Washington is the only state that requires homeschooling parents to have at least some college, take a home instruction course, be supervised by a certified person, or be deemed sufficiently qualified by the local superintendent.


Washington is located in the western United States. This state legalized homeschooling, also known as home-based instruction, in 1985. Washington allows two types of homeschooling – the traditional parent-directed homeschool model, and homeschooling under the “umbrella” of private schools where homeschool families operate as an “extension program” of the school.


Parents in Washington choosing to homeschool their children, ages 8 to 18, must file an annual declaration of intent with the superintendent of the local (or other) district. Washington’s instructional requirements are in hours, and parents are expected to provide “equivalent” hours required for private schools. Washington requires a minimum of 180 days of instruction and the following broad subjects covered: basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and developing an appreciation of art and music. Otherwise, instruction is at the discretion of the parents.

Parents must meet several other requirements to homeschool their children. Parents can only homeschool their own children, and they must either: (1) be supervised by a “certified person” who helps them plan and goal set a minimum of one hour a week, (2) have at least 45 hours of college credit, (3) have completed a home instruction course at a post-secondary institution, or (4) be deemed “sufficiently qualified” by the local superintendent.

There is also an annual testing requirement. An annual assessment of academic progress written by a “certificated person who is currently working in the field of education” can also be used to meet the annual progress requirement.

Washington offers broad access for all students to public school offerings like sports, courses, and other opportunities for learning. Multiple pathways to access for nonpublic schooled students are made explicit by statute. For example, district schools must provide access to courses to all students including those homeschooled. Further, there are no course or funding limits for access. It is uncertain if all homeschooled students are eligible for special education services offered by the state. It appears that some students enrolled part-time in public schools may be eligible, but it is unclear if more traditional, fully homeschooled students qualify.

State Data

Washington publicly reports annual homeschool participation. For example, in 2000, around 20,000 students were homeschooled. In 2019, just prior to the pandemic, there were still 20,000 homeschooled students in the state, and peaked at nearly 40,000 in 2020. By 2021-22, participation dropped to 32,00. Washington also disaggregates participation data by district, county, and family. They are one of only a handful of states that report by family, which is particularly interesting when we consider data from the U.S. Census.

A bar chart showing homeschool rates in Washington from 2000 to 2023, with rates fluctuating slightly from 2000 to 2019, spiking in 2020, and then decreasing in 2021 and 2022.

U.S. Census estimates indicate that around 6.6% of Washington families homeschooled in the spring of 2020 and increased to 8.1% by the fall of 2020. Those percentage increases seem modest, given the trends for student enrollment in the chart below. More recent U.S. Census surveys, from the 2022 and 2023 school years, indicate that an average of 4.5% of Washington K-12 students were homeschooled during this time.

Download Homeschool Hub State Data

Cross-Sector Comparison

During the 2019-20 academic year, 1.66% of Washington’s K-12 students were homeschooled. Homeschool participation in the state was lower than the 7.5% of students attending private schools but higher than the 0.25% of students attending charter schools. In 2021-22, 2.65% of Washington’s K-12 students were homeschooled, 8% attended private schools, and 0.37% attended charter schools.

A pie chart showing home, charter, private, and traditional public school percentages in Washington in 2021-22

School Choice Context

In addition to homeschooling, parents in Washington have multiple school choice options. These include enrollment in traditional public schools through inter- and intra-district choice, private, limited charter, and virtual schools. There are no private school choice programs in Washington, and funding is not available to homeschooled students.


Washington has some of the most restrictive homeschooling regulations in the nation. Homeschool parents must have either attended college or received district superintendent approval to teach students and receive weekly supervision of a homeschooling parent by a “certificated” person. These requirements are unique to the state of Washington.

Last updated December 2023.