In Washington state, homeschool is legal via two different options: under the home-based instruction law or under a private school extension program. For families choosing the first option (the most popular), the steps to homeschooling are as follows:
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According to Washington Statute RCW 28A.225.010, “All parents in this state of any child eight years of age and under eighteen years of age shall cause such child to attend the public school of the district in which the child resides and such child shall have the responsibility to and therefore shall attend for the full time when such school may be in session unless:
Thus, families in Washington state have the option to seek home-based instruction for their children, and they are supported with technical assistance through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). “RCW 28A.225.010(4) defines instruction as home-based if it consists of planned and supervised instructional and related educational activities, including curriculum and instruction in the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music provided for a number of hours per grade level established for approved private schools […] and if such activities are provided by a qualified parent.
The statute further states that the Legislature recognizes that home-based instruction is less structured and more experiential than the instruction normally provided in a classroom setting. Therefore, the provisions relating to the nature and quantity of instructional and related educational activities shall be liberally interpreted” (OSPI).
Per RCW 28A.200.020, “The state hereby recognizes that parents who are causing their children to receive home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) shall be subject only to those minimum state laws and regulations which are necessary to insure that a sufficient basic educational opportunity is provided to the children receiving such instruction. Therefore, all decisions relating to philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing, and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent except for matters specifically referred to in this chapter [Chapter 28A.200].”
Essentially, “It is the parent’s responsibility to provide materials and equipment necessary to meet the planned objectives for the home-based instruction” (OSPI). However, “A school district may establish regulations relating to the sale of materials at cost or to the lending or rental of [materials and equipment]” (OSPI).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
If homeschooling in Washington, “RCW 28A.225.010(4) requires that the instructional and educational activities be:
Note that a public school district may provide supervision by certificated staff of students and parents in home-based instruction at district expense, but this is at the discretion of the school district (OSPI).
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
Yes! “RCW 28A.200.010(1) states that each person whose child is receiving home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) must file annually a signed declaration of intent that he or she is planning to cause his or her child to receive home-based instruction. The declaration is to be filed by September 15 of the school year or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with
“The statement shall include the name and age of the child, shall specify whether a certificated person will be supervising the instruction, and shall be written in a format prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction” (RCW 28A.200.010). A sample Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-Based Instruction is provided on the OSPI website.
What educational options are available to my homeschooler?
As a homeschooler, you do have options. You may offer courses through postsecondary institutions or vocational-technical schools, or you may enroll your child in an extension program of an approved private school. See the “Pink Book” on the OSPI website for more information on these options.
Students receiving home-based instruction also may have access to part-time attendance in public schools: “RCW 28A.150.350(2) specifies that the board of directors of any school district is authorized and, in the same manner as for other public school students, shall permit the enrollment of […] part-time students who would be otherwise eligible for full-time enrollment in the school district. A student who is receiving home-based instruction which includes courses at and/or receiving ancillary services from the local school district is by definition a part-time school student” (OSPI).
Refer to the Request for Part-Time Attendance or Ancillary Services Form when making a request for your child to participate in public school courses.
Note: “A part-time student may use school district transportation at normal times and at the designated route stops” (OSPI).
Even though Washington does not highly regulate homeschooling, there are some Washington homeschool requirements you must satisfy when you homeschool:
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
Homeschool families in the state of Washington must “ensure that a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education is administered annually to the child by a qualified individual or that an annual assessment of the student’s academic progress is written by a certificated person who is currently working in the field of education. The state board of education shall not require these children to meet the student learning goals, learn the state learning standards, or take the assessments under RCW 28A.655.070. The standardized test administered or the annual academic progress assessment written shall be made a part of the child’s permanent records.” (RCW 28A.200.010).
The Washington State Board of Education “is responsible for approving standardized achievement tests that parents may use to assess and determine whether their child is making reasonable academic progress. These tests must be listed on the SBE’s website, per WAC 180-52-070” and can be found on the Home Instruction page.
“If the student is at a grade level in which all students in the local school district are tested, the parent may request that the student take the test as an ancillary service. The school district is required to provide this service under the Part-Time Attendance Act, RCW 28A.150.350” (OSPI).
What happens to my child’s annual testing results?
“If, as a result of the annual test or assessment, it is determined that the child is not making reasonable progress consistent with his or her age or stage of development, the parent shall make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency” (RCW 28A.200.010).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
As a Washington homeschooler, “the results of the standardized test or the annual academic progress assessment shall be made a part of the child’s permanent records” (OSPI). In addition to the required recordkeeping, we also recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:
You may also be able to find more information on Washington homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Washington State education laws require specific paperwork from homeschooling families. In addition to submitting the annual declaration of intent to homeschool with the local school superintendent’s office, each of the following should be kept on file:
The ideal way to keep records such as these is with a homeschool portfolio. Not only does an organized system of record keeping help in times of educational transition, but it can serve as a personal keepsake of your child’s growth and progress.
The Modify™ app makes record keeping simple and keeps all your records organized.
In Washington State, the only graduation requirements are to have covered the prescribed subjects mentioned above. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you won’t have your own criteria for when your child is ready to graduate. If your student will be attending college, for instance, you can research the entrance requirements of colleges your student is interested in and then align their curriculum accordingly.
If you have a child that is college bound it is always a good idea to keep records, portfolios and transcripts, all of these and more can be done on the Modify™ app.
Note: All information on this site is provided with no guarantee of accuracy. Modify™ is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or outdated information, or for the results yielded through use of this information.