Welcome to our homeschool, Columbia Heights Academy.
Located on five acres atop Green Mountain in Kalama Washington,
here the Keely family lives, loves, and learns together.

What is home-education?
See What is Home Schooling? by Susan Wise Bauer.
Why do we home-educate?
Quality of education (2:1 teacher to student ratio!), individualized curriculum, time together as a family, freedom to travel midweek and go on field trips with other homeschoolers, frustration with the education system, less standardized testing, and the ability to educate liberally avoiding the Christian overtones typical in U.S. schools.

New to home-educating in southwest Washington state? Feeling excited and maybe a little scared? We've all been there! My #1 advise is to connect with one of our local support groups and talk with other home-schooling parents. The resources below will help you get started. Enjoy your journey!

My favourite local listserv is SWWAH - SouthWest Washington Homeschoolers. Another popular local discussion group is CCH - Clark County Homeschoolers. These groups are pretty good at answering questions, sharing experiences, and providing support. Check them out!

Kim Railey, a local unschooling Mom who is dedicated to providing homeschooling adventures and activities for our children, runs lots of field trips and events through HomeschoolingEventsandmore.com. Outings, tours, plays, ballets, classes (e.g. at OMSI), sporting events, park days, etc. Some things are free, some cost money, everything has a $3 set-up fee which is well worth it. Her newest endeavour is to establish an ongoing community of home/un-schoolers who meet at the Fishers Landing Grange Hall on the first and third Tuesdays for activities and structured classes. See information and schedule at homeschoolingeventsandmore.com/grange_hall.html.

The HS laws for washington are contained in what is called "the pink book" which is now really a series of links at www.k12.wa.us/PrivateEd/HomeBasedEd/regulations.aspx. This site has info about the "letter of intent" that you must file with the state annually.

The foremost WA state homeschooling support group is WHO at www.WashHomeschool.org. They run an annual homeschooling convention (family oriented, but speaker line-up and curriculum booths are too Christian oriented for my taste) every June in Puyallup WA, see www.washhomeschool.org/convention/convention.html.

We are truly independent home-educators ... we do not do "school at home" nor use any alternative school programs. We base our secular curriculum roughly on the neo-classical education model as described in The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. (Read "What is a Classical Education?".) We do lessons 6 days a week year round and take days off at our leisure for field trips and travel. For help with Well Trained Mind see WTM articles/resources.

The following links provide specific details on our curriculum by grade level.

  • The Preschool Years
  • The Grammar Stage
    • Grade 1 ~ Age 4 ~ Aug 2005 - Sept 2006
    • Grade 2 ~ Age 5 ~ Oct 2006 - Oct 2007
      (If we had been in WA public/private school CJ would technically have started Kindergarten Sept 2007.)
    • Grade 3 ~ Age 6 ~ Nov 2007 - Aug 2008
    • Grade 3/4 ~ Age 7-7½ ~ Sept 2008 - March 2009 (CAT5 gr.3 test July 2009)
    • Grade 4 ~ Age 7½-8½ ~ April 2009 - March 2010 (CAT5 gr.4 test April 2010)

  • The Logic Stage
    • Grade 5 ~ Age 8½-9½ ~ April 2010 - Sept 2011 (CAT5 gr.5 test June 2011)
      (Includes lots of travel with approximately monthly trips to Vancouver Island, B.C.)
    • Grade 6 ~ Age 10 ~ Oct 2011 - March 2012
  • Scampering Across N. America
    • Keely's on sabbatical trip ~ April 2012 - June 2012
      Seven weeks camping our way across N. America in our 16' Scamp trailer visiting national parks and historic places. This was our big homeschooling adventure focusing on the history and geography of U.S. and Canada. Too cool!
  • The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences
    • Grades 6-7 ~ Age 10-12 ~ Sept 2012 - June 2014
      CJ was invited to attend a Howard Gardner (of Multiple Intelligences fame) inspired preK-8 independent progressive school for the middle school years. An enlivening experience for her. Particularly intriguing were the collaborative unit studies, Culminating Events, and great kids, teachers, staff!
  • Completion of the middle grades with plenty of travel, service projects, and multi-cultural experiences.
  • Scampering Across the Southwest ... Rocks!
    • Keely's on sabbatical trip ~ Sept 2015 - Nov 2015
      Six weeks camping our way across southwest U.S.A. in our 16' Scamp trailer visiting five national parks, cool geological sites, and having adventures (e.g. mule ride into the Grand Canyon).
      Geology of the southwest is the focus of this, our second big homeschool travel experience. We also studied regional Native American culture, art, and architecture, sketched and photographed the landscapes, and learned much of the history and geology of the area.
  • The Rhetoric Stage / The High School Years
  • Running Start @ Clark College (dual enrollment HS and College)
    • Grade 11 & College Freshman ~ Age 16 ~ 2017-2018
    • Grade 12 & College Sophomore ~ Age 17 ~ 2018-2019
  • "Break year" serving earth globally through Peace Corps or AmeriCorps

As a family we are just entering homeschooling highschool, so this page of information and resources is bound to grow.

Resource Websites:


hslda.org/highschool (Note: ultra-conservative organization. Some useful info, but don't provide your email unless you want them to forever send you religious-right newsletters. Caution!

Transcript Templates and Document Downloads:



Running Start (WA State):

WHO's Running Start page

Running Start program at Clark College, Vancouver WA