Homeschooling in Washington State: Washington State Homeschool Laws

By Dr. Jon

State laws change from time to time and though we try to keep the laws up-to-date at all times please check with the department of education for any changes that may have occurred.

It’s practical, safe and you can do it from home: homeschooling is increasingly popular educational alternative among many parents who wish to be more directly involved in their children’s education.

If you plan to do so yourself, you’re about to join a great community of fellow homeschoolers, always ready to offer advice and resources. We’ll show you how to start homeschooling in Washington State without too much effort. We’ll go through some of the main educational opportunities offered by The Evergreen State, give you an introduction of the main homeschool laws in Washington State, and point you to some great online homeschooling sites and communities that will help you homeschool in Washington right away! Use the infographic and video below to create a homeschool that thrives.

Homeschooling in Washington State

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The Evergreen State

This Pacific Northwest state is a treasure trove of educational opportunities – from fascinating nature parks to elegant art galleries. Read on to find out more about the educational potential of the Evergreen State.

If you and your children love nature, you’re in the right place. The Mount Rainier National Park gives you plenty of chances to hike through some of US most scenic landscapes, and the Ruby Beach in the Olympic National Park is one of the best places to admire the Pacific.

If your children are into art, they’ll love the many museums and galleries Washington has to offer. The Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, in Tacoma, and the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park, are just three of them – and you’ve plenty more to explore, from the Seattle Asian Art Museum, to the exquisite Chihuly Garden and Glass, also in Seattle.

Science enthusiasts have lots of places to learn and discover – there’s the Pacific Science Center, the Living Computer Museum, and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, all of which are in Seattle. What’s more, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and the Poulsbo Marine Science Center offer biology and wildlife fans the chance to experience firsthand the many wonders of the Pacific fauna and flora.

Washington State Homeschool Laws

You’ve got two options if you’re planning to homeschool in Washington State: operating under the homeschool statute, or educating as extension program of a private school (also known as “umbrella school”).

If you go for the first option, you’ll have to submit an annual notice of intent with the superintendent of the public school district, by September 15 of each year. You’ll have to include information regarding your children and any (if any) private tutor you’re going to employ.

When it comes to the necessary qualifications, you’ll have to meet one of four criteria: either operate under the guidance of a certified teacher, have college credits, have completed a course in home-based study, or be deemed sufficiently qualified by the superintendent of the local school district.

You’ll need to provide at least 180 days or 1000 hours to children in grades 1-12, and 450 hours for kindergartners, and you’ll also be required to provide instruction in subjects including science, mathematics, language and social sciences.

Your children will have to be assessed annually either using standardized tests, or by a certified person in the field of education. The results of these assessments must be archived, but you won’t normally have to show them to anyone. Alongside the assessment results, you’ll also have to keep immunization records on your children.

Choosing to homeschool as part of an extension program of a private school basically involves the same curriculum and instruction time requirements, but the assessment procedure will be established by the respective private school.

Washington homeschool laws allow homeschooled children to take part in extracurricular activities and be enrolled part-time in the local public school, but they cannot benefit from public school special needs services if they’re homeschooled under an umbrella school – you’ll have to operate under the homeschool statute for your children to gain access to special needs services.

Washington State Homeschool Friendliness Grade

We’re giving it a C in terms of homeschool friendliness, mostly because the homeschooling in Washington State requirements are a bit more demanding than the average. However, they shouldn’t deter the serious and determined homeschooler – and if you’re one, you’re likely to find the legal requirements more sensible rather than absurd.

Conclusion

The Evergreen State is one of the most beautifully diverse states of the US, and you’re never short of educational things to do with your family. Your decision to homeschool will strengthen those child-parent bonds and will benefit your children’s academic success tremendously, if you do it right.

You shouldn’t be discouraged by the Washington State homeschool requirements – they’re more of a guideline than a constraint – and the vibrant homeschooling community is always there to help you. If you’ve got any questions about how to homeschool in Washington State, feel free to contact us anytime – we’re here for you, too!

Resources

Here’s a selection of websites that will help you homeschool in Washington State:

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/WA/ - the official HSLDA page has everything you need to know about WA state homeschool laws, as well as plenty of local news and information

http://www.washhomeschool.org/ - this statewide organization provides resources, support, and get-together opportunities for new and experienced homeschoolers alike

http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/current-policy/

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