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Homeschooling Gains Ground In Washington

  There are now 1.9 - 2.5 million home-schooled students in the United States. And this year, over 16,000 children are homeschooled in Washington state.

Parents give many different reasons for homeschooling their children: religious or moral convictions, for instance, or concerns about safety in the public school environment. Dissatisfaction with the academic standards of public schools is another reason cited by some parents.

Ross Reynolds spoke with Amy Leonard, who is the vice chair of the Washington Homeschool Organization and is also homeschooling her six children.

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Callers said that despite the challenges of homeschooling their kids (schedule changes, meeting state requirements, and financial sacrifices), there are many benefits: You can spend more time with your kids, teach them at their own learning pace and give more personal attention to your child’s education.

According to Amy Leonard, here are some important things to keep in mind if you are thinking of homeschooling your child in Washington:

  1. You must file a declaration of intent to provide home school instruction every year once the child turns eight.
  2. You are required to give your child a standardized achievement test approved by the state board of education or an assessment of the student's academic progress every year as well.
  3. You are required to teach a curriculum that includes 11 subjects:
    • science
    • mathematics
    • language
    • social studies
    • history
    • health
    • reading
    • writing
    • spelling
    • occupational education
    • art and music
  4. Parents can qualify to be homeschool instructors for their kids in one of four ways:
    • Complete a parent qualifying course in home-based instruction.
    • Complete 45 college-level quarter credit hours or the equivalent in semester hours.
    • Be qualified by the superintendent of the district in which the student lives.
    • Be supervised by a certified teacher.

If you are interested in homeschooling your child in Washington, more resources can be found on the Washington Homeschool Organization website.