West Virginia recently changed its homeschool participation reporting requirement from annually to one time.


West Virginia, in the southern United States, legalized homeschooling in 1987. In this state, homeschooling is not considered private schooling.


West Virginia requires parents who homeschool their children, ages 6 to 17, to provide a one-time notice to the county superintendent. The state law also requires parents to ensure that the instruction time is equal to that of public schools: 180 instructional days per term. Homeschooled students must also receive instruction in the core subjects of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Parents who direct their children’s education at home must have at least a high school diploma or GED and provide a copy to the county superintendent. Homeschooled students must do one of the following: take an annual standardized assessment in reading, language arts, math, science, and social studies; take a state assessment; provide a portfolio of work reviewed by a certified teacher; or submit an alternative assessment approved by both parties.

Homeschooled students have limited access to courses and other offerings at local public schools. For example, they may request access to any course, but the county board must approve attendance. They are also eligible for interscholastic sports participation with some requirements. For example, it appears that they must enroll in at least a virtual class at the public school. Access to SPED services appears limited to students who have fallen behind for three consecutive years. Services for other students with special needs are unclear.

State Data

West Virginia used to require parents to report annually. As a result, the state had many years of longitudinal homeschool participation data that it publicly reported. However, the state changed its requirements and now asks parents to report only when they begin to homeschool. Therefore, participation data are available through 2019. Historically, there were about 5,000 homeschooled students in the early 2000s. Just before the pandemic, there were nearly 12,000.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in Arkansas from 2002 to 2019, with rates steadily increasing over these years, with a more significant spike in 2011.

U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 5.4% of West Virginia families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 16.6% by the fall of 2020. These percentages reflect family participation and are greater than many states across the county during the same time period. Student participation would be higher, given that many families have more than one child. During the 2022 and 2023 school years, U.S. Census estimates indicate that an average of 5.8% of K-12 students in West Virginia were homeschooled during this time.

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School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, parents in West Virginia have various educational choices available. These options include open enrollment in traditional public schools through inter- and intra-district choice. West Virginia does not have any charter or magnet schools. The state recently passed one of the nation’s most expansive educational savings accounts. Homeschooled students are only eligible if they meet the age/grade or prior public school attendance requirement, but all students will be eligible in 2026.


West Virginia holds homeschooled students to a higher testing standard than public school students. The West Virginia state test, given in grades 3-8, only covers English language arts, math, and science. Homeschooled students have to take a civics test unless they opt for the state test. Further, the state test is not nationally normed, meaning the results are comparable to other students of similar ages across the country.

Last updated December 2023.