“Washington has never had a good homeschooling law,” according to Helen of Washington State. “What it has is a good homeschool climate, but that’s a very fragile thing.”
Homeschooling parents in some states have faced arrest for failing to notify school district officials or file appropriate forms. However, Helen further said:
“For what it’s worth, we helped write, re-write, lobby for, and pass Washington’s homeschooling law, but because we did not agree with the stringent accountability measures which ended up in the law against our best efforts to derail them, we never filed a single declaration of intent for any of our five always unschooled kids.”
Homeschool requirements in Washington boil down to basically two things:
- File a Declaration of Intent to Homeschool form.
- Meet testing requirements (See unschooling-friendly testing services).
Washington State Homeschool Laws, At Length
Washington State law requires homeschooling parents to file an official Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-Based Instruction form with the superintendent of their school district by September 15th of each year for children ages 8 to 18. The Washington Homeschool Organization provides a downloadable Declaration of Intent form (pdf). Otherwise, parents can obtain the form from the superintendent of the local school district (Seattle School District Superintendent).
The parents of “home-based instruction,” aka homeschool, students in Washington State must meet certain requirements. The Declaration of Intent form asks if the child to receive home-based instruction will be supervised by a person “certificated in Washington State.” A parent is “certificated,” or qualified to homeschool, if they meet any one of the following four requirements.
- A certificated teacher will supervise the child (an average of at least one-hour contact per week between teacher and child).
- The parent has either earned 45 college level quarter credit hours or the equivalent in semester hours.
- The parent has completed a parent qualifying course in home-based instruction at a post-secondary institution or a vocational-technical institute.
- The superintendent of the school district has otherwise deemed the parent qualified.
Washington state law also requires homeschoolers to test annually, which can take various forms ranging from checklist to standardized test to in-person assessment.
Homeschool Legal Violations in Other States
Richard and Margy Cressy of Glen, NY in Montgomery County were arrested for failing to register their four children for homeschooling with their local school district as required by the state of New York. Two Indiana mothers recently plead guilty to educational neglect after removing their sons from school even though they notified school officials of their intent to homeschool.
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