How Do I Homeschool in Virginia?

How Do I Homeschool in Virginia?

Homeschooling laws in Virginia at first glance can be very intimidating. There may be a lot to understand and specific terms and circumstances which need to be defined. So with that said, I want to assure you that this article will help you understand homeschooling laws in the state of Virginia.

“Is it legal to homeschool in the state of Virginia?”

Yes, it is completely legal to homeschool in the state of Virginia, as long as you follow the requirements as a resident of the state.

What are my options for homeschooling in the state of Virginia: 

Decide which option you would like to use to homeschool your student. Families have four options:

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Option 1: Under the home instruction of a student: 

Option one is considered “traditional” homeschooling where the student is taught in a home or alternative environment with a curriculum. This option is not religiously (option 2) or institutionally (option 4) affiliated.

Option 2: Homeschooling with a religious affiliation

This option of alternative education is through a group or institution that is religiously affiliated (private or public). This would include anyone using a school overseen by a church or denomination of faith. Several things must be noted under this option, as it can become controversial.

This is not an option of homeschooling that is allowed because the student or family disagrees with the moral, ethical, or educational standards and teachings of the public school system. In your letter of intent, avoid stating terms of disagreement of belief or standard, but simply clarify you are moving your student to an accredited institution that has religious affiliation. 

It is possible that if a family states a moral, ethical or educational disagreement, that the superintendent is allowed to revoke the request for the choice to homeschool. If the superintendent’s approval of a religiously affiliated program is pending leading up to August 15th, it is also okay for a family to send a letter of intent with Option 1 until their Option 2 status is approved.

If Option 2 is not approved, the family must find an alternative option fitting the state of Virginia’s mandatory attendance and accreditation requirements. Upon approval of public school exemption, it is encouraged that the family have their exemption letter on file and ready to furnish at any time if the local board of education requests a review.

Students at Enlightium Academy are option 2.

Option 3: Homeschooling with a certified tutor

This option is if the student’s teacher is licensed in the state of Virginia but simply not working with the local board of education. Though they are licensed in the state of Virginia, it is required for the teacher to have approval to tutor outside of the local school system. Once approved, the teacher may tutor any student. It must be stated that all students must meet the minimum requirement of attendance hours to be exempt from public education.

  • Tutors should note that they are required to apply for (and receive) approval from the local board of education superintendent before tutoring or teaching students at any time.
  • See all other requirements under option two, as they also apply.

Option 4: Homeschooling under an accredited private school

Private schools are required to have a physical office in the state of Virginia. Because of this clarification, Enlightium Academy (though an accredited private school) would fall under option 2 (religiously affiliated homeschool program), as they do not acknowledge a private online education option as its own branch of homeschooling. 

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Steps to homeschool in Virginia

  1. Choose your option from the list above. Again, students enrolled at Enlightium Academy would choose option 2.
  2. Families who decide to withdraw their student from public education after August 15th should read this article by Heav.org.
  3. Find the superintendent of your local board of education your student will be withdrawing from. Provide a short description of the curriculum with the letter of intent.
    1. Families enrolled at Enlightium Academy can visit the “Curriculum” page to get started.
  4. Send a letter of intent to homeschool your student to their current district superintendent (a PDF version can be found here as well.) See more in the section “What are Virginia’s law requirements for sending in a letter of intent?” below.
  5. Withdraw your student from his or her current school
    1. If your family chose option 1, you may withdraw your student from their current education option and begin homeschooling while waiting for approval.
    2. For every other option, wait for approval from your local superintendent on the chosen option of homeschool before withdrawing your student from their current education option. Once approved, you may withdraw your student and begin homeschooling.
  6. Once you have begun, you must keep quarterly report cards on record for your local board of educations review.
    1. Enlightium Academy provides families with records via email each quarter.
  7. You may or may not need to have an annual academic records review by the superintendent, as it changes on a “case by case” basis. Every family beginning the home school process should expect an annual review as the bare minimum of review. The state of Virginia may choose more or less at their own discretion.

What are Virginia law minimum requirements for a teacher?

Teachers must:

  • Possess a high school diploma or higher degree,
  • Possess a current Virginia teacher’s license,
  • Provide your child with a curriculum or program of study as part of your home instruction program, or
  • Give evidence that you are able to provide your child an adequate education.

Students enrolled in Enlightium have certified teachers for all subjects.

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What are Virginia’s law requirements for sending in a letter of intent?

  • Families should submit a letter of intent to homeschool for each student. It is possible for students to be approved together, but applying for them separately would ensure all applications and student cases receive individual attention. This intent must be submitted every year for each child by August 15th. If you are considering homeschooling after the submission deadline of August 15th, a few things change in the process. Continue reading this article, and read here for changes in the process after the submission date.
  • If you are new to an area or moving into a new school district, then you must notify the school district superintendent as soon as possible. If this move is after August 15th of that year, then read this article.
  • If you are new to a school district and wish to homeschool, you also must inform the superintendent of which alternative education option you are choosing as a parent or legal guardian of the student.
  • Letters of approval can vary in requirements every year. It is encouraged to read and understand each year’s approval letter, as each year’s requirements and/or the need to reapply may change.
  • It is always suggested that a student wait for approval to withdraw or leave their current education option until they receive an “exempt” status. Students are required to either attend their local public school or be approved for exemption, so withdrawing prior to receiving approval may result in truancy.
    • While you wait for approval, remember that you have the legal right to homeschool in the state of Virginia as long as you adhere to the regulations.
  • Additional resources:

Recording Student Academic Progress

Virginia requires annual academic assessment and testing of every resident under the age of 17. All students must meet a minimum requirement of academic comprehension to progress and attain continual approval for homeschooling. The various types of testing are listed below. At the end of each year, the family/teacher/school of the student’s alternative education will be required to submit a report of the student’s progress. There are four options for annual evaluation:

  1. Academic Progress Report provided to the family for superintendent’s review
    1. A report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance learning program, or home-education correspondence school.
      1. Students enrolled at Enlightium Academy would choose this option and provide the report card or transcript that EA emails parents. Enlightium Academy also offers the Stanford 10 to students in grades 3-12 each year; families may check with their superintendent to see if that will fulfill their annual assessment requirement.
  2. Annual Accredited Third Party Assessment Testing (High School Only). Results from nationally standardized achievement testing (ACT, SAT, or PSAT*). PSAT is the most common annual high school assessment test, as the ACT and SAT are college entrance and upper level high school exams. For more information on testing and where to send the results, please read this article.
  3. Licensed Certified Approval. An evaluation letter from a person licensed to teach in any state or a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline who knows about the child’s academic progress, stating that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.
  4. Any other type of “evaluation or assessment which the division superintendent determines to indicate that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.” If you plan to submit this type of assessment, you should discuss this with the school system early in the school year.

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What if my student does not meet the academic progress standards of Virginia?

In the case that a student’s progress has not met the satisfaction of the local board of education superintendent, families will be required to find an alternative to their alternative education. Usually this would mean either finding another alternative education program or placing a student in public school. If the student, family, or legal guardian of the student feels the superintendent’s assessment is incorrect, they have 30 days to appeal this decision. Due to such a short window of time, it is encouraged to send assessments in early so that there is adequate time if there is anything that needs to be dealt with.

If the student is not meeting the superintendent’s progress requirements, it may be possible to continue homeschooling the student, but the family will need to write a remediation plan and have it approved by the school system to continue homeschooling. If the student continues to show unsatisfactory progress, they will be required to stop homeschooling.

What if the curriculum chosen for the student is not approved?

If the curriculum is not approved, then students and families should find an alternative curriculum or education option as soon as possible. Upon revoking of the curriculum, the U.S. mandatory attendance laws are still required. If you do not find a curriculum within a suitable time, the student must enroll in a public school.

How do I get started homeschooling in Virginia?

There are many ways to homeschool in Virginia. If you are looking for an online private school that meets your state’s requirements, consider enrolling your child with Enlightium Academy.

Enlightium Academy Enrollment Steps

  1. To become familiar with the enrollment process at Enlightium Academy, you can watch this short video.
  2. Consider chatting with an academic consultant to see which teacher support and involvement tuition package would be best with our online curriculum. This will also give you an inside point of contact for questions and comments about our school.
    1. Toll-free phone number: 866-488-4818
    2. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  3. Once you’re ready, you’ll need to enroll here and click on the blue button near the top of the page.
    1. After enrollment, please complete the enrollment survey. Here you can elaborate on your student's needs, desires and preferences for the counselor.
    2. Our admissions team will contact you to discuss the next steps. You’re invited to reach out to us (at the number above) if you have questions at any time.

Additional resources

For any other questions about homeschooling or Enlightium Academy, please call 866-488-4818, or visit EnlightiumAcademy.com. Enlightium Academy is an accredited alternative education option to homeschooling in Virginia. Our program offers the comfort of a homeschool education environment, and a quality, private education. Enlightium is a Christian school, offering a Bible-based, flexible, accredited, teacher supported, affordable option to public school. Enlightium Academy meets all accreditation and state education requirements for the state of Virginia, while neither using the state curriculum or Common Core.

 


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