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The Washington homeschool law and regulations were adopted in 1985.
Age of Required School Attendance
The state of Washington requires your child(ren) to attend school from the age of 8 to 18 years old. Legal schooling options include:
- public school
- private school
- an umbrella school
(see legal reference 1)
NOTE: The Washington homeschool law only applies 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 your child in order to homeschool. Keep in mind this is different from submitting a yearly Declaration of Intent to Homeschool (see below).
(see legal reference 2)
NOTE: A child is considered 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.
(see legal reference 3)
If You Need To Withdraw Your Child
If your child is currently attending public school than you need to officially withdraw them before beginning to homeschool. Contact your child’s school and ask if they have a specific withdrawal form for you to fill out.
Or you can write a letter that includes the following,
I [your name] hereby formally withdraw [your child’s name] from [name of child’s school], effective [the date you wish to withdraw your child].
Make sure to sign and date your letter. You can then mail it in or take it in person. If your child is 8 years or older you will need to file a Declaration of Intent that same day in the superintendent’s office. If the child is younger than 8 years then wait until their 8th birthday to submit the Declaration of Intent.
You may withdraw a child from public school at any time during the school year.
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 1 of the 4 following qualifications:
45 college level quarter credit hours (30 semester credit hours)
Are overseen by a certified person who meets with your child 1 hour/week, to supervise and evaluate your child’s educational progress
Acceptance by the Superintendent of your local school district as someone who qualifies to homeschool
Note: You are not required to provide proof to your local school district that you are qualified to homeschool.
(See legal reference 4)
Submit a Declaration of Intent
The Washington homeschool law requires that each year that you homeschool a child, who is over the age of 8, you must submit a Declaration of Intent.
What Is A Declaration of Intent?
Click here to print off a Declaration of Intent that you can fill out and send in (form 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 to include (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 Do I Have To Send A Declaration of Intent?
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 by the state for keeping your child away from school without permission.
When Do I Submit My Declaration of Intent?
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 Fills Out A Declaration Of Intent?
The legal parent or guardian of the child is the only one who can legally fill out the Declaration of Intent.
Where Do I Send A Declaration Of Intent?
You must send it to the Office of the Superintendent of your 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.
(See legal reference 5)
Hours of Instruction
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 this requirement.
(See legal reference 6)
The Washington Homeschool Law requires that you teach the following 11 subjects as part of your homeschool curriculum,
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.
(See legal reference 7)
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 assessed 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.
Standardized Achievement Tests
Click here to see a list of test providers in WA state provided by Washington Homeschool Organization.
Evaluations or assessments can be done by any certified teacher or educator in Washington state who is currently working in education. There are a few different options if you chose to have your child evaluated or assessed.
An Individual Assessment is an evaluation of you child’s academic progress, parents are welcome to be present during their child’s test and to ask questions and get feedback afterwards.
A Baseline Assessment is for students new to homeschooling this test will identify the child’s skill level (for ages 6-17).
An Abbreviated Assessment is a first time test for young children who have never tested before which is done in a small group, in a non-timed, stress free atmosphere.
(See legal reference 8)
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 must include,
Annual test scores or assessment reports
Any other records relating to your child’s educational/instructional activities
(See legal reference 9)
Do It Your Way
The rest is up to you! The state of Washington allows you to determine your own curriculum, timing, books, teaching materials, philosophy, doctrine, activities, methods, etc..
(See legal reference 10)
Immunization Laws For Washington Homeschoolers
The state of Washington does not require homeschoolers to immunize unless they are part of a public or private homeschool extension program.
The state of Washington will only ask to see your immunization records if you choose to enroll your child in a public school. Students educated at home as part of an umbrella school must present proof of immunization or exemption to that private or public school.
- Extension programs for Private Schools: RCW28A.195.010 subsection 4 (a-e).
- Required Age of Attendance: Revised Code of Washington 28A.225.010 subsection 1 (a-f).
- Definition of a part time student: RCW28A.150.350 subsection 1-d).
- Parent Qualifications: RCW28A.225.010 subsection 4 (a-c).
- Declaration of Intent: RCW.28A.200.010 subsection 1 (a).
- Hours of Instruction: RCW.28A.195.010 subsection 1.
- Required Subjects: RCW.28A.225.010 subsection 4.
- Testing: RCW28A.200.010 subsection 1(c).
- Record Keeping: RCW28A.200.010 subsection 1(b-c).
- Decisions left to the parent: RCW.28A.200.020.
This summary is for informational purposes only and is not given as legal advice. HomeschoolStateLaws.com does not endorse any of the links or organizations listed above.