State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in Washington and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Summaries and Explanations of Washington Homeschooling Laws
Homeschool Laws
A complete summary of the home-based instruction law in Washington.
Record Keeping
Record keeping is often overlooked in conversations about the homeschool law because it is an easily met requirement, and seems to have no great impact. And yet, the very fact that we compile and maintain our children's records, and store them in our homes, is one of the strongest indicators of how truly independent homeschooling is from public or private education in Washington State.
Parent Responsibilities, Rights and Other Laws Affecting Homeschoolers
The second section of this chapter, RCW 28A.200.020, is titled, "Home-based Instruction - Certain Decisions Responsibility of Parent Unless Otherwise Specified." This section of the law is our declaration of independence from the traditional educational philosophy of the "professional educator," and freedom from oversight of a private or public educational institutions. It is a broad description of the parent's rights which make homeschooling the independent, parent directed and controlled process that it is.
Declaration of Intent
RCW 28A.200 is the chapter of the law that addresses homeschooling, or home-based instruction specifically. The first section of this chapter, RCW 28A.200.010, is titled, "Duties of Parents." It delineates, as you may have guessed, the responsibility of the homeschooling parent not already outlined in the mandatory attendance law. This article deals with the first duty listed, the declaration of intent.
Testing and Compliance
Annual testing is never overlooked in conversations about the homeschool law, and is often the cause of heated discussion. Because testing is such a contentious issue, this article closely examines the law.
Homeschooling and the WASL
Are my homeschooled kids required to take the WASL? This article answers all your questions regarding testing and homeschooling in the state of Washington.
Part-Time Enrollment
A look at the section of the statutes that regulate home education dealing with part-time enrollment of homeschooled children.
Home-Based Instruction Regulations
Washington State's Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction "Pink Book" is provided by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. It is their interpretation of the laws governing home-based instruction.
Mandatory Attendance
The mandatory attendance laws are where homeschooling, or home-based instruction, is designated as an educational choice and criteria are set.
Washington Home School Laws from HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in Washington. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in Washington.
Washington Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
Home School Laws from HSLDA
Find the laws pertaining to home education for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
RCW 28A.305.190 Eligibility to take general educational development test.
The state board of education shall adopt rules governing the eligibility of a child sixteen years of age and under nineteen years of age to take the general educational development test if the child provides a substantial and warranted reason for leaving the regular high school education program, or if the child was home-schooled.
RCW 28A.150.350 Part time students
... (d) "Part time student" shall mean and include: Any student enrolled in a course of instruction in a private school and taking courses at and/or receiving ancillary services offered by any public school not available in such private school; or any student who is not enrolled in a private school and is receiving home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010 which instruction includes taking courses at or receiving ancillary services from the local school district or both; or any student involved in any work training program and taking courses in any public school, which work training program is approved by the school board of the district in which such school is located ...
RCW 28A.225.010 Attendance mandatory -- Age -- Exceptions.
(1) All parents in this state of any child eight years of age and under eighteen years of age shall cause such child to attend the public school of the district in which the child resides and such child shall have the responsibility to and therefore shall attend for the full time when such school may be in session unless: (a) The child is attending an approved private school for the same time or is enrolled in an extension program as provided in RCW 28A.195.010(4); (b) The child is receiving home-based instruction as provided in subsection (4) of this section; ...
RCW 28A.200.020 Home-based instruction -- Certain decisions responsibility of parent
The state hereby recognizes that parents who are causing their children to receive home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) shall be subject only to those minimum state laws and regulations which are necessary to insure that a sufficient basic educational opportunity is provided to the children receiving such instruction. Therefore, 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 except for matters specifically referred to in this chapter.
RCW 28A.200.010 Home-based instruction - Duties of parents - Exemption from high school assessment requirements
(1) Each parent whose child is receiving home-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) shall have the duty to:
(a) File annually a signed declaration of intent that he or she is planning to cause his or her child to receive home-based instruction. The statement shall include the name and age of the child, shall specify whether a certificated person will be supervising the instruction, and shall be written in a format prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction. Each parent shall file the statement by September 15th of the school year or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with the superintendent of the public school district within which the parent resides or the district that accepts the transfer, and the student shall be deemed a transfer student of the nonresident district. Parents may apply for transfer under RCW 28A.225.220;
(b) Ensure that test scores or annual academic progress assessments and immunization records, together with any other records that are kept relating to the instructional and educational activities provided, are forwarded to any other public or private school to which the child transfers. 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; and
(c) Ensure that a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education is administered annually to the child by a qualified individual or that an annual assessment of the student's academic progress is written by a certificated person who is currently working in the field of education. The state board of education shall not require these children to meet the student learning goals, master the essential academic learning requirements, to take the assessments, or to obtain a certificate of academic achievement or a certificate of individual achievement pursuant to RCW 28A.655.061 and 28A.155.045. The standardized test administered or the annual academic progress assessment written shall be made a part of the child's permanent records. 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.
(2) Failure of a parent to comply with the duties in this section shall be deemed a failure of such parent's child to attend school without valid justification under RCW 28A.225.020. Parents who do comply with the duties set forth in this section shall be presumed to be providing home-based instruction as set forth in RCW 28A.225.010(4).
WAC 180-52-070 Approved standardized tests for use by students receiving home-based instruction.
(1)(a) Pursuant to RCW 28A.200.010(3), the state board of education will provide a list of examples of standardized achievement tests that a parent may use to assess and determine whether their child is making reasonable academic progress. (b) Tests on the list are approved by the state board of education on the basis that they are standardized achievement tests. (c) Parents may use a standardized test that does not appear on the list of examples if it has been evaluated by a test evaluation organization recognized by the state board of education and cited on the state board web page. (d) Parents may contact the state board of education office for assistance in determining if a test of their choosing that is not on the list of examples is standardized. (2) The list of examples of standardized achievement tests shall be: (a) Made available on the web page of the state board; (b) Included in the following publication of the office of the superintendent of public instruction, "Washington's State Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction;" and (c) Provided on request. (3) The list of examples of standardized achievement tests on the state board web page may not be changed without prior approval of the state board of education.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."
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