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Parent Responsibilities, Rights and Other Laws Affecting Homeschoolers

By Mia Anderson

Part 5 of 5 in the series:  Knowledge is Power: Know Your Homeschool Law

This is the fifth, and last, in a series of articles discussing the Washington State laws that affect and regulate homeschooling. The more informed we are about the law and our rights, the more able we are to defend those rights.

While you are reading, remember that all laws are open to interpretation. Please be aware that what follows is one interpretation. We encourage you to take the time to read the RCWs presented here for yourself. They are available in numerical order on the web at.

RCW 28A.200 is the chapter of the law that addresses homeschooling, or home-based instruction specifically. This article will cover the second section of the homeschool law, RCW 28A.200.020, and other education laws that affect homeschooling.


Parent's Rights

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, which is included below (underlining is mine), 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.

"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."


Other Laws Affecting Homeschooling

There are several laws on the books that are referenced in the homeschooling law, such as teacher qualification, district transfers, and education reform. These laws do not normally impact homeschoolers directly. There are, however, two laws that will be of interest to many homeschoolers at one time or another.

RCW 28A.150.350, Part Time Students - Defined - Enrollment Authorized - Reimbursement for Costs - Funding Authority Recognition - Rules, Regulations, is the law that creates dual enrollment in the state of Washington. This simply means that your homeschooled child may take classes, benefit from services such as speech therapy, or participate in after school sports at the local public school without losing your legal homeschooling status and all the independence that goes with it. This law, and the accompanying administrative WACs (Washington Administrative Code), make it very clear that you, as a homeschooler, must be allowed to participate in any public school program, or take advantage of any service offered by the public schools for which your child would be qualified for as a full time student.

RCW 28A.305.190, Eligibility to Take General Educational Development Test, is the law that states that homeschoolers over the age of sixteen are eligible to take the GED.

It is our hope that this series of articles clearly describes the rights and responsibilities of homeschooling. Through understanding our rights and responsibilities, we are well equipped to be an advocate for ourselves, our children and homeschooling in general. The only way to maintain our homeschooling rights is to know what they are, and be willing to stand for them.

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