Homeschooling and the “Eleven Required Subjects”

By Janice M. Hedin
For the Homeschoolers of WA
All emphases are mine


The Eleven Required Subjects and Hours of Instruction

To discover all the ways a parent can meet the mandatory attendance law in Washington, look up RCW 28A.225.010. On May 21, 1985, home-based education was added to the list of schooling choices (see option 1.b). Therefore, when a parent has met the qualifications to homeschool, their status under the mandatory attendance law is equal to that of public and private schools. Subsections (4) and (5) define what the legislators and homeschoolers agreed to concerning required subject areas and hours of instruction:

Subsection Four: “For the purpose 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 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:”


Subsection Five: “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.”

The above wording is similar to the law governing Washington approved private schools. Even though in 1985 homeschoolers and legislators used the private school law as a model to craft this wording, homeschoolers are not under this same subject/time constricted method. Many parents feel compelled to homeschool in the same manner as done in public and private schools because we ourselves were taught with the same structure and restrictions,

During the development of our homeschool legislation, we were careful to word the law so it respected the parents’ right to determine how (the nature) and how long (the quantity) of instruction should occur in their homes. We wanted to assure parents that they were NOT obligated to duplicate the public and private schools’ methods, styles or approaches to learning, but to ensure that they had the liberty to determine what works best for their own children.

Therefore, it is essential for parents to understand the content of the following paragraph from Washington’s Home-based instruction law, 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 shall be the responsibility of the parent except for matters specifically referred to in this chapter.

The inclusion of this painstakingly-crafted portion of our law was crucial so parents could discern the difference between public, private and homeschooling. As stated, our home-based instruction law gives parents complete authority in all decision-making concerning homeschooling their children.

In the early 1990’s fourteen homeschool families contributed to the compilation called “The Eleven Required Subjects, Resources that Work”. Taking each of the subject areas into consideration, families shared what they found was successful and what they would recommend to other homeschoolers. Although dated, parents can still benefit from a glimpse into how unique homeschool families are and the wonderful freedom we have to educate our own children in Washington state.

Janice M. Hedin
For the Homeschoolers of WA
All emphases are mine

Samples of How to Cover the 11 Required Subjects