An overview of the homeschool laws and regulations of Washington State, along with links to legislative source information, additional reference materials and government resources on homeschooling.
Summary of Washington State Laws Regulating Home-Based Education
Washington State Education Laws
Links below are to the online version of the Revised Code of Washington, to the sections applying to home-based instruction and compulsory education. As the text there is somewhat small, the relevant portions are here for your convenience. Do check the actual code to make sure that there haven’t been changes.
Note: RCW 28A.225.010(4) is the section that first refers to home-based instruction.
(1) All parents in this state of any child eight years of age and under eighteen years of age shall cause such child to attend the public school of the district in which the child resides and such child shall have the responsibility to and therefore shall attend for the full time when such school may be in session unless:
- (i) The child is regularly and lawfully employed and either the parent agrees that the child should not be required to attend school or the child is emancipated in accordance with chapter 13.64 RCW;
- (ii) The child has already met graduation requirements in accordance with state board of education rules and regulations; or
- (iii) The child has received a certificate of educational competence under rules and regulations established by the state board of education under RCW 28A.305.190.
(a) The child is attending an approved private school for the same time or is enrolled in an extension program as provided in RCW 28A.195.010(4);
(b) The child is receiving home-based instruction as provided in subsection (4) of this section;
(c) The child is attending an education center as provided in chapter 28A.205 RCW;
(d) The school district superintendent of the district in which the child resides shall have excused such child from attendance because the child is physically or mentally unable to attend school, is attending a residential school operated by the department of social and health services, is incarcerated in an adult correctional facility, or has been temporarily excused upon the request of his or her parents for purposes agreed upon by the school authorities and the parent: PROVIDED, That such excused absences shall not be permitted if deemed to cause a serious adverse effect upon the student’s educational progress: PROVIDED FURTHER, That students excused for such temporary absences may be claimed as full time equivalent students to the extent they would otherwise have been so claimed for the purposes of RCW 28A.150.250 and 28A.150.260 and shall not affect school district compliance with the provisions of RCW 28A.150.220; or
(e) The child is sixteen years of age or older and:
(2) A parent for the purpose of this chapter means a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody of a child.
(3) An approved private school for the purposes of this chapter and chapter 28A.200 RCW shall be one approved under regulations established by the state board of education pursuant to RCW 28A.305.130.
(4) For the purposes of this chapter and chapter 28A.200 RCW, instruction shall be home-based if it consists of planned and supervised instructional and related educational activities, including a curriculum and instruction in the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music, provided for a number of hours equivalent to the total annual program hours per grade level established for approved private schools under RCW 28A.195.010 and 28A.195.040 and if such activities are:
- (a) Provided by a parent who is instructing his or her child only and are supervised by a certificated person.A certificated person for purposes of this chapter and chapter 28A.200 RCW shall be a person certified under chapter 28A.410 RCW.For purposes of this section, “supervised by a certificated person” means: The planning by the certificated person and the parent of objectives consistent with this subsection; a minimum each month of an average of one contact hour per week with the child being supervised by the certificated person; and evaluation of such child’s progress by the certificated person.The number of children supervised by the certificated person shall not exceed thirty for purposes of this subsection; or
(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; or
(c) Provided by a parent who is deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district in which the child resides.
(5) The legislature recognizes that home-based instruction is less structured and more experiential than the instruction normally provided in a classroom setting.Therefore, the provisions of subsection (4) of this section relating to the nature and quantity of instructional and related educational activities shall be liberally construed.
Each parent whose child is receiving home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) shall have the duty to:
(1) File annually a signed declaration of intent that he or she is planning to cause his or her child to receive home-based instruction.The statement shall include the name and age of the child, shall specify whether a certificated person will be supervising the instruction, and shall be written in a format prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction.Each parent shall file the statement by September 15 of the school year or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with the superintendent of the public school district within which the parent resides or the district that accepts the transfer, and the student shall be deemed a transfer student of the nonresident district.Parents may apply for transfer under RCW 28A.225.220;
(2) Ensure that test scores or annual academic progress assessments and immunization records, together with any other records that are kept relating to the instructional and educational activities provided, are forwarded to any other public or private school to which the child transfers.At the time of a transfer to a public school, the superintendent of the local school district in which the child enrolls may require a standardized achievement test to be administered and shall have the authority to determine the appropriate grade and course level placement of the child after consultation with parents and review of the child’s records; and
(3) Ensure that a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education is administered annually to the child by a qualified individual or that an annual assessment of the student’s academic progress is written by a certificated person who is currently working in the field of education.The state board of education shall not require these children to meet the student learning goals, master the essential academic learning requirements, to take the assessments, or to obtain a certificate of mastery pursuant to *RCW 28A.630.885.The standardized test administered or the annual academic progress assessment written shall be made a part of the child’s permanent records.If, as a result of the annual test or assessment, it is determined that the child is not making reasonable progress consistent with his or her age or stage of development, the parent shall make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency.
Failure of a parent to comply with the duties in this section shall be deemed a failure of such parent’s child to attend school without valid justification under RCW 28A.225.020.Parents who do comply with the duties set forth in this section shall be presumed to be providing home-based instruction as set forth in RCW 28A.225.010(4).
The state hereby recognizes that parents who are causing their children to receive home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) shall be subject only to those minimum state laws and regulations which are necessary to insure that a sufficient basic educational opportunity is provided to the children receiving such instruction.Therefore, all decisions relating to philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing, and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent except for matters specifically referred to in this chapter.