The Evergreen State public education system ranks in the top 25% in the nation, based on test scores and other factors. The state also recognizes the right of parents to homeschool their children. Thanks to Washington homeschooling laws, parents in the state are blessed with two excellent educational options they can consider when choosing the best fit for their particular family.
Test scores in fourth and eighth grade mathematics are just over 4 points above the national average. SAT scores are also above average. High school graduation rates on the other hand are about average – just tenths of a percentage point higher than the national norm. Based on their fine performance on academic tests, as well as other factors, Washington’s public school ranking according to Alec.org is 12 out of 51 nationwide.
Washington homeschooling laws and requirements give two options for parents to homeschool their children. They can operate under the homeschool statute, or the alternative homeschool statute, in which homeschoolers operate as an extension of a private school.
Under Washington homeschooling laws, parents must teach a planned program of curricular instruction that includes twelve required subjects. The hours of instruction must be “equivalent” to that required for private schools. The parent must have at least 30 credit-hours at the college level or else a course in home based education. Alternatively, according to WA homeschool requirements the parent may be supervised by someone with a teaching certificate or be “deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district.” Parents may instruct their own children only.
Each year under Washington homeschooling laws, parents must sign and file a declaration of intent. The deadline is September 15 “or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester”. According to WA homeschool requirements, it must be filed with the superintendent of the district of which they are a resident, or else with the superintendent of a district which then accepts the student as they would a transfer student.
To fulfill WA homeschool requirements, every year, parents must evaluate their students’ progress. Standardized tests must be administered every year by a “qualified” person. The results are not required to be submitted to the schools, but the parents must keep them in the permanent record for each child.
Under WA homeschool requirements parents have the final say in matters “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”.
Parents can also fulfill WA homeschool requirements by operating as an extension of a private school. Private schools can set up extension programs for homeschooling families. Students enrolled through the extension program are considered students of the private school. Teacher qualifications are considered to fall under the “supervised by someone with a teaching certificate” option, who must also evaluate progress each year.
Under Washington homeschooling laws, school districts may not market to homeschoolers. Homeschoolers are thus preserved from unsolicited offers of digital learning programs, part time enrollment, or other public school programs.
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