About Partnership Programs

Parent Partnership Programs
Washington State has several types of Alternative Learning Experiences (ALEs), and one of them is a Parent Partnership Program, which is an optional collaboration between a local student district and a homeschooling family.
In a nutshell: The school district gets state money because your child is technically enrolled in school. In exchange, the school district offers classes, curriculum and support to homeschool families IF they choose to enroll.
Each district varies in style, atmosphere, offerings and flexibility. Some partnership programs allow students to come in and take one class a week in LEGO, robotics, art or music, with no other requirements. Others require students to fill out a learning plan, describe their curriculum at home, and have a minimum number of hours of study required. Some require parents to stay on campus with their student, and others allow drop-off. Some require extensive reporting of hours learned at home, and others require very little. It’s important to see if the partnership program is a good fit for your goals and your family before you begin.
Another reason to use a partnership program is that they offer curriculum to students to use at home, including math, English and science. This can be a big cost consideration and is worth looking into. Most of the partnership programs also have an extensive library to borrow from.
Technically, if you enroll in a partnership program for a certain number of credits, your child is considered to be in public school, even if they are only on campus one hour per week.
This should not affect how you homeschool at all, but it’s an important distinction, and according to Washington State Law (WAC 392-121-182) before a student enrolls, their parent or guardian must read a statement about the difference between home- based instruction and enrollment in an ALE and sign a statement that they understand the differences.
Some homeschoolers embrace the partnership programs and have found a vibrant, thriving community full of dance, music and art, and find the classes to be engaging and the homeschool community supportive and warm. Some homeschoolers find some of the partnership programs to be too restrictive, too inflexible, and too much like public school, while others find the support and structure to be exactly what their family needs to thrive.
It’s worth noting again that there are several partnership programs in the county and they are very different in structure and style. Taking a tour of two or three of them to see if one is more suited to your family is a good way to get started.

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