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Washington Homeschool Laws & Requirements

Washington Homeschool Laws & Requirements
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There are two ways to legally homeschool in Washington state; 1) under the Home-Based Instruction Law or 2) under a private school extension program. While both have a different set of requirements, these are primarily focused on four specific areas:

  • Filing an intent to homeschool
  • Parental qualifications to homeschool
  • Subjects to be taught in the homeschool
  • Proper homeschool recordkeeping

Once you’ve analyzed the pros and cons of homeschooling for your family and are ready to embark on this amazing experience, you’ll need to know what the requirements for homeschooling in Washington state are.

This information should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.

Washington State Homeschool Requirements

Compulsory school attendance for children in the state of Washington begins at 8 years old. Under Washington state education laws parents have 2 options to legally homeschool their child. Each option has a different set of requirements for families to comply with.

  1. Homeschooling under the Home-Based Instruction Law
    • Meet qualifications to homeschool (4 ways to do this)
      • Have earned 45 quarter units of college level credit
      • Be willing to meet with a state certified teacher for at least one hour weekly
      • Receive approval as an eligible home-based instructor from the local school superintendent
      • Complete a Washington State homeschool parent qualifying course
    • File notice of intent
      • Must be submitted annually with your district’s superintendent by September 15 or within 2 weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester.
      • Must include the name and age of your child and specify which qualification to homeschool is met.
    • Teach all the required subjects
      • Must teach occupational education, reading, writing, spelling, language, math, social studies, history, science, health and art and music appreciation.
    • Teach a minimum of 180 days per year (or average of 1,000 hours)
    • Student must participate in one of the following types of annual assessments
      • Standardized test approved by the state board administered by a qualified person
      • Washington state certified teacher evaluation of child’s academic progress
    • Keep proper records
  2. Homeschooling under a private school extension program
    • Enroll in an approved private school that offers an extension program
    • Comply with requirements of that school’s extension program.

More information relating to the home education rules for Washington State can be found at A2ZHomeschooling.com.

More Washington State Homeschool Laws Info

Filing a Notice of Intent to Homeschool in Washington

Families who wish to educate their child at home must file a declaration of intent to homeschool in Washington. Whether submitted when turning eight years old, or when switching from public school to homeschool, this form can prevent any truancy complications.

You can obtain this form from your local school superintendent’s office, and then submit it with the superintendent when completed. This simple declaration usually only requires the name, age, and address of each child you will be homeschooling, as well as confirmation of whether or not you will be utilizing a certified teacher to oversee your child’s instruction at home. This signed declaration of intent should be filed each year by September 15 or, if beginning to homeschool during the year, within two weeks of the beginning of the public school school semester or quarter.

Homeschool Recordkeeping in Washington State

Whether your child might enter back into the public school system at some point after homeschooling, or whether you are preparing for future college entrance, recordkeeping is a vital aspect of home education. 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:

  • A student’s annual test scores or assessment report
  • Immunization records
  • Other records relating to the instructional and educational activities provided

The ideal way to keep records such as these is with a homeschool portfolio. Not only does an organized system of recordkeeping help in times of educational transition, but it can serve as a personal keepsake of your child’s growth and progress.

Homeschool Graduation Requirements in Washington State

For many new homeschoolers the subject of graduation and diplomas is of keen interest. Homeschoolers are not subject to the same requirements for receiving a diploma as traditionally schooled students. It is the parents who decide the qualifications for graduation for each individual homeschooler, and it is the parents who provide their own diploma.

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. Many colleges will have specific credit hours they want applicants to have achieved, so you’ll want to understand how to assign credits for homeschool work. Another helpful tool when planning your homeschooler’s high school program is to view the graduation requirements for WA public schools. You can use the chart below to compare the prescribed graduation requirements for both public school students and homeschoolers.

  Public/Private School Homeschool
Washington diploma requirements Students must have a minimum of 24 completed credits to graduate in Washington and receive a diploma. (Note: individual districts may have additional credit requirements) Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements and can issue their own homeschool diploma; students of private/online schools may receive diplomas from those institutions.
Washington high school testing requirements There are no graduation testing requirements for the state of Washington. Homeschool students are also not subject to testing requirements for graduation.
Washington high school transcripts WA public school transcripts include identifying information, standardized test scores, attendance information, credit totals and a complete credit history by course including course titles, grades received each semester, and cumulative grade average for each. Homeschool parents may create their own student transcripts, and may include any information they deem pertinent to colleges, military, and/or future workplace organizations.
Washington high school course credits In order to graduate, WA high schoolers must have 4 English credits, 3 mathematics credits, 3 science credits (including 2 laboratory sciences), 3 social studies credits (including U.S. History, World History, and Civics), a ½ credit of health education, 1 and ½ credits of physical education, 1 credit of career and technical education, 2 credits of fine arts and 2 world language credits. In addition, all students are required to complete a course of Washington State history and government. Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements; for the purpose of creating transcripts, some homeschool parents do assign credits to individual courses.
GED eligibility You may take the GED test if you are at least 19 years old and have not graduated from high school and are not currently enrolled in high school. The same requirements for eligibility apply to homeschoolers as to public school students, although homeschoolers ages 16-18 may take the GED test by submitting a notarized form called the “Notarized Statement/Letter for Home School Students.”

Returning to Public School after Homeschooling

The time that a family spends homeschooling is subject to many different factors. Some will homeschool from kindergarten all the way through graduation. Others may only need to homeschool during a specific school year. If, for any reason, you need to return your child to public school after a period of homeschooling, you will need to follow the enrollment requirements of that specific school.

Some schools may request to review your homeschool records to help with grade level placement. Others may even require additional testing or evaluations before establishing enrollment. Each school division also makes its own decisions in how to transfer high school level credits and grades.

Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Washington State

Have other questions about homeschooling in Washington State? You may find the following pages helpful.

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