How to Homeschool in Washington: 2024 Unbiased Guide

Looking for an unbiased homeschool resource that doesn’t have a hidden agenda? You’ve come to the right place to learn how to homeschool in Washington.

To homeschool in Washington, a parent or guardian should become familiar with the state’s homeschooling laws and regulations. Families must decide on a curriculum that fits their needs and be prepared for the self-discipline required to maintain a robust academic schedule.

Home helping homeschooled daughter

How to Homeschool in Washington

Homeschooling in Washington is regulated by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). In order to homeschool your child in Washington, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Notify the school district in which you reside that you will be homeschooling your child. This can be done through the OSPI’s Homeschool Notification Form or by submitting a written notification to your school district.
  2. Provide your child with a basic education that includes the subjects required by state law. These subjects include reading, writing, math, science, social studies, health, and physical education.
  3. Keep records of your child’s homeschooling activities, including attendance records, lesson plans, and examples of your child’s work.
  4. Have your child tested or evaluated at least once every two years. This can be done through a nationally standardized achievement test or through a professional evaluation by a certified teacher or other qualified professional.
  5. Submit an annual assessment report to the OSPI. This report should include the results of your child’s testing or evaluation, as well as a description of your child’s homeschooling program.

It’s important to note that homeschooling laws can vary by state, so it’s always a good idea to check with your state’s education agency for the specific requirements in your area.

Homeschooling with a private tutor

Free Washington Homeschool Programs

Homeschooling families in Washington State can benefit from the incredible range of programs tailored to their needs, such as online classes and printables, along with more specialized options like workshops and field trips. With these resources, parents can create curriculums that best suit their child’s learning.

Homeschooled children can enjoy fun and educational events throughout the year.

Washington offers a plethora of excellent free homeschooling programs, allowing children to thrive in their education from the convenience of home.

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction can provide parents with extra help for homeschooling their child.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is an invaluable resource for homeschooling parents, offering the latest information on laws in Washington, as well as webinars and articles to help guide you.

Between 2019 to 2020, the percentage of homeschooled students changed from 3.4% to 9%.

Does Homeschool Have to be Accredited in Washington?

Washington doesn’t require homeschools to be accredited, although there are some benefits that come with having accreditation, such as access to college programs and extracurricular activities.

Homeschools in Washington can demonstrate the standard of their curriculum and ensure students have access to future opportunities by achieving accreditation from a recognized institution.

Becoming accredited is not necessary, yet there are advantages when homeschools decide to obtain accreditation.

67% of the homeschooled students successfully graduate from college.

Washington Accredited Homeschool Programs

To be accredited, homeschools must provide proof of enrollment and attendance, keep track of grades, have a supervising teacher with at least a high school diploma, administer state-approved standardized tests annually, and stay current with mandated curricular changes.

Private schools must outline their compliance with laws in their admission policies to remain legally compliant regarding mandatory attendance.

Parents have the option to provide their kids with an accredited education from home through homeschooling.

Boy at home studying

Create a Designated Learning Place

Homeschoolers should have a specific area set aside for learning, to help establish a daily routine and provide an environment where their child can concentrate on schoolwork.

A dining table is an ideal spot for studying. It’s easily cleared off at the end of each day which allows it to be used for eating as well.

You can also provide your child with their own desk in their bedroom for added privacy and the opportunity to decorate it. Whatever you decide, be sure to create an environment that helps them focus on learning.

Over 300 million students were homeschooled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay On Track with a Daily Schedule

Sticking to a daily schedule for homeschooling has many advantages; here are some of them:

  • Establishing a daily routine can help homeschoolers prioritize tasks, complete more in less time, and improve productivity. Families with multiple students or other outside commitments may particularly benefit from this strategy.
  • Effective time management begins with planning. A daily schedule makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done and when, and prevents feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Allocating specific blocks of time to tasks can help your family stay organized.
  • Homeschooling can provide a sense of structure and regularity, especially beneficial for kids accustomed to attending a traditional school. This can make them feel safer and more prepared to learn.
  • Families can benefit from daily schedules to stay accountable and meet their homeschooling objectives. This is important for those who tend to be easily distracted or delay their tasks.
  • Having a daily schedule in place can facilitate better communication among family members, helping to avoid misunderstandings and building a stronger bond between them.
Homeschool Calendar

Ease Into It

Homeschooling for new parents can be a big shift, so it’s crucial to not apply excessive pressure from the start. It is best to ease into this transition and move forward at a steady pace.

Homeschooling parents can begin with just a few basic supplies and then build on their resources as they get more confident with the homeschooling process.

When it comes to homeschooling, there are numerous options, so you should find one that works best for your family. Don’t be afraid to venture out and experiment with different techniques; the less stressed you feel, the more successful your learning experience is likely to be.

Regardless of the educational level of their parents, homeschooled students score between 80% and 90%.

Involve Your Child in Setting Learning Goals

Involving your child in homeschool assignment planning and curriculum scheduling is important for several reasons:

  • Offering students a sense of importance and ownership in their education will provide them with motivation and boost engagement.
  • Involving them in the homeschool process will help them feel that they are part of it, rather than it being done to them.
  • Getting your child involved in the homeschooling decision-making will give you a better understanding of their likes, talents, and shortcomings; allowing you to modify the learning environment to better accommodate them.

Generally, having your kid involved in homeschooling planning is key to a successful experience for everyone.

Mom and children looking at a globe.

Explore Other Ways of Learning Outside the Classroom

Homeschooled kids have an advantage as they can explore many educational possibilities not found in a regular school. This helps them gain a diverse range of knowledge and experience, resulting in a more comprehensive education.

In many cases, homeschoolers benefit from strong connections in the community. These relationships can open doors to new learning opportunities, such as classes and workshops taught by experts or members of the community.

Parents who homeschool their children should seize these chances to broaden their kids’ education.

Homeschooling families can give their children a very enriching education by exploring different learning techniques.

Children learning at a museum

Reach Out to Other Homeschool Families

Homeschooling can be difficult, especially for families without a support system. Luckily, there are various ways to make connections with other homeschoolers and build a community. One way is by connecting with local homeschooling organizations.

Homeschool groups can provide emotional support, practical advice from experienced homeschoolers, and opportunities for field trips and social interactions.

Joining an online forum or Facebook group is an excellent way to network with other homeschool parents.

Joining a parenting group can be helpful for exchanging resources, asking questions, and obtaining advice from parents who have the same experiences.

Making connections with other homeschooling families can help parents lessen the feeling of isolation and build a supportive environment for their kids.

When educated at home rather than in public schools, boys do 44% better on reading examinations.

Can Homeschooled Students Play Sports in Washington?

Washington state allows home-educated students to play sports at school if they meet the criteria set by the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).

If a student is homeschooled through a private school, they must go through the part-time enrollment process in order to join interscholastic sporting activities.

The WIAA acknowledges the rising popularity of homeschooling amongst families and is dedicated to giving students the option of engaging in sports if necessary.

Therefore, the WIAA has established rules on how homeschooled students can join sports teams.

These rules guarantee that all students have an equal chance to compete fairly.

Homeschooled boys playing soccer

How to Homeschool When Both Parents Work

Washington parents who opt to homeschool their children have to be creative with balancing work and school, as it is a difficult task.

With some ingenuity, it’s possible to work and homeschool at the same time. Let’s examine some pointers to help you achieve it.

Prior to February 2020, just 68% of parents who had homeschooled their children said it had been a success.

Get Your Childcare Involved

Some parents are lucky enough to have assistance in homeschooling while they’re away at work due to childcare.

When it’s not achievable or budget-friendly for all households, one should think outside the box to devise a plan that fits everyone’s needs.

Boy doing schoolwork

Delegate Chores

Involving your children in household tasks is an effective method to reduce the strain you may be facing between work and homeschooling. It also provides them with an opportunity to learn about responsibility.

It’s prudent to be mindful of your child’s abilities. A five-year-old probably won’t be able to do the laundry, but they can lend a hand with things like dusting or laying the table.

As they age, give your children more chores. By involving them in household tasks, you can reduce your work while teaching them essential life skills.

Before the epidemic, 69% of homeschooled children expressed a desire to continue their studies in this manner for the upcoming school year.

You and Your Spouse Work Alternate Shifts

Balancing homeschooling with both parents working can be difficult, especially if you and your partner have alternating shifts. Here are some strategies to help make it work:

  • It’s important to organize your week in advance by creating a schedule that includes all of your work hours and other responsibilities. This will help you plan effectively for homeschooling.
  • Make use of online materials: Utilizing online components like lesson plans, videos, and virtual excursions can be a great way to supplement your kid’s schooling when you are not able to be with them in person.
  • Be flexible with your homeschooling: If your daytime commitments don’t make 9 to 3 schooling feasible, think outside the box. For instance, you can do lessons at night or at the weekend. Or, break up the day into shorter chunks of time for educational activities.
  • Ask for assistance: Don’t be scared to look for support when you need it. This could involve employing a tutor or nanny to aid with home-based instruction while you are busy, or requesting the aid of relatives and friends.
  • Homeschoolers should be aware that it’s okay to take breaks. Finding a balance between work and homeschooling will help ensure that commitments are met on both fronts.

Homeschooling can be a tricky task if both parents are working. But it can be done with the right amount of planning and creativity, making it an enriching experience for the whole family.

Girl doing schoolwork on the computer

Take Advantage of Online Curriculums

Homeschooling is a great option to personalize your child’s education, yet it can be difficult to fit work and school into one schedule. To make it easier, why not opt for an online curriculum?

Structured learning programs can assist your child in their development and ensure concentration while you are away.

Furthermore, online learning can be tailored to your child’s individual requirements, making it convenient to discover a course that suits their distinctive learning approach.

In their children’s upcoming academic year, 54% of parents who were homeschooling before February 2020 were likely to do so full-time.

Assign the Child Solo Activities to Do While You’re at Work

Parents in Washington who teach their kids at home must find ways to keep their children entertained while they are working. One way is to assign independent curriculum projects.

Tasks such as reading assignments, research projects, and math and writing exercises may be included.

It’s essential to select activities that are suitable for your child’s age and skill level.

If your child attends childcare, ask your provider to remind them to complete their homeschooling tasks daily.

Proper planning can help your child become independent and accomplish tough tasks during the workday.

Homeschooled girl doing school work

Allow Yourself Flexibility and Grace

Balancing a job and homeschooling can be difficult for parents, so it’s vital to give yourself some leniency and kindness while managing these duties.

Striving for perfection is an unattainable goal that can lead to disappointment. Focus on the successes, no matter how small, and congratulate yourself on your achievements.

Keep in mind that your kids are observing you, and will take after you. By displaying a positive outlook and openness to change, they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Balancing work and homeschooling can be difficult, but it also presents an excellent opportunity to impart valuable lessons to your children. Show them how to be adaptable and graceful in any situation, setting them up for victory down the line.

The typical cost of homeschooling is between $350-$750 per year for the parent(s).

Washington Homeschool Curriculum Requirements 

Parents of homeschooled children in Washington have the freedom to select their own curriculums, but state laws do require instruction in major academic areas like:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Physical education

Homeschooling gives families a lot of freedom when it comes to how they want to teach. For instance, they can specialize in certain topics or teaching methods.

Homeschooling can be an effective way to educate Washington’s children as parents are able to customize the curriculum according to the needs of their individual children.

Parent writing a letter of intent to homeschool

Letter of Intent to Homeschool in Washington

In Washington, parents who wish to homeschool must file a Letter of Intent with the local school district. This lets them know that the parent intends to homeschool their child.

Submitting the Letter of Intent on time each year is essential to avoid any penalties.

The Letter of Intent should include details about the child’s education, including the names of their teachers and what curriculum will be followed.

Submitting a Letter of Intent guarantees that parents are adhering to state regulations and that their child will have access to a superior education at home.

The federal government saves $24 billion in taxpayer money thanks to homeschooling.

Is the Washington Homeschool Curriculum Free?

More and more Washington families are turning to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. Cost is one of the main worries for these homeschoolers, yet fortunately, there are plenty of free curricula and resources that can be found online.

A quick online search will yield a wide range of free homeschool resources, from lesson plans to worksheets and even full educational packages.

Homeschooling families can often benefit from discounted or complimentary memberships at educational institutions.

Investing some time and energy, you can source all your homeschooling requirements without overspending.

Older girl sitting holding a jar of money

How Much Does It Cost to Homeschool in Washington?

In Washington, homeschooling costs an average of $550 annually, covering the cost of curriculum, textbooks, and more. However, this sum does not include any money spent on extracurriculars or field journeys. Families that opt for homeschooling in Washington may also join a co-op to gain access to further educational resources.

Cooperative learning programs provide homeschooled students with classes and activities at a discounted price compared to private schools.

Homeschoolers often utilize free services like online courses, library classes, and community activities.

Due to the diverse needs and resources of families, the cost of homeschooling in Washington varies substantially.

A safe environment was cited as the main motivation by 50% of parents who homeschool their children.

How Many Days Are Required for Homeschool in Washington?

According to the State of Washington, all school districts are required to offer students instructional hours totaling at least 1,080 hours for grades nine through twelve, and 1,000 hours for grades kindergarten through eight. This average is calculated district-wide, across all grades.

These requirements ensure that all students in the state of Washington have access to quality education.

A consistent schedule will help the child to develop good habits, such as time management and planning skills.

It will also allow the child to have a routine that he or she can depend on.

In addition, a structured schedule will ensure that the child receives a well-rounded education.

The state of Washington requires that homeschooled students receive instruction in English language arts, math, science, and social studies.

By following a consistent and structured schedule, parents can be sure that their child is receiving instruction in all of the required subject areas.

Homeschooling months of the year

Washington Homeschool Record Keeping 

As a homeschooler in Washington, it’s important to keep records of your student’s educational progress. These records can come in handy if you ever need to prove to the state that your child is receiving a quality education.

Additionally, having records can help you track your child’s progress and identify any areas where they may need extra help.

There are a few different ways to keep homeschool records in Washington. One option is to maintain a portfolio of your child’s work.

Another option is to keep attendance records and grades for each subject. Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to keep detailed and organized records.

Here are some things that are important to keep a record of during the homeschooling years:

  • Test results
  • Samples of your student’s academic work
  • Documentation of the type of curriculum being provided to your child
  • Dialog with state and/or school officials
  • Attendance records

A good rule of thumb is to save these records for at least two years or longer if required.

By taking the time to do this, you’ll ensure that you’re meeting all of the state’s homeschooling requirements and giving your child the best education possible.

Test results, extracurricular activities, and socialization were mentioned as reasons for homeschooling by 14% of the parents.

Washington Homeschool Graduation Requirements 

The state of Washington does not have a specific homeschooling requirement in place for a student to graduate. Graduation standards are set by the parents as the facilitators of their child’s education. Once the student accomplishes the expected milestones set forth by the parents, they will graduate.

HS diploma

Washington Homeschool Diploma 

For homeschooled students in Washington, earning a diploma can be an even greater accomplishment. Homeschooled kids don’t have the structure of a regular school schedule, so they have to be self-motivated and disciplined to do well. A high school diploma is a symbol of hard work and dedication.

Earning a diploma shows that they have what it takes to set goals and achieve them.

In addition, a diploma for Washington homeschoolers can open up new opportunities, such as colleges and scholarships.

For homeschooled students, a high school diploma is an important milestone on the road to success.

How Does a Homeschooled Student Get a Diploma?

Parents in Washington who homeschool their children have the unique opportunity to be the sole provider of their child’s high school diploma. This means that they get to decide what criteria must be met in order for their child to earn the diploma.

Of course, parents will want to ensure that their child meets all the necessary requirements for graduation, such as taking required courses and passing exams.

However, they also have the freedom to tailor the curriculum to their child’s interests and learning style.

As a result, homeschooled students often emerge with a well-rounded education that prepares them well for success in college and beyond.

Before COVID-19, 42% of parents said they wished their kids had more freedom to pursue their hobbies.

Are Homeschool Diplomas Valid?

The homeschooling movement has been growing steadily recently, as more parents opt to educate their children at home. While homeschooling can provide a number of benefits, there is one potential drawback: homeschool diplomas may not be as recognized by colleges or employers.

Some institutions may require additional testing or coursework for homeschooled students, so students should be prepared to take some tests to show their level of academics.

It’s not uncommon at all for homeschooled kids to be more academically advanced than their peers who attended a public school, so in the long run, homeschoolers are quite capable of holding the advantage.

However, it is important to note that homeschool diplomas are becoming increasingly common and should be accepted by most colleges and employers.

As of February 2020, at least 9 million Americans had been homeschooled at least once.


Although the information in this article was researched with the utmost integrity and sincerity, it cannot be held legally liable or expected to take the place of legitimate legal advice for your specific situation.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering their educational options. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.