Ok, you are considering homeschooling but you have no idea where to start.
Here are the steps and resources. We hope you find them useful.
We highly recommend first becoming a member of HSLDA. Pulling kids out of school is when parents have the most legal challenges. HSLDA will represent them if the schools go after them. Plus, HSLDA will tell them exactly how to pull them out. HSLDA will not represent people who aren't members.
Second step is to make sure at least one parent qualifies to homeschool. Or they can enroll as an extension of a private school. (See resources below)
Third, file an "Intent to homeschool" with their local school district. Get this form from HSLDA, not from the school district.
Fourth, teach subjects required by WA state law.
Fifth, teach kids for 180 days or 1000 hours.
Sixth, test their kids annually.
Washington provides two legal options under which parents may homeschool. After choosing the option you wish to use, follow the steps listed below it.
Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statute
1. Meet the teacher qualifications. You must be qualified to operate a homeschool program by either:
instructing only your child and being supervised by a certificated person (i.e., the certificated person and the parent together plan the educational objectives; the certificated person has a minimum average of one contact hour per week with the child; and the certificated person evaluates the child’s progress); or
instructing only your child and having either 45 college quarter credits or the equivalent in semester credits (approximately 30 semester credits, since one quarter credit equals two-thirds of a semester credit); or
instructing only your child and having completed a course in home-based education at a postsecondary institution or a vocational-technical institute (these courses generally do not require an extensive time commitment); or
instructing only your child and being “deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district.”
2. File a notice of intent. You must annually file a signed declaration of intent to homeschool by September 15 or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester. File with the local superintendent or with the superintendent of a nonresident district that accepts the homeschool student as a transfer student. The declaration must include the name and age of your child, specify whether a certificated person will be supervising the instruction, and be written in a format prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction. HSLDA has a declaration of intent form available for our members’ use, which you can find below. 3. Teach for the required number of days. You must teach 180 days per year, or average 1,000 hours per year. 4. Teach the required subjects. Your homeschool curriculum must include occupational education, science, math, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music. 5. Conduct an annual assessment. You have two options for the required annual assessments. The results of the assessment do not need to be submitted to the public schools but must be retained as part of your child’s permanent school record. The assessment options are:
Ensure that a standardized test approved by the state board is administered annually to your child by a “qualified” person (i.e., anyone qualified by the test publisher to administer the test), or
Have your child evaluated by a certificated person.
To learn more about types of annual assessments, visit our Testing and Evaluation page.
Option 2: Homeschooling with a private or denominational school
1. Enroll as an extension program of an approved private school. Approved private schools are permitted to allow families to operate their homeschools as extension programs of the school. You will need to locate an approved private school that allows extension programs and enroll your child in that school. The best way to determine if a school accepts extension students is to visit the school’s website or contact the school directly. 2. Comply with the private school’s requirements for its extension programs.
There are six parts to the law in Washington.
It looks complicated, but in practice, to fulfill the requirements, once a year you have to write a letter to the school and do some testing.
The law applies to ages 8 and up, you need to make sure you qualify to teach your child (and that’s an easy fix if you don’t qualify,) you have to tell the school system that you’re homeschooling, you have to teach certain subjects, and you have to do some testing and keep records (pretty straightforward.)
Completed a course in home-based education.
The law pertaining to qualifying courses, 28A.225.010(4) states: …if such activities are: (b) Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and who has either earned forty-five college level quarter credit hours or its equivalent in semester hours or has completed a course in home-based instruction at a postsecondary institution or a vocational-technical institute;
Alternative Courses: Prices vary.
Whatcom Community College:
Great Resource Websites
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