Washington

  • Homeschool statute: Parents must provide annual notice to the local superintendent, meet one of four parent qualifications, provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects, and have their children assessed annually (by testing or portfolio review). Parents are not required to submit the assessments to the local superintendent, but must maintain these documents in the home.
  • Umbrella school: Parents may operate homeschools as “extension programs” of approved private schools. Parents must provide 180 days of instruction in a variety of required subjects and be under the supervision of a certified individual employed by the school who will assist in planning instruction, maintaining student records, and evaluating student progress.

Homeschool Statute

Washington has a homeschool statute, which refers to homeschooling as “home-based instruction.” See Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.225.010(4) and § 28A.200.

Notification: Parents must submit an annual declaration of intent. “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. Each parent shall file the statement by September 15th of the school year or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with the superintendent of the public school district within which the parent resides or the district that accepts the transfer, and the student shall be deemed a transfer student of the nonresident district.” See § 28A.200.020(1)(a).
Qualifications: The parent providing instruction must meet one of four parents qualifications: either (a) instructing his or her child only and supervised by a “certified person” (the statute lays out details for what this involves); (b) instructing his or her child only and having a certain number of college credits; (c) instructing his or her child only and having completed a course in home-based study at a college or vocational institution; or (d) be “deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district.” See § 28A.200.010(4)(a, b, c).
Days or hours: Parents must provide instruction “for a number of hours equivalent to the total annual program hours per grade established for approved public schools.” This amounts to 180 school days or 1000 hours each year for grades 1 through 12 and 450 hours for students in kindergarten. See § 28A.200.010(4). However, these requirements must be “liberally construed.” See § 28A.200.010(5).
Subjects: Instruction must consist of “planned and supervised instructional and related educational activities, including a 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.” See § 28A.200.010(4). However, these requirements must be “liberally construed.” See § 28A.200.010(5).
Bookkeeping: “The standardized test administered or the annual academic progress assessment written shall be made a part of the child’s permanent records.” When transferring a student to a public or private school, parents are also required to forward a child’s immunization records. See § 28A.200.020(1)(c) and § 28A.200.020(1)(b).
Assessment: Students must be assessed annually. There are two options: (a) have the student take “a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education” and administered “by a qualified individual;” (b) have an “assessment of the student’s academic progress written by a certified person who is currently working in the field of education.” While parents must keep the results as part of the child’s permanent record, they are not required to submit them to anyone. See § 28A.200.020(1)(c)
Intervention: (1) Parents are not required to submit their children’s test scores or annual assessments. The statute states that “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” then “the parent shall make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency.” There is no provision for ensuring that parents take efforts to provide their children with remedial education should their test scores or assessments show deficiency. See § 28A.200.020(1)(c)(2) Parents are presumed to be providing the required instruction. “Failure of a parent to comply with the duties in this section [on filing, bookkeeping, and testing/assessments] shall be deemed a failure of such parent’s child to attend school without valid justification under RCW 28A.225.020 [enforcement of compulsory attendance]. Parents who do comply with the duties set forth in this section shall be presumed to be providing home-based instruction as set forth in RCW 28A.225.010(4) [on teacher qualifications, days/hours of instruction, and subject requirements].” See § 28A.200.020(2).
Other:
Parents who choose to homeschool are to be subject to only the minimum state requirements. “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.” § 28A.200.020.

Umbrella School

“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.” State code specifies how this is to take place. See Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.225.010(1)(a) and § 28A.195.010(4).

Notification: Parents must enroll a child in an “extension program” of an approved private school. See § 28A.225.010(1)(a).
Qualifications: The parent shall be “under the supervision of an employee of the approved private school who is certified.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(a). The certified person must “spend a minimum average each month of one contact hour per week with each student under his or her supervision.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(c).The certified person “shall not supervise more than thirty students enrolled in the approved private school’s extension program.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(e).
Days or hours: “The planning by the certified person and the parent, guardian, or person having legal custody include objectives consistent with” 180 school days or 1000 hours each year for grades 1 through 12 and 450 hours for students in kindergarten. See § 28A.195.010(4)(b) and § 28A.195.010(1).
Subjects: “The planning by the certified person and the parent, guardian, or person having legal custody include objectives consistent with” instruction in “the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of appreciation of art and music, all in sufficient units for meeting state board of education graduation requirements.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(b) and § 28A.195.010(7).
Bookkeeping: “The planning by the certified person and the parent, guardian, or person having legal custody include objectives consistent with” taking “appropriate measures” to “to safeguard all permanent records against loss or damage.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(b) and § 28A.195.010(7).
Assessment: “Each student’s progress be evaluated by the certified person.” See § 28A.195.010(4)(d).
Intervention: As required by the approved private school.
Other: “A residential dwelling of the parent, guardian, or custodian shall be deemed to be an adequate physical facility when a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody is instructing his or her child under subsection (4) of this section.” See § 28A.195.010(6).

Services Available to Homeschooled Students

Part-time enrollment: Yes.
Extracurriculars: Yes.
Special needs: Yes and No. All students are eligible for special needs testing through their local public schools. However, only students homeschooled through a private school are eligible for the federal public school special needs funding set aside for private schools.
Other: n/a

Background:

The legislature passed the state’s original homeschool statute in 1985.

Resources:

Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.225.010

Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.200

Home-Based Instruction, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

Washington’s Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction

Washington, International Center for Home Education Research

This overview is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the giving of legal advice.

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