Washington Homeschool Laws and Regulations
The Washington homeschool laws and regulations* were adopted in 1985.
Age of Required School Attendance
In Washington State a child is required to be enrolled in and attend a public school from the age of 8 to the age of 18,
unless they are…
enrolled in and are attending a private school, or
enrolled in and are under the supervision of an “umbrella school” (a private school approved by the state that provides an extension program for a student to learn at home in their parents custody), or
attending an education center, or
physically and or mentally unable to attend school, or
enrolled in a school run by DSHS, or
in jail, or
temporarily excused by their parents and the school district, or
taking time off for faith, conscience, or an organized religious activity, for a maximum of 2 days, or
are 16 years of age, are employed, and have met graduation requirements or have received a certificate of educational competence.
The Washington homeschool laws only apply to children 8 years old and older, but if your child is under the age of 8 and has been officially enrolled in a public school you must formally withdraw the child in order to homeschool. (Keep in mind this is different from submitting a yearly Declaration of Intent to Homeschool, see below)
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding age requirement: Revised Code of Washington 28A.225.010 subsection 1 (a-f)
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding private school extension programs: RCW28A.195.010 subsection 4 (a-e)
Qualify to Homeschool
It is only legal to homeschool your own children, or those you have legal guardianship over, and in order to do so you must meet one of the following qualifications:
Have earned 45 college level quarter credit hours (30 semester credit hours), or
Have completed a course in home-based instruction at a post-secondary institution or a vocational-technical institute (click here to see more information about a course through edugreat.com), or
Are overseen by a certified person who meets with your child 1 hour/week, who supervises and evaluates your child’s educational progress, or
Are accepted by the Superintendent of your local school district as someone who is sufficiently qualified
Note: You are not required to provide proof to your local school district that you are qualified to homeschool.
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding qualifications: RCW28A.225.010 subsection 4 (a-c)
Submit a Declaration of Intent
Each year that you homeschool a child, who is over the age of 8, you must submit a Declaration of Intent.
WHAT: Click here to print off a Declaration of Intent in PDF format (this form was created by the Washington Homeschool Organization).
Or if you would like to create your own Declaration of Intent click here to see a sample of what information is required (this sample form is by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Washington).
You can also contact your local school district’s superintendent office and request a Declaration of Intent.
WHY: The purpose of a Declaration of Intent is to inform your school district that they are no longer responsible for the education of your child. It also protects you as a parent from any prosecution for keeping your child away from school without permission.
WHEN: File the Declaration of Intent on your child’s 8th birthday no matter what time of year it is. Never file a Declaration of Intent for a child who is under the age of 8. (click here to learn more) Every year after your child turns 8, until they are 18, you must send a Declaration of Intent to your local school district by September 15th, or within two weeks of a new quarter/semester/trimester.
WHO: The legal parent or guardian of the child(ren) is the only one who can legally fill out the Declaration of Intent. They must then send it to the Office of the Superintendent of their local school district. It is unlawful for a school district to refuse your Declaration of Intent as long as you qualify to homeschool in one of the four ways listed above.
Note: The law does not require you to meet with anyone from the district to announce your decision to homeschool or to file your Declaration of Intent.
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding Declaration of Intent: RCW.28A.200.010 subsection 1 (a)
Required Subjects and Hours of Instruction
Washington Homeschool Laws require that we teach 11 subjects as part of our homeschool curriculum.
- social studies
- occupational education
- art and music appreciation
You do not have to teach these 11 subjects separately, for instance a study on the Revolutionary War could include history, reading, writing, and social studies.
Note: You will not be required to show any proof that you teach all 11 subjects.
The Washington homeschool law requires that you teach an average of 1,000 hours per year for grades 1-12, which translates into 180 days. For Kindergarten the requirement is an average of 450 hours per year.
Note: You will not be required to show proof that you met the time requirement.
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding required subjects: RCW.28A.225.010 subsection 4
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding hours of instruction: RCW.28A.195.010 subsection 1
You have two options to fulfill the requirement to have your child tested once a year.
1. Have your child take a Standardized Achievement Test administered by a qualified person.
2. Have your child evaluated or assesed by a certified person.
Note: The test results from either option above do not need to be sent to your local school district. They are for your personal records only.
Click here to see a list of approved Standardized Achievement Tests (list by OSPI)
Click here to see a list of test providers in WA state
Interested in your child’s academic progress? If would like to be present during your child’s test and then be able to ask questions and get feedback you can have them take an Individual Assessment.
New to homeschooling? Identify your child’s skill level by having them take a Baseline Assessment for ages 6-17.
Is this your child’s first time testing? If your child is young and/or this is their first test it you can sign them up for an Abbreviated Assessment where they test in a small group in a non-timed, stress free atmosphere.
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding testing: RCW28A.200.010 subsection 1(c)
The purpose of keeping records is for your own personal benefit. If you ever choose to enroll your child in a public school they will ask to see your records. You can keep your records in any way that works for you. Your personal records should include,
Annual test scores or assessment reports
Vaccination records (students educated at home as part of a private school extension program, i.e. umbrella school, must present proof of immunization or exemption to the private school. Students who homeschool, and are not part of a public or private homeschool extension program, are not required to immunize. Records of vaccinations will only be asked for when and if a child plans to attend a public school after being homeschooled. Read my thoughts on vaccinating and homeschool here.)
Any other records relating to your child’s educational/instructional activities
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding personal record keeping: RCW28A.200.010 subsection 1(b-c)
Do It Your Way
The rest is up to you! You are allowed to determine your own curriculum, timing, books, teaching materials, philosophy, doctrine, activities, methods, etc..
*Read the Washington Homeschool Law regarding decisions left to the parent: RCW.28A.200.020
- Local school districts can not advertise to homeschool families about learning programs offered by the school district. (Washington Administrative Code 392-121-182 subsection 6-k)
- A child is a “part-time student” if they receive services from the school district but do not enroll in public school. This includes any child who participates in sports or music through the school district, or any child who uses a public school program to learn at home. (RCW28A.150.350 subsection 1-d)
- WA is one of 24 states that allows assessments as an alternative to testing. It is also one of 3 states (CO, WA, and NH) that requires testing but does not require submission of test results to a public school.
- WA state supreme court law protects the right of religious homeschooling families to train and homeschool their children in a situation where their religious beliefs would keep them from complying with state law.
- Family Academy is one of the largest private school extension programs in WA.