Homeschooling in Virginia: Guidance for Getting Started

If you are looking for information about homeschooling in the Old Dominion State, this guide has everything you need to get started! Discover the most relevant information for new homeschoolers in Virginia, including the legality of homeschooling, state regulations and overall homeschool requirements. You’ll find specifics for students transitioning from public school as well as getting started with your brand new 5 year old. This is the best homeschool guidance for anyone considering homeschooling in the state of Virginia. 

Homeschooling in Virginia: Guidance for Getting StartedHomeschooling in Virginia: Guidance for Getting Started

DISCLAIMER: This article is not written as legal advice. Check with your local school board and official Virginia laws before making decisions about educating your children.

Is it easy to homeschool in Virginia?

Homeschooling is considered a “moderate regulation state” by the Home School Legal Defense Association. This means that it is relatively easy to homeschool in Virginia with the understanding that you will be required to provide some regular documentation of progress to the state. 

The good news is, homeschooling is quite popular in Virginia. For example,  there are more than 200 support groups for homeschoolers throughout the state.

The S. Family, Sonlighters from Virginia Beach, VAThe S. Family, Sonlighters from Virginia Beach, VA
The S. Family, Sonlighters from Virginia Beach, VA

What are the requirements for homeschooling in Virginia?

There are four different options to consider as you contemplate homeschooling in Virginia. You must meet one of the following homeschooling statutes:

  1. The Home Instruction Statute
  2. The Private Tutor Statute
  3. The Religious Exemption Statute
  4. The Private School Statute

The statute that best aligns with your family’s needs will inform your obligations and necessary homeschool documentation requirements. Let’s explore each option.

The Home Instruction Statute

This statute requires that you possess the appropriate home instructor qualifications: a high school diploma, or a valid Virginia State teaching license, or an approved curriculum/distance learning program or demonstrate that you are able to provide your child with an “adequate education”.

In this option, you must file with the school superintendent by August 15th of each year. This must include a notice of intent to homeschool, an acknowledgment that you meet one of the state’s home instructor qualifications, and a curriculum description with a list of subjects for each child. 

In addition, each year, you are required to provide one of four types of evaluations to the school superintendent. These include standardized test scores, a letter from a licensed teacher or person with a master’s degree or higher stating that the child is progressing academically, a transcript or report card from a community college or distance learning program or a previously agreed upon record of learning.

Christina L, a Sonlight mom in Newport News, Virginia shares,

In my opinion, it’s really easy to homeschool in Virginia. You need to fill out an annual NOI (Notice of Intent) that includes a list of subjects studied for the year. Children of age also need to provide some sort of Proof of Progress (standardized testing or an evaluation) every year. However, there are no days/hour requirements, no subject requirements, no required report cards to the local district, or anything else that some states require.”

The Private Tutor Statute

If a parent possesses a current Virginia teacher certification, they may use the certified tutor provision for their homeschool. Teacher certification must be approved by the superintendent, but no end-of-year assessments are required.

The Religious Exemption Statute

This unique statute allows a local school board to excuse a child from school if the child, “together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school.” In order to secure a religious exemption, you must send a letter to the school board, outlining your beliefs and how they relate to your objection to enrolling your child in public school. The school board will reply with all necessary next steps to complete the religious exemption process.

The Private School Statute

In the state of Virginia, private school students are allowed to attend their school program from home, as long as attendance is the same number of hours each day, the same number of days each school year and in the same timeframe as public schools. While this option may resemble homeschooling, the student is enrolled in the private school for all educational requirements.

How many days are required for homeschool in Virginia?

No matter which option you choose, homeschooled students are required to complete 180 days or 990 hours of instruction. 

You can homeschool any time or day of the year you want, so I like having a very flexible homeschool schedule. The climate of our state is mostly warm during spring/summer/fall, so there are lots of opportunities to homeschool outdoors instead of inside. We have actually homeschooled on the beach before.” - Christina L., Newport News, Virginia, and Sonlight Mom

Virginia does not require attendance records to be maintained, nor does it require parents to submit attendance records. The state of Virginia allows parents autonomy in determining the days and hours in which homeschooling will take place.

Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in Virginia?

Virginians homeschooling under the Home Instruction Statute are required to provide one of four types of evaluations to the school superintendent each year. One of the four options is a standardized test. 

Do you have to be certified to homeschool in Virginia?
Who is eligible for homeschooling in Virginia?
​​​​Is unschooling legal in Virginia?
Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests in Virginia?
Can I homeschool someone else's child in Virginia?
The F. Family, Sonlighters from Barboursville, VAThe F. Family, Sonlighters from Barboursville, VA
The F. Family, Sonlighters from Barboursville, VA

Do you have to have a curriculum when homeschooling in Virginia?

When filing with the school superintendent each year, you must include a “curriculum description” with a list of subjects for each child. However, there is no set curriculum requirement for the state of Virginia. You are free to choose the learning resources you feel work best for your child for each academic subject. 

Looking for homeschool curriculum resources can be a daunting task. You now know the state requirements for homeschooling in Virginia, but the curriculum decision is all yours. Although legally, you are allowed to homeschool without a set curriculum, having an engaging and comprehensive curriculum makes homeschooling so much easier!

The Sonlight All-Subjects Package covers everything you need to homeschool in Virginia. You’ll rest assured that your curriculum not only covers all state requirements but provides a rich and appealing learning experience for your child. 

As you consider homeschool curriculum options, you may wonder about online homeschool programs. While online learning has its place in homeschooling, there are invaluable benefits to Sonlight’s Literature Based Approach. The power of literature and story in learning is the basis of all Sonlight curriculum options, creating an engaging, holistic environment for growing young minds.

What do I need to homeschool my child in Virginia?

After completing the initial annual filing with your superintendent, you are ready to begin to create your day to day routine and plan for learning. Here are two videos to help you prepare. 

Getting Starting as a Virginia homeschooler

How does homeschooling in Virginia really work in real life on a daily basis? Let’s discuss more practical considerations for homeschooling in the state of Virginia.

The first place to start is with your annual notice of intent to homeschool. Once you have the appropriate paperwork filed with the superintendent, we recommend that you build your homeschool knowledge with our 101 Guide to Getting Started as a Homeschooler.

Next, you’ll need to choose a curriculum for learning in your homeschool. Your choice should reflect the subjects you included in your notice of intent to homeschool.

Finally, we recommend that you designate a specific area in your home for all of your homeschool books and supplies. It is not necessary to have an entire, dedicated room for homeschooling. In fact, many families report the dining room table or living room couch as the place they homeschool most.

At what age is school mandatory in Virginia?

The mandatory age for school enrollment in the state of Virginia is 5 years old. Your child must attend school until they reach their 18th birthday, when they are no longer required to submit to school statutes.

Can you skip kindergarten in Virginia?

Because school is compulsory beginning at age 5, some sort of kindergarten is required. However, as a homeschooler, you choose what your child learns in their kindergarten year. 

For homeschooling prior to first grade, Sonlight offers the following early years programs:

  1. product-img
    Pre-Kindergarten Package
  2. product-img
    All-Subjects Package K