Virginia's Compulsory Attendance Code

In Virginia, children aged 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 Compulsory Attendance Code. A religious exemption from the code can also be granted.

The term “homeschooling” applies to Virginia families who have chosen any of these three avenues for educating their children.

Home Instruction

Send an annual Notice of Intent (NOI) and Evidence of Progress to your school division.

Approved Tutor

Send a one-time notice to your school division that an approved tutor will be tutoring your child. 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.

Other exemptions from the Compulsory Attendance Code, besides the Religious Exemption, include an “opt-out” provision for children under 6 and for homeschooled teens who pass the GED.

Laws and Policies

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have to homeschool a certain number of days in the year?

Though the Compulsory Attendance Code (above) can be read to indicate a guideline for the number of days to homeschool each year, there are no attendance reporting requirements for homeschoolers.

I want to homeschool, but I don't want to/can't do the teaching myself. What are my options?

If you are unable or unwilling to homeschooling your child yourself, you do have options. Please visit the page on Homeschooling with Help.

Which filing option should I use if I am enrolling my child in Virginia Virtual Academy (VAVA)?

Virginia Virtual Academy (VAVA) is a tuition-free online public school program available for grades K through 11. Students do not attend a brick-and-mortar public school building, but are considered public school students and are required to take all public school assessments, including the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. These students are not considered homeschoolers under the home instruction statute.

This information is provided as a courtesy of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. It is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, contact a licensed attorney.

VaHomeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.