Homeschooling Your Teen – Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking about homeschooling your teen in Virginia? You’ve come to the right place.

What are the laws for homeschooling a teenaged student in Virginia?

The laws are the same for students of any age: you file your annual notice of intent at the beginning of the school year and submit your annual testing or evaluation results at the end of the school year. Our webpages on Virginia Homeschooling Law go into more detail on these requirements.

How can I locate other families with teenaged and grown homeschoolers?

Local homeschool groups can help you connect with other parents and teens, and can direct you to useful resources in your community.

If you’re looking for general guidance or need answers to specific questions about teen homeschooling, the VaHomeschoolers Voice (available with VaHomeschoolers membership) frequently contains valuable articles on homeschooling the teen years, written by experienced parents, teens, and grown homeschoolers. Many of the books in our VaHomeschoolers Bookstore also discuss homeschooling during the teen years.

What coursework are homeschooled teens required to take?

There are no required courses for homeschoolers under Virginia law. As the parent, you choose the coursework and curriculum for your homeschooled teen. Some families take a traditional path and have their student study traditional middle school and high school subjects, using similar materials and approaches to those used in public or private schools. Others take a more unconventional approach and create a customized curriculum around their teen’s interests and local resources. Accredited correspondence schools, co-ops, and community colleges are popular resources with many families.

But what about earning a high school diploma?

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not award diplomas to homeschooled students. Most homeschooled students go on to college or career without a diploma. Some choose to earn a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). If a diploma is important to you or your student, our article on High School Diploma Options offers several options which you may wish to consider.

I want to homeschool my teen, but I don’t actually want to do the homeschooling myself…

Sounds like what you are looking for is an accredited tutor who will work with your student on a part or full time basis. This is a legal option for complying with the compulsory attendance code ยง22.1-254, but it is not considered “homeschooling” under Virginia law, even if your student receives all his tutoring in the home.

Possible sources for full-time and part-time certified tutors include the “tutors” section of the local Yellow Pages, the local school division, local colleges and universities, the classified section of local newspapers, employment agencies, and local homeschooling groups. We strongly recommend that you check references, background, certification, and employment history before hiring a tutor for this purpose.

Another possible option for your family is to use an accredited correspondence school with a teacher advisor option, and have your student use this curriculum at home, at your workplace, or in another place of your choosing.

I want to leave school and homeschool for my last year or two of high school. What do I do?

There are pros and cons to beginning homeschooling at this stage of your educational journey. Read Beginning Homeschooling Your Senior Year: Pros and Cons first, and consider your options. If you still think that homeschooling is the right option for you, then read as much as you can about homeschooling in Virginia, different options for homeschooling high school, etc. Our VaHomeschoolers Bookstore has resources on teen homeschooling which may be of interest to you. Your local public library may also have helpful books and resources. Share what you’ve learned with your parents or guardians.

My son is not doing well in high school, and he only needs a couple more credits to graduate. Someone suggested that homeschooling might be an option for him so he can get his diploma…

Perhaps, but remember that homeschoolers do not receive official diplomas from the Commonwealth of Virginia. If a diploma is important to you or your son, using an accredited correspondence school program may be an option. However, many accredited correspondence schools require a year or more of study before they will grant a diploma, so be sure to ask about their requirements when you call them. Your son’s high school counselor may know of other options that you can explore.

Do you have any additional information on homeschooling teens which might be helpful?

Yes! Our Homeschooling Teens page has a host of information and links to other areas that are of interest to parents who are homeschooling teens. Some topics you will find include:

I’ve read every link on this webpage and I still have questions. What do I do now?

Contact The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Books Especially Helpful for Homeschooling Teens

Homeschooling the Teen Years: Your complete guide to successfully homeschooling the 13- to 18-year-old
by Cafi Cohen
Homeschoolers’ Success Stories: 15 adults and 12 young people share the impact that homeschooling has made on their lives
by Linda Dobson
The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quit school and get a real life
by Grace Llewellyn
Real Lives: Eleven teenagers who don’t go to school
by Grace Llewellyn

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