The Homechooling Police
If you’ve seen me speak about homeschooling in person, you’ve probably heard me joke that I am the homeschooling police in WA.
I am the person your friends, family, or neighbors write to when they want to nark on you and about how they think you’re doing a crappy job homeschooling. I even get calls from CPS, the cops, schools, etc. from time to time.
Most of the time, it looks like this:
I have a family member who has 3 school age children that she home schools. I am concerned because she hasn’t registered with any home school program and doesn’t do any testing to see what level the kids are at. Some weeks she only does school for an hour total.
I’m concerned because I know the kids aren’t getting the schooling they need and there is no one keeping them “on track”. Is there anyone I can report them to so someone can check on them?
Homeschoolers in WA are not permitted to register with a “homeschool program.” Those programs are for public school students. Homeschooling is defined, by law, as “being provided by a parent, educating his or her child only” between the ages of 8 and 18. It does not apply to public school students in “homelink” or “parent partnership programs” and it does not apply to any child under the age of 8 or over 18.
Homeschoolers between the ages of 8 and 18 have to test or assess annually. It is possible to homeschool all the way to graduation without having ever taken a test, because you can opt for an annual assessment instead.
As a close family member, you are the perfect person to help this family. My extended family helped homeschool my daughter (now an 18yo college junior) — as her grandparents,other family members, and friends thought of things they thought she’d benefit from, enjoy, or should know, they stepped up and asked to do those things (math, science, spelling, cooking, law, fishing to name a few). Sometimes it was for a season; sometimes for more than a year. What a gift you would be giving your family to do the same. I have cousins with 10 children and very involved grandparents — extended family is such a great resource, and you can have such a positive impact on these children.
Let me know if you have further questions.
–Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair