8th Birthday Late in the School Year

Email of the Day:
If my child turns 8 in the spring, do I have to file a Declaration of Intent and test them, or should I wait for the following school year?

So . . . there’s a couple of different ways to read the law . . .

RCW 28A.200.010(1)(a)” [Homeschool parents have the duty to] 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 15th 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”

You could read it that, if, after the child’s birthday, there isn’t another beginning of a semester etc., that you can wait until the following September to file, and thus also wait to test.

In general we encourage folks to file on the child’s birthday, because the declaration does two things: it relieves the school of their burden to educate your child and it provides you with protection from a charge of truancy.

It the birthday is in May or June, as the school year is wrapping up, I wouldn’t sweat it. If it’s in March or April . . . I’d probably declare for the reasons above.

As to the testing: the testing has two purposes: 1) to let you know any deficits so that you can remedy them and 2) to help a public school place your child in the event of a transfer to the public school. With those two things in mind, it seems reasonable to forgo testing a child whose 8th birthday is late in the “school year,” because you haven’t formally homeschooled them that year, and don’t (technically) have anything to test for. One presumes, if you’re filing late in the year for an 8yo, that you’re planning to homeschool the second year, and that the second use is not of concern, either.

~Jen G.S., Advocacy Chair