Part time homeschooling

Email of the Day:
I am a member of who and I am asking this question for a friend. She has a freshman daughter in highschool (Vashon) who seeks way more academic challenge in English and science. (She went to a private middle school with advanced academics.) I suggested she look into taking those classes as “independent study” with an on-line program. I was making a guess as to whether that was acceptable to Vashon high school. Is it legal to substitute core high school classes with online alternatives? Is the school responsible for facilitating the over-seeing of an independent study? Thanks so much for your advice!

Homeschoolers and private schoolers are guaranteed the right to attend school on a part time basis; the converse is not true. In the case of homeschoolers who transfer to a public school, the law says this about the school accepting credit: 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.”

Online programs like WAVA or CVA are public schools in WA. A student would merely enroll in the program, taking care not to exceed 1FTE between the two enrollments. Then it would just be a question of transferring credits from one public school to another.

There isn’t any reason a student couldn’t take a course from an online program that wasn’t a public school and transfer it to the school for credit. I would arrange it with the school in advance of embarking on such an endeavor (and get the agreement in writing). The homeschool law is silent on a school accepting independent study credit (it might, however, be covered in the public school law. I do not keep track of public school law that doesn’t apply directly to homeschoolers).

–Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair

Note: I answer folks’ questions without consideration of membership in WHO. We do appreciate your membership, though, and it helps our efforts in advocacy and outreach.