DofI FAQ

Posted by Jen Garrison Stuber

DofI FAQ:

Q: My child is 8. When is the DofI due?
A: On the 15th of September each year.

Q: It’s early August, should I turn in my DofI early?
A: No. It’s due mid-September (on the 15th). Turning it in early isn’t helpful for you, and it’s not helpful for the school district, which is in utter chaos at the beginning of the school year.

Q: My child is [4, 5, 6, or 7] years old, should I turn in a DofI?
A: No. No child under 8 should ever be included on a DofI. Compulsory attendance does not attach until your kidlet is 8, unless they’re enrolled in school, then it attaches at 6 and 7.

Q: So if my [5, 6, or 7 year old] kidlet was enrolled previously in school and I withdrew h**, then I should file a DofI?
A: No. Once you withdraw a 5, 6, or 7 year old from school, they revert to being educationally free. File the DofI when *he turns 8.

Q: But the school is insisting that I have to file a DofI for my <8yo who was previously enrolled?
A: This is a common misconception held by school officials who are not very familiar with the homeschool law. Children under 8 are never included on a DofI.

Q: But what about my 5, 6, or 7yo who is enrolled part time?
A: Children under 8 are never included on the DofI. Children under 8 who are enrolled in school on a part time basis are educationally free and are at the school on a part time basis voluntarily. They are not under the compulsory attendance law, and therefore are never included on the DofI.

Q: My youngest is turning 8 this school year, can I just throw h** on the form at the beginning of the school year with the other ones. I’m outnumbered, there’s no way I’m going to remember to add that one later in the year.
A: Sure — go for it. You have the option to wait until h** birthday, but do whatever is easiest.

Q: Mine turns 8 in the fall, can I just turn in the DofI on the 15th of September when everyone is reminding us to do it?
A: Sure — go for it. You have the option to wait until h** birthday, but do whatever is easiest.

Q: Mine turns 8 in late spring. Do I file a DofI then? Can I wait until the following 15 September?
A: Here’s what the law says: “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 or the district that accepts the transfer” (RCW 28A.200.010(1)(a)).
You have until the beginning of the new term to file your DofI, which, for a late spring birthday, would be 15 September of the new school year.

Q: My school district says they *only* accept Declarations of Intent “within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester.” Does that mean I have to wait until then to spring my kid from school?
A: No. The law does not allow the school to hold your kidlet hostage. Formally withdraw your kidlet from school and send the DofI in the post, certified mail with a return receipt requested, and go on your merry way.

Q: Wait — I can send the DofI in the mail? I usually walk it in.
A: Absolutely. For that matter, I generally recommend it over walking it in. The law does not allow schools to market to homeschoolers by sending things in the mail, but it does not prevent them from doing so when you voluntarily show up in person. This is why a lot of school districts are asking people to send their DofIs to their PPP or ALE program — so they get you there and can talk to you about enrolling in public school. Occasionally, these offices represent their programs as being homeschooling, and lead people to believe that that’s the only way to homeschool (when it isn’t homeschooling at all).

Q: But what if I want a copy of my DofI for my records/for getting educator discounts?
A: You can simply print yourself a copy. Alternatively, you can send in two copies and an SASE, thereby making it EXTREMELY easy for the district to stamp and return your copy.

Q: Is there any circumstance under which you might file a DofI for a student over 18?
A: Yes, if your student is still in Running Start at that point in time.

Q: What is a DofI?
A: It’s the Declaration of Intent to Provide Home-Based Instruction.

Q: Where can I get a DofI?
A: We keep one here: WHO Declaration of Intent

~Jen

Read more Q&A here.