Homeschooling Kindergarten?

Email of the Day:
My daughter has an early fall birthday and I have been considering homeschooling her for kindergarten next year instead of taking tests for early admittance. I was reading somewhere that Washington state doesn’t count homeschooling for kindergarten to count towards being able to enter first grade the year following. I read that the child needs to be in a certified program for it to count.

I am a highly qualified certified teacher for the state of Washington. I have my k-8 certification and my masters degree in teaching. Being an educator, would my homeschooling her count as a certified program and therefore she could enter first grade the year following? Also for later years if I chose to continue, would I still need to check in with a certified teacher if I am one?

I think whatever you were reading was likely confused about how our law works.
There are a few elements at play here:

Generally, kindergarten doesn’t “count” because no child in WA has to attend school until the age of 8. Our compulsory attendance is from 8-18, plus children who are enrolled in school (if you enroll, you must attend, unless you formally withdraw).

However, when homeschoolers transfer into the public school, the public school is bound to follow the law, in this case RCW 28A.200.010(1) (b) “. . . At the time of a transfer to a public school, the superintendent of the local school district in which the child enrolls may require a standardized achievement test to be administered and shall have the authority to determine the appropriate grade and course level placement of the child after consultation with parents and review of the child’s records.”

Schools attempting to require students to have been in some kind of certified program (either a public school or a private school, as there are no homeschooling programs in WA — homeschooling is, by law, defined as “being provided by a parent educating his or her child only”) are running afoul of the law. Please let me know if your district is doing this, and we will set them straight. (This happens from time to time across our state and is easily remedied).

As to your second question, hiring a teacher to provide oversight is one of four ways to qualify to homeschool. You are more than qualified with over 45 college quarter credits to homeschool. That your degrees are in education are merely icing on the cake, so you neither need to be a teacher nor so you need a second teacher to qualify to homeschool.

I suspect that, like many of us, after you have a year or two under your belt, you’ll begin following the homeschool law when your daughter turns 8, and then all of a sudden you’ll end up going, “Holy Cow — how is it that this kid is graduating from homeschooling already? Where did the time go?” and you’ll look at how interested and interesting, how engaged and engaging your young adult is, and you’ll be glad you accidentally ended up homeschooling the whole way through. smile emoticon

Let me know if you have further questions.
Welcome to homeschooling — it’s a great journey!
~ Jen GS, Advocacy Chair