CPS Threats

Email of the Day:
My daughter is 7 and we are new to homeschooling. We haven’t done much because of personal issues going on this school year. My daughter’s counselor is threatening to call CPS if I don’t show her I am
1. Having her doing 4 to 5 hours of some type of curriculum,
2. Enrolled in a public school or
3. Being homeschooled by someone else.
Can I really get in trouble by CPS because we aren’t doing much right now because life is in a huge crappy transition? HELLP!!!!!!

Answer (there were a few back and forth questions, and then I wrote this letter for the parent to use):

Under WA law (RCW 28A.225.010) compulsory attendance is from age 8 to age 18. Children under the age of 7 re not required to attend public school, private school, or to be formally homeschooled: (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.

Once a child is 8, the parent must enroll him or her in public school, private school, or begin homeschooling. Homeschooling in WA is narrowly defined as being “provided by a parent, educating his or her child only,” (RCW 28A.225.010(4)); it is thus inappropriate to suggest that a parent hire someone else to perform this duty. This occasionally arises as many people are confused about the difference between homeschooling in WA and the myriad of public school programs offered by the state, many of which take place in the home. Although they are similar, in that the children’s education takes place at home, these are public school programs and are not homeschooling under WA law.

Within the framework of covering the 11 subjects, the state specifies 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.225.010(5)). Moreover, RCW 28A.200.020 states that “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.”

~Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair