“Is that legal?”

…is actually a question not too many home schoolers encounter anymore, according to Yvonne Bunn in the “Getting Started” session I attended last year. It used to be the first question anybody asked. Now the first response is more likely to be, “Oh, a family on my block home schools.” So that’s nice.

But how it’s legal varies from state to state. Some impose onerous burdens on the home schooling parents; others barely make you do anything. If you’re curious, the Home School Legal Defense Association has a handy color coded map on their website. I note with pride that Texas is a green state.

Virginia is a little more regulated, but it’s not too awful. There are four options under Virginia law:

1. Home school statute (the option chosen by most home schoolers in Virginia):

  • We provide a notice of intent to home school to our local superintendent by August 15 every year (the superintendent does NOT have to approve it– it is a notice, not a request for permission, which is automatic as long as we meet the other requirements of the law).
  • We have to meet certain minimum teaching qualifications (a high school diploma, a state teacher certification, a “curriculum or program of study,” or just some evidence that we can “provide an adequate education” for our kids).
  • We have to provide the local superintendent with a “description of curriculum.” This is just a list of subjects. We do not have to go into course content.
  • Assessment of progress: By August 1 of every year, we submit one of four evaluations: standardized test scores (any nationally normed test will do), an evaluation letter from a certified teacher or a person with a master’s degree or higher in any academic discipline, a transcript or report card from a college, distance learning program or correspondence school, or another type of evaluation or assessment the superintendent determines shows the child is making adequate progress.

2. Religious exemption statute: If you have a bone fide religious objection to sending your kids to school, you can receive an exemption from the entire home schooling statute.

3. Certified tutor statute: If one of the parents is certified in Virginia, he sends off a one time notification that he intends to tutor his children to the local superintendent along with verification that he is certified.

4. Private or denominational school: Groups of home schooling families can form a private school with each home representing a campus. Private schools are unregulated in Virginia. It has to be a group, though. Individual home schools cannot be private schools.

So, in case you were wondering about the legal aspect of home schooling, there you go.


About recoveringsociopath

Bibliophile. Cinephile. Cheery curmudgeon. Crunchy con. Erstwhile graduate student. Religious nut. I honestly believe Jesus actually rose from the dead. View all posts by recoveringsociopath

One response to ““Is that legal?”

  • Julia

    Oh, the Homeschool Legal Defense Fund, that brings back the memories… It is kind of crazy to me that all these same organizations still exist 20 years after I was connected to them. Anyway back in the day in Texas (where I was homeschooled) my parents didn’t have to do anything other than this legal requirement to cover some basic subject areas. They didn’t have to ever turn anything in about it, though.

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