How to Homeschool in Washington

This information is not legal advice and should not be used as such. You should verify all requirements with the government agency in your area before you begin homeschooling. You may find contact information in the links below.
  • In Washington, homeschooling is known as "home-based instruction".
  • Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 8 through 18.

From the United States Department of Education

Each parent whose child is receiving home-based instruction must file annually a signed declaration of intent to home school his or her child, including specifying whether a certified person will be supervising the instruction. This declaration is due by Sept. 15, or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester, with the superintendent of the public school district in which the student resides. The parent as well must ensure that test scores or annual academic progress assessments and immunization records are forwarded to any public or private school to which the student may later transfer. RCW 28A.200.010.

Instruction is considered 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, and spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music. Instruction must be provided for a number of hours equivalent to the total number of hours required annually in an approved private school, i.e. 450 hours in kindergarten, and 1,000 hours in grades one through 12. RCW 28A.225.010(4).

The legislature recognizes that home-based instruction is less structured and more experimental than instruction normally provided in a classroom setting. Therefore, the provisions relating to the nature and quantity of instructional and related educational activities must be liberally construed. RCW 28A.225.010 (5).

Parents are responsible for all decisions relating to the philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, as well as methods, timing and location, in providing or evaluating home-based instruction, except for matters specifically referred to in RCW 28A.200.020.

The instruction must be provided by the parent who is instructing only his or her own child and supervised by a certificated person; or provided by the parent who is instructing only his or her own child and who has earned either 45 college-level credit hours awarded in quarters or its equivalent in semester hours, or has completed a course in home-based instruction at a postsecondary institution or vocational-technical institute; or provided by a parent who is deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the school district in which the child resides. RCW 28A.225.010(4).

An approved private school may operate an extension program for parents, guardians, or persons having legal custody of a child to teach children in their custody. RCW 28A.195.010(4).

Each parent whose child is receiving home-based instruction is responsible for ensuring that a qualified individual annually administers to the child a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education; or that an annual assessment of the child's academic progress is written by a certificated person who is currently working in the field of education. If the annual test or assessments results provide evidence that the child is not making reasonable progress consistent with his or her age or stage of development, the parent must make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency. RCW 28A.200.010.

Home school diplomas granted to homeschooled students will meet the requirements of high school graduation if students meet the minimum requirements of graduation commensurate with their year entering 9th grade as listed in WAC 180-51-060, 061 and 066 through 068, not including state assessments and the high school and beyond plan. WAC 180-51-015 and RCW 28A.230.090. Details on year specific graduation requirements can be found at http://www.sbe.wa.gov/graduation.php#.VSUw5vnF98F.

A student who is receiving home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010 is eligible to take courses at or receive ancillary services or both tuition-free from the local school district. Ancillary services include, but are not limited to counseling, psychological services, testing, remedial instruction, speech and hearing therapy, health-care services, tutorial services such as home or hospital instruction for students with physical disabilities, and sports activities. RCW 28A.150.350; WAC 392-134-005; and 392-134-010.

Contact Information

Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
Old Capitol Building
P.O. Box 47200
600 Washington Street S.E.
Olympia, WA 98504-7200
Phone: (360) 725-6000
Fax: (360) 753-6712
TTY: (360) 664-3631
Website: http://www.k12.wa.us/


Source: United States Department of Education - Washington State Regulations

From the Washington Department of Education

Washington state law recognizes the desire of some parents and families to seek a home-based instruction for their children. OSPI offers technical assistance to school districts that are working with parents seeking to exercise this educational right.

Intent to Home School Notification

File annually a signed Washington A-2 Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-Based Instruction that he or she is planning to cause his or her child to receive home-based instruction. 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.

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
(1) the superintendent of the public school district within which the parent resides, or
(2) the superintendent of a nonresident public school district that accepts the transfer, in which case, the student is considered a transfer student of the nonresident district.

Required Curriculum Subjects

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.RCW 28A.225.010(4)

Time of Instruction Requirements

The total annual program hours as being:
Kindergarten As currently established, at least a total of 450 hours.
Grades 1 through 12 As currently established, an annual average total of 1,000 hours.RCW 28A.150.220

Teacher Requirement

a. Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and is supervised by a person certificated under Chapter 28A.410 RCW. The supervision consists of and includes planning of objectives by the certificated person and the parent, a minimum each month of an average of one contact hour per week with the child being supervised by the certificated person, and evaluation of such child’s progress by the certificated person. The number of children supervised by the certificated person shall not exceed 30.
b. Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and who has either earned 45 college-level credit hours or the equivalent in semester hours or has completed a course in home-based instruction at postsecondary institution or a vocational-technical institute.
c. Provided by a parent who is deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district in which the child resides.RCW 28A.225.010(4)

Assessment/Evaluation

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, master the essential academic learning requirements, to take the assessments, or to obtain a certificate of mastery pursuant to *RCW 28A.630.885. The standardized test administered or the annual academic progress assessment written shall be made a part of the child's permanent records.

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

GED

Persons between the ages of 16 and 19 who have been instructed at home in compliance with RCW 28A.225.010(4) and Chapter 28A.200 RCW to take and successfully complete approved examinations for high school equivalency certificates, including a GED certificate.Chapter 180-96 WAC and RCW 28A.305.190

Public School Re-enrollment or Transfer

Ensure that test scores or annual academic progress assessments and immunization records, together with any other records that are kept relating to the instructional and educational activities provided, are forwarded to any other public or private school to which the child transfers.

At the time of a transfer to a public school, the superintendent of the local school district in which the child enrolls may require a standardized achievement test to be administered and shall have the authority to determine the appropriate grade and course level placement of the child after consultation with parents and review of the child's records.

Washington Home Schooling Links


Source: Washington Department of Education

Updated 29 December 2021

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