOI and Homeschool Evaluation and Testing Information to learn more about your options.
What should I do if my child’s school says I can’t start homeschooling, or that I need to wait for approval before I begin homeschooling?
The law requires you to notify your division superintendent of your decision to homeschool. Once you have notified the superintendent, you may legally begin homeschooling. There is nothing in the law about “waiting for approval” or “receiving approval” from your child’s school or principal. If your child’s principal has a problem with you withdrawing your child, he should discuss it directly with the division superintendent.
Note: Complete notification includes filing all legally required paperwork within 30 days. If you notify the superintendant and then fail to file all paperwork you will be considered in noncompliance with the compulsory attendance code (truant).
My school division says I can’t begin homeschooling until I’ve submitted all my NOI paperwork, including the copy of my high school diploma and my description of curriculum. Is this correct?
§22.1-254.1 B says that you have thirty days after submitting your original NOI to submit additional paperwork such as your diploma, your curriculum description, etc. This language was clarified by the Virginia General Assembly in 2006, at the request of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers.
We’re going to start homeschooling our child over the summer. When do we file our NOI paperwork?
If starting outside of the school year (during summer), file your Notice of Intent and other papers by August 15 for the upcoming school year. For more information, see Filing Your NOI
We just moved to Virginia from out of state. What else do we need to know about beginning homeschooling mid-year?
Welcome to Virginia! See New to Virginia for more information and answers to common questions.
I have more questions. Who do I contact?
Email VaHomeschoolers or call our toll free number (866) 513-6173.
Nothing in this document should be perceived as legal advice. For legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney who is experienced with education and homeschooling law.
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.