NOI Basics

If you choose to homeschool under the Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1), your NOI must be submitted to your local school division superintendent by August 15 (if you know you are going to homeschool before the beginning of the school year). You may, however, begin homeschooling at any time during the year.

Your Notice of Intent may be a letter stating your intent to homeschool, or the VaHomeschoolers Optional NOI Form, or a form provided by the state or by your school division.

The law does not require that you use an official form and many homeschoolers prefer to provide a letter instead, since NOI forms provided by school divisions are sometimes inaccurate or out of date with respect to the Home Instruction Statute. If you choose to use a form, many homeschoolers prefer to use the VaHomeschoolers Optional NOI Form.

Whether you write your own letter or use one of the aforementioned forms, you must specify which of the four NOI options you are filing under and provide proof that you qualify for the option.

Along with your NOI letter or form, you must also provide proof that one parent qualifies for the option you have chosen. The primary homeschooling parent does not have to be the one to meet the educational requirements for Options (i) and (ii); either parent may qualify.

Option (i) - holds a high school diploma

For Option (i), provide a copy of either parent’s high school diploma or high school transcript. You may also submit evidence of attainment of a higher degree, such as an Associate’s Degree or a college diploma, if those are easier to locate.

Once a copy of your diploma is on file, you may not need to include one in the future; many homeschoolers simply refer to the fact that the superintendent has a copy on file.

Option (ii) - certified teacher

For Option (ii), provide a copy of either parent’s current teaching certificate or statement to this effect from the Virginia Department of Education.

Once a copy of the teaching certificate is on file, you do not need to include one in the future, unless it has been renewed since last filing; simply refer to the fact that the superintendent has a copy on file.

Option (iii) - can provide a program of study

Filers using Option (iii) may use any program of study or curriculum, which may be delivered through a correspondence course, a distance learning program, or in any other manner.

If you are using a specific correspondence course or distance learning program, you should provide notice of acceptance or other evidence of enrollment in the course or program, showing the name and address of the school and the courses in which your child is enrolled.

If you are using a program of study or curriculum that you have developed or compiled yourself, you should provide a description of that program or curriculum.

Option (iv) - can provide an adequate education

To qualify under Option (iv), provide evidence that you are able to provide an adequate education for the child. Although this may seem daunting, in reality it is not.

According to Superintendents Memo No. 124, this evidence includes the following: “To assess a parent’s ability to provide an adequate education, the division superintendent should determine whether the information submitted exhibits a mastery of language by the writer; whether it includes plans for instructional activities; and whether it presents a reasonable scope and sequence of content that shows a broad overview of what the parent plans to teach the child during the school year.”

Note: There are no educational requirements for parents who file under Options (iii) or (iv).

Regardless of which option you file under, you must also provide a “description of curriculum” with your NOI. Please note that this does not mean that you have to use a “formal” curriculum or program of study. Effective July 1, 2012, a description of curriculum is limited to “a list of subjects to be studied during the upcoming year.”

According to 1994 VDOE’s Superintendents Memo No. 124, the superintendent has no authority to judge or reject the program of study submitted under this option although he or she is responsible for determining that what a parent submits is indeed a curriculum description and not simply a statement of educational philosophy.

Note: Homeschooled children are not accountable to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and do not take the SOL exams, unless they are enrolled in a public school class that requires it.

You can find contact information for local superintendents here: Virginia Public School Division Staff. You may deliver your NOI either by postal mail or in person. Some school divisions accept NOIs via fax, email, or other online methods. It’s a good idea to keep a copy (paper or electronic) of your NOI in case of delivery problems or follow-up questions, and some parents prefer to obtain a delivery receipt, either by dropping off their paperwork in person and asking for a signed receipt or by sending it via certified mail.

If your school division has a “homeschool coordinator” or other employee specifically designated by the superintendent to handle homeschool paperwork and questions, it’s fine to submit your NOI to that employee rather than directly to the superintendent. Many of these can be found by googling the name of your school division, plus the term “home instruction” (click here for an example of the search).

Most school divisions send out acknowledgement letters upon receipt of the NOI; however, they are not required by law to do so. You do not need to wait for a letter to begin homeschooling.

Once you have sent in your NOI, you have complied with the law and nothing additional is required until evidence of progress is due at the end of the school year. For more information on evidence of progress requirements, see Homeschool Evaluation and Testing Information.

Note: The law only requires that you notify the superintendent of your intent to homeschool. It does not give the superintendent “approval authority.” As long as you provide what is required by law, you cannot be “rejected.”

If your child is 5 years old as of September 30th, you have additional options available. Please read Kindergarten Options for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

My school division provides an NOI form on their website. Do I have to use it?

Forms provided by school divisions often ask for more information than is required by law and you are not required to use it. If you wish to use a form, VaHomeschoolers provides a sample form for your convenience. You are not required to use any form; many homeschoolers submit a short letter. As long as you provide the required information, you have met the conditions of the statute.

If I am using my spouse's credentials for proof of qualifications, do they have to be the one to sign the NOI?

No. The primary homeschooling parent does not have to be the one that meets the requirements for NOI filing options (i) or (ii). There are no educational requirements for filing options (iii) or (iv).

I sent in my NOI, but I have not heard back from my school division. Is something wrong? What should I do?

When you submit the required information for your NOI, you are notifying the state of your intention to homeschool; you are not seeking approval. School divisions are not required to respond to your NOI, though many of them will. Those that do respond may do so quickly and others may take several months. You do not need to wait for a response to legally homeschool.

If you do run into problems with your school division, please contact VaHomeschoolers on their Helpline or Helpdesk for assistance.

Photo by Michele Kendzie

The Virginia Department of Education’s Home Instruction Handbook (p. 5) says that a GED is not considered a high school diploma for the purposes of satisfying Option (i) of the Home Instruction Statute §22.1-254.1. This is because the GED is “equivalent” to a high school diploma, not an actual high school diploma, as required by law.

Parents with GEDs who have received an Associate Degree or higher may substitute that diploma for the high school diploma. Parents with GEDs may also file under Option (iii) or Option (iv).

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.