Washington State Laws
The information below is derived from Washington State’s Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE LAW
1. Parents qualify to teach their own children one of several ways:
A. Supervised by a certificated teacher with contact a minimum of one hour per week
B. The parent has earned 45 quarter college credits or its equivalent.
C. Parent has taken a course in home-based instruction provided by a post-secondary institution or vocational/technical school.
D. Parent is deemed qualified by the superintendent of the district they live in.
2. Parents must file a declaration of intent annually for all children between the ages of 8 and 18.
It is to be filed with the superintendent of the school district in which the students reside by September 15 or within two weeks of the beginning of any quarter, trimester, or semester. Contact your local school district's superintendent's office for their letter of intent form.
The state law says the declaration document you complete must:
A. Include the child's name and age (NOT birth date).
B. State if a certificated teacher will be supervising the work.
C. Use the format prescribed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
3. There are 11 subjects you are required to teach your children, beginning at age 8:
Reading, Mathematics, Science, Writing, Health, Occupational Education, Language, Social Studies, Appreciation of music and art, Spelling, History.
4. Home school instruction shall be for the number of hours established for approved private schools.
For grades 1-12, this is an annual total average of 1,000 hours. Home-based instruction is recognized by the legislature as being less structured and more experiential than classroom instruction. Hours outside the "normal" school day may be included in the total hours.
Washington State Requirements for public high school credit can normally be found on the website for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Due to the current health issues, this information is not available at this time.
5. Annually ensure that a student's educational progress is evaluated by:
A. Standardized achievement test approved by the State Board of Education (list is in the state laws booklet), administered by a qualified individual, OR
B. Non-test assessment is to be written by a certificated person currently working in the field of education.
C. Click here to learn more about testing options.
FAQ's ABOUT STATE LAWS
Where do I get a copy of the laws?
The OFFICIAL publication, "Washington State's Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction" is available here from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Every homeschooling family should keep a current, official copy of the law and know what it says.
To supplement the information provided above, visit Christian Homeschool Network of Washington (CHN). CHN is the legislative liaison to Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington and the state liaison to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). CHN provides information on laws and legislation affecting homeschooling freedoms. It also advocates at the capitol in Olympia for independent homeschool freedoms and parental freedoms to guide the upbringing of their own children. Please consider supporting them financially with a membership to their organization.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) also has a legal summary of Washington State laws.
Where do I get and file Declaration of Intent forms?
If you intend to homeschool a child who is between the ages of eight and 18, you will need to visit your local school district office and complete a Declaration of Intent form. By completing the declaration you are informing the school district that your child(ren) will be educated at home. This protects you from being in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and a potential fine.
Declarations are due by Sept. 15 each year, but are accepted at any time. NOTE: State homeschooling laws require that the parent list the name and age (NOT birth date) of the child(ren). If you are having a certificated teacher supervise their work, indicate this on the form. Write your address, and then sign the form. State law also does NOT require you to indicate how you are qualified to teach your children.
Once you've completed the form at the school district office, be sure you receive a copy of for your files. The form has three parts and you'll usually receive a yellow carbon copy.
Where do I get a copy of the Opt Out Notice?
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives guidelines under which school districts must operate concerning the release of personal student information contained in the Declaration of Intent form. Submitting this notice along with your Declaration of Intent to Homeschool "opts your family out" of any directories or release of personal information.
PARENT QUALIFYING COURSE:
To comply with Washington State Laws Regarding Home-Based Instruction, the instruction of children ages 8-18 shall be home-based if it is:
"Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and who has either earned forty-five college level quarter credits or its equivalent in semester hours or has completed a course in home-based instruction at a post-secondary institution or a vocational-technical institute..." [RCW28A.225.010(4)(b)]
Parent Qualifying Courses Providers:
Carrie Patterson Salmon Creek Learning Center (local)
Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington (online and onsite
ANNUAL TESTS & TEACHER-REVIEWED ASSESSMENTS
Parents of children between the ages of eight and 18 receiving home-based instruction 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." [RCW 28A.200.010 (3)] The list of approved tests is in the Washington Home-Based Instruction Laws.
"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 (3)]
"It is the responsibility of the parent to sign up, have children tested and keep those records on file. The test results do not need to be turned in to school districts or officials. If the child ever transfers to a public or private school, copies of the records are to be forwarded to the institution." [RCW 28A.200.010(2)]
Click here to learn more about testing options.
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR STUDENT PROGRESS
It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to help their children improve: "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(3)]