WA Homeschool Requirements

Meanwhile, out on the Washington Post:

There are a lot of academic requirements for homeschoolers in Washington state. Curriculum must be approved, there must be pacing guides, monthly progress notes, and a lot of specifics regarding grade-level topics and subject matter that must be covered. Then there are the state proficiency tests which still apply to homschoolers. Now of course, not all families do their part or do it right, and sometimes I wonder just how much power the state truly has to enforce any of it. But I have heard of one story of a family that was required to send their kids back to public school because the kids weren’t passing the state proficiency tests

Reply: This is not accurate.

I think you’ve conflated public-school-at-home programs in WA state (of which there are many, including online virtual academies, “homelink” and other parent partnership programs, and other alternative learning experiences) with homeschooling in WA (which is defined as being provided “by a parent, educating his or her child only”).

Homeschoolers in WA have to qualify, declare intent, cover the 11 subjects over the course of their homeschooling, test or assess annually, and keep certain records. They do not have to get curriculum approved (this is something that is true of public-school-at-home programs, but not homeschooling in WA), they do not have pacing guides, monthly progress notes, or specific grade-level and subject matter that must be covered. The law actually specifies that “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 instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent.” Likewise, homeschoolers in WA must do an annual test or assessment, but it is not a state proficiency test; those, again, are for public school students.
The law specifies, for homeschoolers, that “if, as a result of the annual test or assessment, it is determined that the child is not making reasonable progress consistent with his or her age or stage of development, the parent shall make a good faith effort to remedy any deficiency.” WA does not force homeschoolers back into public schools on the basis of their annual testing or assessment — we don’t even turn those scores in to anyone.


–Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair