Hi friends! Well, I’m now adding homeschool mom to my resume. It’s been on my heart for a few months, and we’ve finally decided to take the leap. I’ve done a deep dive into all the rules and laws associated with homeschooling legally and wanted to share what I’ve discovered. Here is all the info about Homeschool requirements and laws for Washington State.
Washington State Homeschool Laws
Depending on the sate in which you live, the requirements will vary. Make sure to find out your particular state rules. This is the homeschool requirements for Washington, since I live in Spokane.
This will be the first in a year long mini series on homeschooling my two children. I’ll be sure to share monthly updates on how things are going, the curriculum we’re using, what we love and don’t, and the general ups and downs of this new journey!
I’ve ordered the majority of our school curriculum, and filed a withdrawal letter to remove Tyrion from the public school system.
Let’s get started covering what you need to know!
Compulsory age, meaning the required age by law that a child must be enrolled in a form of education in Washington state is eight years old. You read that right! If you didn’t want to do any traditional educating of any kind before the age of eight in Washington it’s completely legal. (I’m not recommending this, just stating the law.)
However, things change if under the age of eight, your child has been enrolled in public education. If your child has attended public school and you now choose to homeschool, you must formally withdraw them from school. You will need to submit a withdrawal form. Here is one that is a great option:
Homeschool Requirements for Washington State
In order to homeschool in Washington state, you need to meet one of four requirements:
1. Partner with a professional that is certified to teach.
This option is the least desirable in my opinion. This would require you (or your spouse) to meet with the certified professional of your choice one hour a week to make sure you’re on track with your child’s learning and school curriculum requirements.
I feel confident enough in what we’re doing that having to check in with someone would be bothersome and time consuming. However, If you have more concerns and like the idea of a check and balance, this option may work well for you.
2. Have at least 45 quarter college credits or 35 semester college credits.
If you have either one of those you are considered qualified to homeschool.
3. Take a qualified home base education course
These courses can be fairly easy to find. The Spokane Area Homeschool Community group on Facebook posts when some of them happen. And also, here is a list of current instructors that offer Parent Qualifying courses.
4. Deemed able to teach by the superintendent in the district in which you live.
Not sure what a superintendent would require for this option, but considering most superintendents wishes are for your child to attend the public school system, I’d consider this one of the last options I would take.
File a DECLARATION of Intent
You must file a declaration of intent on your child’s eighth birthday, or the date you withdraw them from public school. From there on out, each year you will again, file a declaration of intent before September 15th, or at least two weeks before the fall classes start.
Included on the declaration of intent must be:
- The childs name and age
- The parents name
- Your address
- And if you’re using a certified teacher, you must also include their name
Those are the only things required by law to be on the intent form. Turn it into the superintendents office of the school district your child would be enrolled in.
The letter of intent essentially prevents you from being prosecuted for your child not attending public school. It also protects the school from the responsibility of teaching your child.
Washington State Homeschool Required Subjects
In Washington state, the required subjects are:
- social studies
- occupational education
- music appreciation
Please don’t get overwhelmed by this list! There are so many books and curriculum that incorporate several of these subjects. Also, subjects like history, health, art, and more can be done together as a family. Find out the curriculum we’re using in this post here!
An example of incorporating several subjects: Your child reads a book about the solar system. This satisfies their science and reading. You also have your child write their favorite paragraph from the book and draw a picture of the solar system and that satisfies their writing and art!
Record keeping/Day requirements
You are required to teach for 180 days a year, or an average of 1,000 hours.
Keeping records are required by law, even though you don’t have to submit them annually. Records are important for graduating or if your child wants to pursue higher education. It’s also important to have if someone was to report you to CPS with the complaint you weren’t educating your children. Sad, but apparently it’s known to happen. Read about our 4 day a week homeschool schedule hour by hour here.
Annual child assessments
You are required to have your child annually assessed (after age 8).
There are a few options:
You can do a standardized test like the school does. Your child can also attend the public school annual testing.
You can pick a different test from a list of approved test that you can have administered in different ways. Some require you to use a certified teacher. Some testing websites act as the supervisor and you can proctor the test to your own child.
There you have it, the nuts and bolts of homeschooling in Washington State.
I can’t wait to share more of our journey in the coming months! Make sure to follow along on Instagram where I jump into stories all the time and talk about what’s happening on the daily.
I also encourage you to check out my post a few months back on Homeschool resources for Preschool and Kindergarten age kids. I did preschool at home with both kids, and ended up doing half a year of kindergarten at home with Tyrion when Covid hit. I’m also a homeschool graduate myself so this isn’t anything too new for me!
What other questions do you have about homeschooling in Washington or homeschooling in general? Drop them in the comments!