Homeschooling in Washington
Thursday, 13 May 2021

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Over twelve years ago, I was filled with excitement at the prospect of homeschooling my oldest child. Flowers and sunshine seemed to frame my vision of reading and learning together with her. Soon thereafter, however, anxiety set in. You see, I didn't own a computer, and I didn't know where to start. With all the unknowns ahead of me, I felt like I was carving out a new path.

We never want someone else to feel this way. Therefore, we work hard to equip you with knowledge and try our best to support you along the way. I pray this information about homeschooling in Washington will help you feel confident, supported, and equipped whether you are new to homeschooling, have relocated from another state, or want to review and share with a friend.

 

How Do You Legally Homeschool in Washington State?

 

Homeschooling in Washington is fairly easy, there are just a few things you should know. Children between 8-18 years old are required to attend school full time, either by a public school, private school or by homeschooling (home-based instruction).  Once your child is 8 years old you will need to meet one of the following qualifications:

 

  1. Meet one of the four qualifications to homeschool.
    1. Have earned 45 quarter units of college-level credit (or its equivalent, 30-semester credits)
    2. Be willing to meet with a state-certified teacher for at least one hour weekly
    3. Receive approval as an eligible home-based instructor from your local school's superintendent
    4. Complete a Washington state homeschool parent qualifying course

     

    Parent Qualifying Course

    You can complete a Washington state homeschool parent qualifying course (PQC) at a post-secondary or vocational/technical institute. Some of the state organizations also offer these courses.

     

    For your convenience, here is a list of some organizations that offer a Parent Qualifying Course.

     

    1. File a Declaration of Intent

    Each person whose child is receiving home-based instruction must file a signed declaration of intent. 

     

    You can obtain a Declaration of Intent form here:

     

     

    1. Fulfill the Requirements

     

    1. A standardized achievement test that is approved by the State Board of Education and administered annually to the child by a qualified person OR
    2. An annual assessment of the student's academic progress by a state-certified person who is currently working in the field of education

     

    The State Board of Education List of Approved Standardized Tests

     

    BJU Press Homeschool Testing and Evaluation Services

    BJU Press Testing & Evaluation offers the Iowa Assessments™ Form E achievement test online for grades K–12. Since an approved test administrator is provided by the Testing & Evaluation service, you can simply choose an adult to proctor the test in the comfort of your own home, no qualifications needed.

     

    You can also order printed test materials for Iowa Assessments™, CogAT®, Stanford, and OLSAT for your student and select a local administrator to test your child. 

     

    Ask a HomeWorks by Precept consultant for more details on these testing options.

     

    Keep Proper Records 

    In addition to submitting the annual declaration of intent to homeschool with your local school superintendent's office, it is advisable to keep other records on file:

     

     

    Other types of records can prove to be helpful if you decide to re-enroll your child in a public or private school, if your child would like to pursue post-high school education, or in case there are questions about your child's education. Such as, list of curricula, attendance records, tests and sample assignments, correspondence with school officials, etc.

     

    Preparing Your Teenager for Homeschool Graduation in Washington State

    Although Washington state outlines required subjects in Washington State's homeschool laws, to best equip your child for post-secondary education, you may find it beneficial to research graduation requirements for Washington public schools and contact any prospective colleges admissions offices to inquire about their specific entrance requirements. This information will help you plan your teenager's high school courses and graduation requirements. When your teenager has completed your graduation requirements, you can issue your teenager's homeschool diploma and complete your teenage graduate's transcripts. You are not required under the Home-Based Instruction Law to fulfil the requirements of the public or private school, but it can serve as a guideline if your child is college bound.

     

    Local Resources for Washington Homeschool Families

    With the growing number of homeschoolers in Washington also comes the added benefit of increasing homeschool support. Listed below are several ways you can connect with your local homeschool community.

     

    Interscholastic Activities and Services

    Students receiving home-based instruction have access to instruction through part-time attendance and ancillary services in public schools. (RCW 28A.150.350(2))

     

    WAC 392-134-005 defines an ancillary service: Ancillary services do not include regular courses, but rather, services such as testing, counseling, hearing, speech, health care, tutoring, sports, counseling, psychological services, and services for disabled children. To qualify to participate in interscholastic activities, a student must meet eligibility criteria determined by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). Please note that your child cannot participate in these services if you are homeschooling under a private school. Find more information about participation eligibility and ancillary services here.

     

    HSLDA offers Compassion Grants to homeschool families who qualify for help with diagnostic services, therapy, curriculum, or other educational materials.

     

    God often works through our service and talents to draw others closer to him, whether our gifts are in building, organizing, providing care, teaching, writing, singing, or creating. Through our service, we can spread the gospel message of love, faith, and forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and fulfill the biblical mandate to love others. 

     

    Homeschooling allows us greater flexibility to explore each child's unique interests and sharpen their talents. In addition to acting or dancing, you may want to explore other areas of interest like creating custom cakes, flying classes, construction courses, or more. As you discover your child's interests, ask your family, friends, members of your church, and your local homeschool group members for any ideas or program options that might help you sharpen your child's gifts and talents. You may be surprised to find what opportunities await!

     

    Social Media

    Social media can be a valuable support tool where you can connect with other homeschool parents and inquire about local support groups, co-ops, sports options, and more. Many local groups use social media platforms such as Facebook as their primary means of communication. You can find homeschool groups on Facebook by typing in the name of your area and the word "homeschool." For your convenience, here are a few Facebook groups that you may find helpful:

     


    Homeschooling in Washington State

    Special Homeschoolers of WA for Washington parents who are homeschooling children with special needs

     

    Washington Homeschool Co-ops

    A Homeschool Co-op is defined as a group of homeschoolers coming together in cooperation to provide educational and/or social activities for their children. If you choose to register your child in classes at a co-op, inquire about recordkeeping for credits, attendance, and grades.

     

     

    For your convenience, I included some links to a few co-op groups in Washington. You may locate more co-op groups in your area through your network of homeschool families or local Facebook groups.

     

     

    Washington Homeschool Groups

    Washington state has a variety of homeschool support groups throughout the state. These groups provide opportunities to socialize, learn, and connect with other homeschool families by offering activities such as field trips, mom meetups, monthly parent meetings, science fairs, and more. Here is a list to get you started in finding a homeschool group:

     

     

    Washington Homeschool Organizations

     

    Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington

    The mission, passion, and purpose of Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington is to equip parents to biblically disciple and educate their children at home. They offer events, instruction, training, resources, and support. They are also dedicated to protecting independent, parent-directed, home school freedoms in Washington State. 

     

    Annual Events

    Marriage Retreat

    Family Camp

    Homeschool Conference 

    Day at the Capitol 

     

    Christian Homeschool Network of Washington (CHNOW)

    The Christian Homeschool Network of Washington works with Washington State legislators and officials to protect and strengthen the rights of home-based educators. They offer events, instruction, training, resources, and support.

     

    Annual Events

    Christian Heritage Family Discipleship and Homeschooling Conference

     

    Washington Home School Organization (WHO)

    The Washington Homeschool Organization (WHO) is a statewide, non-profit membership organization. Its mission is to serve the diverse interests of home-based instruction in Washington State. They offer instruction, training, resources, and support.

     

    Additional Support and Resources 

     

    AHE (Academy of Homeschool Education) 

    A grading and record service provided by BJU Press Homeschool

     

     

    Learn more about AHE >>> here.

     

    Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

    HSLDA offers supportive information and resources, legislative advocacy, and legal representation benefits. Click >>> here <<< for more information on HSLDA. 

     

    If you are a member of HSLDA, you can access and download the following forms on their website:

     

    In Conclusion

    Over the years, I have enjoyed the time homeschooling has allowed me to spend with my children. I am also grateful that I have been able to help my children develop a solid foundation in Jesus Christ through the biblical integration that BJU Press Homeschool so expertly intertwines throughout every subject. Along with an educational tool at your fingertips that is woven with God's word and a solid foundation of academics that fulfills the requirements of your state's homeschool laws, my prayer is that the valuable information and resources shared above will help you feel confident as you homeschool in Washington.

     

    I cannot underestimate how helpful the support, advice, and encouragement from those who understand and have lived out the challenges and enjoyments of homeschooling have been to me over the years. Consequently, I am thankful for each of the HomeWorks by Precept consultants who passionately serve the homeschooling community by encouraging, praying with, and helping others who homeschool. And since each consultant has used the BJU Press Homeschool curriculum, they can pull from their experiences to help with any questions that arise throughout the year. Click here to locate a HomeWorks by Precept consultant near you.

     

    Click here to watch a short video about how HomeWorks by Precept consultants can help you. 

     

    *The list of resources and links is provided as a courtesy and does not imply endorsement by HomeWorks by Precept. We encourage you to research the philosophy and practices of programs and organizations before deciding on participation. 



    Meet the Author


    Yvonne Strachan - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant
    www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Yvonne-Strachan
    Author of Inspirational Homeschooling: www.inspirationalhomeschooling.com