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Washington State Homeschool Graduation Requirements

August 26, 2009

Homeschool law may NOT the same as the law covering public schools or private schools.  In Washington State, for example, public school law is covered in one area, and homeschool law is covered in an entirely different area.  It can be confusing!  When researching the laws in your state, make sure you are looking at the law that applies to homeschoolers.  I frequently see homeschoolers trying to fit their homeschool into a public school law, and it just doesn’t feel right.  It’s like the old square peg and round hole!  Here is an example from Kelly, asking about Washington Homeschool law.

Hello Lee!
I’ve sat in on one of your sessions for High School Transcripts. It was very helpful! I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what the requirements were for High School Graduation…..but now I’m a bit confused.  I went to the Office Superintendent of Public Instruction website to double check on the requirements…i.e….how many credits necessary in each subject, etc. Is there something new?
~Kelly in Washington

Hi Kelly,

I’m SO glad you wrote!  Here is the key:  there is a difference between public high school graduation requirements and the requirements for homeschoolers.  You are quoting the requirements to graduate from a public high school.  As the homeschool parent in Washington, however, YOU get to choose what YOUR graduation requirements are.  Homeschool parents can make their own transcript, and award their own homeschool diploma, all within state law.


When you plan for college admission, you are exceeding the academic requirements for graduation from public schools. College admission requires more than high school graduation.  If you are following a college prep plan then you are doing more than enough.  You can read about college prep academics in this article:

9 Easy Steps: High School Graduation Checklist

Washington State law requires the 11 subject that are taught within the 12 years of homeschooling.  The things that moms often find most surprising:  Washington State History is NOT on the list, but Occupational Education IS on the list.  It’s an easy class to teach; wait until your child gets a job, count hours on the job, and award credit based on those hours.  It’s the easiest class you’ll ever teach :-)

Other things that are required by state law:  qualify to homeschool (one parent has one year of college or more, or take a short class) declaration of intent, annual assessment (PSAT, SAT, and ACT count as the annual assessment).  You are required to keep records, but they don’t say WHAT records to keep.  You are required to keep immunization records with your homeschool records, but you aren’t required to immunize your children LOL!).  And finally, you don’t have to turn anything into the state once you have completed the declaration of intent.  After that is turned in, you are completely responsible for the education of your children.

You are doing everything right, don’t worry.  You don’t have to be a public school.  You are a homeschool.  Different laws cover homeschools.  For more information, check the Washington Homeschool Organization website.


PS.  For my out-of-Washington subscribers, please make sure you check the law for your own state.  Check with your local homeschool organization for help.


  1. Carolyn says:

    While homeschoolers are not expected to meet the public school graduation requirements, they can be used as a meaningful guideline for parents.
    I disagree with you concerning occupational education. The purpose is to prepare students for an occupation. If they have a job, it is only considered for work experience credit, which can apply to flipping burgers (410 hrs. for 1 credit, as defined in the state law) or something more. For a more meaningful credit, students can explore various occupations (listed as career exploration), serve in an internship or apprenticeship, as well as enrolling in a vocational program. For some students, this may lead to a vocation aside from college.
    Then there is also accounting, keyboarding, etc. which are also considered occupational education.

    September 5th, 2009 at 5:26 am

  2. Kandis says:

    I’m a homeschooler and will be graduating in a couple years… Do these guidlines still stand? Do they apply to me?

    March 5th, 2012 at 11:18 pm

  3. Lee says:

    Dear Kandis,
    Yes, this still applies. You can read more about Washington State Homeschool law here:

    March 6th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  4. Stephanie says:

    WOW! I wish I would have known this sooner! I would have written out my son’s graduation requirements so much differently to begin with. Thankfully we still have two years to restructure to more fit the direction we’re preparing him for, along with three more children that will benefit from this information.
    So blessed by you… thank you!!! :)

    May 25th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

  5. Jo Anna says:

    Thank you Lee for all your information. Our son just graduated(HomeSchool)last week and is heading off to college!The information you provide on HomeSchooling is invaluable! You truly are a blessing to Washington State HomeSchoolers. Have a safe and restful summer!
    God Bless you!

    June 19th, 2016 at 7:57 pm

  6. Lee says:

    Thank you Jo Anna!!! I appreciate your encouragement!

    June 20th, 2016 at 10:15 am

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