Home Instruction & Private Schools
In Virginia, parents must ensure that a child attends school in compliance with the state compulsory attendance law, as specified in § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia, when the child has reached his 5th birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and has not passed his 18th birthday. The compulsory attendance law requires, unless the child falls within one of the specified exceptions § 22.1-254, that the child attend a private or public school or receive an education through one of the other Code alternatives to school attendance. Home instruction (also referred to as home schooling) is one alternative to school attendance. Parents may home school “when the requirements of § 22.1-254.1 of the Code have been satisfied.”
Section 22.1-254.1 of the Code requires parents who home instruct to provide their local school division with:
- Evidence of having met one of the criteria for providing home instruction (see Options I-IV below),
- A notice of intent to home instruct,
- A list of the subjects to be studied for the coming year, and
- Evidence of academic progress at the end of the school year, by August 1.
Criteria for Providing Home Instruction
The Code of Virginia requires the parent providing home instruction to submit evidence to their local school division that he or she meets one of the following options:
- Option I: The parent holds a high school diploma or a higher credential.
- Option II: The parent meets the qualifications of a teacher as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education.
- Option III: The parent provides the child with a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner.
- Option IV: The parent provides evidence that the parent is able to provide an adequate education for the child.
Notice of Intent
Any parent who elects to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance shall annually notify their local school division by August 15 of his intention to so instruct the child. (§ 22.1-254.1 (B)) Parents who move into the school district or begin home instruction after the school year has begun must notify the school division as soon as practicable and comply with the provisions of the law within 30 days of such notice. Parents may use the Sample Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction-This is a Word document. to meet the notice requirement.
For additional information regarding the notice of intent requirement, please contact your local school division: Virginia School Division Directory.
Evidence of Progress
The parent who elects to provide home instruction shall submit to their local school division, by August 1 following the school year in which the child has received home instruction, evidence of the child’s academic progress with either:
- Evidence that the child has attained a composite score in or above the fourth stanine on any nationally normed standardized achievement test; or an equivalent score on the ACT, SAT, or PSAT test; or
- An evaluation or assessment which the division superintendent determines to indicate that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress, including but not limited to:
- 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, having knowledge of the child's academic progress, stating that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress; or
- A report card or transcript from a community college or college, college distance learning program, or home-education correspondence school.
For additional information regarding the evidence of progress requirement, please contact your local school division: Virginia School Division Directory.
- Home Instruction Handbook – Information for Parents-This is a Word document.
- Driver Education Information – Description of correspondence course approval process and related forms
- Affidavit (PDF)
- Sample Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction-This is a Word document.
- Compulsory Attendance Statutes (§22.1-254 through § 22.1-269.1 of the Code of Virginia)
- Health requirements for home-instructed, exempted, and excused children (§ 22.1-271.4 of the Code of Virginia)
In addition to Virginia’s public schools in 132 divisions, there are a number of private schools that provide educational opportunities, including private day schools and private residential schools for children.
- Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE)
- Private Special Education Day Schools & Residential Schools
Pupil Transportation & Non-public Educational Facilities
A number of Virginia laws concern private school transportation issues including opportunities for public schools to provide transportation for private school students.
- Local school districts may enter into agreements with private schools to provide transportation but are not required to do so. Code of Virginia § 22.1-176.1.
- Parochial and private schools may not hire a school bus driver unless the individual meets the qualifications required of public school bus drivers and presents the necessary documentation. Code of Virginia §22.1-180.
- School buses transporting pupils to and from private or parochial schools, may not discharge pupils in a manner that the child must cross a highway with two or more roadways separated by a physical barrier or unpaved area, or a highway with five or more lanes with the center lane a flush median marked for turning traffic only. Code of Virginia §46.2-918
- Don't use 15-passenger vans for school transportation
- Pupil Transportation In Vehicles Not Meeting Federal School Bus Standards (PDF)
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Guideline 17
- School Bus Driver In-Service Safety Series
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Choosing the Correct School Bus – Pre-School Transportation
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- School Bus Safety for Parents & Students (PDF)
- Guide for Selecting a Vehicle for Your Next School Activity Trip, Choosing Charter Transportation – from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
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Statistics: Home Schooled Students & Religious Exemptions Reports – the number of students who have obtained an excuse from school attendance by reason of bona fide religious training or belief as well as the number of students whose parents have notified the division superintendent of their intention to provide home instruction.