Washington State Homeschool Laws

General Overview of the Homeschooling laws in Washington

As stated in RCW or the Revised Code of Washington, all parents of any child between eight and eighteen years of age shall allow such child to attend and participate in a public school of their residential district unless the latter is currently receiving home-based instruction. The said instruction shall be provided by a parent who is directly supervised by a person with certification under his belt – this means the third person will be monitoring how the parents plan and execute the objectives of home instruction.

Below is a short video about homeschooling in the state of Washington:

The evaluation of the child’s progress should be directly supervised by a certified person at least one contact hour per week.

Notification of Intent to homeschool in Washington

The parents are responsible in notifying the local superintendent about their intent to homeschool their child through a signed declaration of intention, each year on the 15th of September, or at least within a couple of weeks of the start of the quarter, trimester or semester. It is also important to notify the authorities whether or not there will be a certified person to supervise the home instruction. If the parents are planning to withdraw the child from public school to acquire home-based instruction, the school district wouldn’t raise any question if the withdrawal doesn’t fall within any of these school hiatus.

Qualifications required to homeschool in Washington

Compared to other states, Washington is a bit stern in terms of their qualifying requirements in homeschooling a child. A teacher must possess the following credentials:

  1. Have earned at least 45 quarter units of college credit.
  2. Have attended a Parent Qualifying Course
  3. Have worked with a certified teacher who meets the student at least one hour per week.
  4. Have been declared sufficiently qualified to execute home-based instruction by the local school district’s superintendent.

Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in Washington

Children between the ages of eight and eighteen should attend 1,000 hours each year – between 15th of September of the current year and 14th of September the next year.

What subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Washington?

The Washington State Legislature define homeschooling as a planned approach to education with direct supervision and relevant educational activities, including the basic skills acquired through occupational education; and several subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Language (reading and writing), History, Social Studies, and Health. It should also include other minor subjects like art and music.

What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in Washington?

Record keeping may often be overlooked, yet the fact that the parents are able to compile their children’s record is a good indicator that they are taking home-based instruction seriously. When parents themselves are reliable enough to maintain these records, it goes to show how independent the homeschool system can be.

Parents should keep the following records:

  1. Annual test scores of the student or an assessment report/immunization records, along with other documents that are related to educational and instructional activities.
  2. The law does not have a specific instruction as to how these records should be kept and in what form; however, most parents keep it for at least two years, away from anything that may impair the clarity of the paper. These papers are of your personal records and should not be shared with any unauthorized agencies.
  3. If your child is later enrolled in public school (with the traditional school setup), these records may be requested by the administration for the parents to submit.

It is the parents’ duty to ensure that the standardized achievement of their child will be approved annually by the State Board of Education.

Is part-time enrollment permitted in Washington?

When a child wants to participate part-time in public schools, he must still preserve his home-based instruction statutes. This may sound a bit confusing but being a part-time participant means the child may actually take advantage of the school resources, along with the classes offered by your school district, while the parents are still in total control of their child’s education. Because it is the parent, and not the teacher, who would set goals and decide on the details of his assessments (when, where and what). It is also the parents, not the local district, who would keep records of his educational attainments.

Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in Washington?

Yes, students may take certain courses at their public school district – still on part-time basis. The students may also avail ancillary services such as counseling, speech therapy, etc. This law, however, has lowered the age for mandatory attendance at six or seven years.

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