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What’s behind Washington’s homeschooling boom?

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” –Proverbs 22:6 

Homeschooling rates are on the rise across the nation as parents grapple with the dangerous woke agenda being pushed in public schools as well as ineffective teaching methods. Washington is no exception. The Evergreen State has seen one of the biggest homeschooling booms out of all 50 states. Some proponents are even calling it a “miracle” of the Pacific Northwest.

The homeschooling surge was first noticed throughout the U.S. during the onset of the pandemic, with many families determining online school was not a viable option for their children. But after the country slowly returned to normal activity, many parents chose to keep their children home-educated rather than sending them back to traditional brick and mortar schools. The homeschooling trend may have started in response to the pandemic, but now it’s here to stay.

While the national average of children enrolled in home education grew by about 27% between the 2019-2020 and 2022-2023 school years, Washington’s rates jumped a staggering 43%. This translates to an additional 9,000 students who are now enrolled in homeschooling since 2019 in Washington alone.

Washington’s homeschooling laws are among the more strict in the nation, requiring that parents are “qualified” with at least 45 college-level credit hours. Parents also must register a declaration of intent to homeschool their child and submit to academic evaluations assessed by the state through achievement tests. FPIW is keeping a close eye on any legislation that could hamper parents’ ability to homeschool their children.

There’s no doubt that making the decision to home educate your children requires sacrifice. However, for many families, that sacrifice is well worth it. The opportunities homeschooling affords are priceless – precious time spent with your children in their formative years, raising them up in the Word of God, teaching them history and science without woke ideology thrown in, making decisions about what they should and shouldn’t read, and choosing curricula that honor God rather than pull them away from Him. Homeschooling allows the natural bonds between children and their parents to be strengthened and given time to develop, cementing the value of family and generational wisdom into their life.

“It is a hard venture, we know that it’s tough,” said Jay St. John, co-founder of Washington’s largest homeschool center. “But everything that has value costs something, and so if it was easy, it probably wouldn’t be valuable.” 

Jay began the The Homeschool Resource Center with his wife Heidi nearly 20 years ago, after they felt God putting it on their hearts over and over again. With the recent surge in homeschooling rates, HRC has exponentially grown, far beyond what Jay and Heidi could have ever imagined. By God’s grace, they were recently able to move into a $16 million building, debt-free, that is able to accommodate the hundreds of students and the nearly 200 parent teachers that are now part of their co-op.

“You would never pack your child a sack lunch and send them to the frontlines of literal war, you would never do that,” Heidi noted. “Yet, every single day, we give hundreds of thousands of students sack lunches, we pat them on the head, and we put them on little yellow school buses and they take them to the frontlines of the culture war.”

God is clearly at work in Washington’s homeschooling movement. We are incredibly excited about how these children will grow up to impact our state and change our culture. Homeschooling is building up the next generation of conservative Christians who will continue to defend our values and freedoms in the public square. 

If you’re interested in pursuing this path with your family, we recommend delving into the resources provided by the Homeschool Legal Defense Fund (HSLDA) and getting connected with Washington’s Homeschool Resource Center, mentioned above.

If you want to work with FPIW to defend and advance homeschooling rights in the state of Washington, please become a DEFENDER today!


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