In Virginia, as stated in the Guidelines for Home Instruction 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. Parents who believe that a child is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school may inform the school board that they want to delay school attendance until the following year if the child has not reached his 6th birthday on or before September 30.
The compulsory attendance law permits a child subject to that law to attend a private or public school or receive an education through alternatives to school attendance outlined in state law unless the child is excused from attendance by a local school board, as stated in § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia.
Home instruction or home schooling is one alternative to school attendance. In Virginia “any parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person having control or charge of a child” (§ 22.1-1 of the Code of Virginia) may provide home instruction as prescribed by § 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia.
Section 22.1-262 of the Code of Virginia requires a school attendance officer to refer to a juvenile and domestic relations court (with the knowledge and approval of the school superintendent) any parent who fails to comply with the compulsory attendance law.”
Other Alternatives for Parents
The Guidelines for Home Instruction in Virginia further states that “Section 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia allows parents to have their children taught by a tutor or a teacher who meets the teacher licensure qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education when that individual has been approved as a tutor by the school division superintendent. To meet the qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education, the tutor must have a valid Virginia teaching license in any area and may be a parent who meets the tutor qualifications.
Parents seeking a religious exemption must petition the school board and show that, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief, the pupil, together with his parents, is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school. The term bona fide religious training or belief “does not include essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views or a merely personal code.” (§ 22.1-254.B.1, Code of Virginia).”
For further information regarding home instruction or religious exemption, please contact:
Mary Hodges, Director of Exceptional Programs
Wendy Bohannon, Secretary