Washington Homeschool Law

Overview of Home-based Instruction Laws

As a state organization we are expected to protect the homeschool law, but what exactly does that mean? When we say “don’t touch our homeschool law” or “protect the homeschool law” what exactly does that mean? This document is an overview of the homeschool law and related laws. We hope this document will help inform others as to what is the homeschool law and which laws effect homeschooling.

While much work has been done to pass or amend laws to allow home education so have laws been passed or amended to also protect our interest such as allowing district transfers, enrollment in Running Start, etc. But we should not confuse these laws with the laws that allow for home-based instruction. While our number one responsibility is to protect the homeschool laws we should also make every effort to protect our interests also.

These two laws allow for home-based instruction in Washington State, enacted into law in 1985 and are considered the home-based instruction law.

I. RCW 28A.200. This is the home-based instruction law and describes duties of the parents; DOI form instructions, record keeping, and testing.

II. RCW 28A.225.010 This part of the compulsory attendance law authorizes home-based instruction, describes HBI, and qualifications of a parent.

ALSO RCW 28A.195.010 allows for homeschooling under a private school extension program, also passed in 1985 with the home-based instruction law.

RCW 28A.200.010 Home-based instruction — Duties of parents. 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 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.655.061 and 28A.155.045. 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).

RCW Chapter 28A.200.020 Home-based instruction –Certain decisions responsibility of parent unless otherwise specified. 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.

RCW Chapter 28A.225.010 Attendance mandatory- Age- exceptions (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:

(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:

(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.

(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.

RCW 28A.195.010 This law allows an option for parents to homeschool who need to use a certified teacher to qualify to homeschool or have decided they need more support. See the CHN web site for more information on this option.

Other Laws Related to Home-based Instruction

RCW 28A.150.220- Program hours for private schools.

RCW 28A.150.262- Digital learning programs (virtual schools) allow part-time attendance for home-based students. Full disclosure form required before enrollment.

RCW 28A.150.350- Allows for part-time attendance in public schools for home-based students.

RCW 28A.225.015- Specifies how to withdraw a child ages six and seven years old from the public schools to homeschool (passed 1999)

RCW 28A.225.020- School’s duties upon child’s failure to attend school, truancy.

RCW 28A.225.220 and 225- District transfers allowed for home-based students.

RCW 28A.305.190- Home-based students are eligible to take the GED.

RCW 28A.410- Teacher Certification- for home-based students using a certified teacher.

RCW 28A.600.300- Running start program.

RCW 28A.655.061- Education Reform Act of 1994, home-based students exempt.

Washington Administration Code:

WAC 180-52-070- Tests for home-based students.

WAC 180-95 General educational development (GED) test

WAC 392-121-182- Alternative Learning Programs.

WAC 392-134- Part-time attendance

WAC 392-169- Running Start Program

Prepared by the Christian Homeschool Network www.chnow.org © 2007 CHN all rights reserved. Permission to copy and distribute if copied in its entirety, or contact chnow@msn.com If you support the work of the Christian Homeschool Network, please join us at http://www.chnow.org/id14.html This information is not intended to be and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. Before making any decisions that could affect the legal status of your homeschool program contact Home School Legal Defense Association www.HSLDA.org for advice.

Option I: Independent Homeschooling
Option II: Homeschooling under Private School Extension Programs