Last Mom Standing (RS questions)

Email of the Day:
Hello . Regarding the RS program in WA, I have been told students are eligible up until age 21. My son is a sophomore now. I am unsure weather or not he’ll be ready next year for RS program, as it’s college level work. A friend told me that, if I do not give him a diploma, even at 18, which will technically be after his Sr year, I may StiLL enroll in RS for 2 free years of college? I was only hoping to delay 1 year. I appreciate your time, as I am the ONLY homeschool high school mom remaining from our co op.


The short answer is “probably not.”

The rules about doing Running Start after 18 make it very difficult for homeschoolers to do this, because the older students are circumscribed to taking only the courses that would help them graduate from the local public highschool, and it’s hard for homeschoolers to make that case.

In general, you’ll get no pushback being a 16-17yo junior and a 17-18yo senior, but being older or younger (unless you can make a case based on birthdate that you held him back to be an older-than-average student) . . . generally . . no. Your friend is right that you don’t want to graduate him early (because the qualification for being a RS student is to be a junior or senior).

A couple of notes: You don’t have to take a full load in Running Start. You might have him take just a course or two the first quarter to see how he does. You could maximize his experience without endangering his GPA (which will follow him to uni). The placement test do a reasonable job of putting kids in the right courses (and letting you know if yours is ready for college work); most public school kids leave RS well shy of the 90 credits (max) that you can theoretically take over the 6 quarters. We were surprised to find this out when my daughter went to uni and wanted to transfer from the dorm to the apartments (qualification: be a junior), and they said, “But you’re not a junior, you did RS,” and she said, “Yes, I know — I walked in here with over 90 credits and was a junior when I came in the door.” They apparently had never seen a RS student who was 18 and a junior walking in. So it’s not at all atypical for students to do RS on a part time basis.

You can also always do just the one year. It’s not as “great a deal” as doing two, but if he’s ready and gets into it, it’s a year’s worth of tuition that you didn’t pay, and a good success record if he wants to transfer to uni.

Sorry not to have been the bearer of better news. My other advice would be to buckle down on maths and English this year in preparation for possibly doing RS next year.

~Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair

PS: I would call myself “Last Mom Standing”! 🙂 We need to make you a T-shirt!
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