You May Begin to Homeschool Mid-Year
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.
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.
Helpful Steps for Withdrawing Your Child From Public or Private School
- Be sure to read Virginia Laws and Policies to learn about Virginia homeschooling laws and your rights.
- Browse this guide and 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 the home instruction statute. You may also choose to file under the approved tutor provision or the religious exemption. 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. 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.
- Whether you file under the four options of the home instruction statute, the tutor provision, or for a religious exemption, you must file your paperwork when you decide to homeschool.
- If you file under the home instruction statute, the law says that you have 30 days to file your curriculum description and supporting paperwork after submitting your Notice of Intent (NOI). This gives you time to dig up your high school (or higher) diploma or draft your brief description of curriculum, etc. as needed. Ideally, you should submit all your paperwork upfront before withdrawing your child, but the law gives you this option if you need additional time.
- Inform your child’s school of your decision to homeschool either by phone, in writing, or 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.
- Keep a copy of the Virginia Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1) handy. 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 for ideas for how to deal constructively with your school division.
- 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.
- Consider Deschooling for a period of time. Deschooling is the transition time between traditional types of schooling and homeschooling. It’s a low-stress time to become accustomed to your new family routines and for kids to perhaps reconnect to their interests and for parents to rediscover how their kids like to learn. Experienced homeschoolers recommend you take at least some period of time to make the transition; some even recommend deschooling for one month for each year your child was in a traditional school. An excellent place to learn more is in “Beyond School Daze: The Deschooling Process” by former VaHomeschoolers board member and former VaHomeschoolers Voice managing editor, Jeanne Faulconer.
- Don’t forget about Testing and Evaluation! Your test scores or evaluation results are due to 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.
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.”
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm going to start homeschooling 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.
My school division says I can't begin homeschooling until I've submitted all my NOI paperwork, including a copy of my high school diploma and my curriculum description. Is this correct?
§22.1-254.1 B says that you have 30 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.
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).
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 (i.e., during the 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 to homeschooling mid-year?
Welcome to Virginia! See Laws and Policies for more information and answers to common questions.
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.