Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the California Department of Education website for updates.
What are the requirements for homeschooling in California? Figuring out the requirements to homeschool your child in California can be overwhelming because there is a lot of information out there. How do you know where to start? A good place to begin is by learning about California homeschool laws.
Remember, too, that you are not alone. You should connect with local homeschoolers from your state, who can help you with homeschooling in California requirements and offer you all kinds of practical advice and suggestions. They can give you guidance on everything from curriculum to daily schedules to recordkeeping, and they may be able to share information about local resources, support groups, and field trips.
To get you started, here is some basic information about how to legally homeschool in California:
Is it Legal to Homeschool in California?
According to the California State Education Code, there are three ways that parents can educate their children at home:
- Attend an existing private school
- Attend an existing public charter school or independent study program, or
- Open a private home-based school by filing a Private School Affidavit with the California Department of Education
All children between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age fall under a compulsory education requirement in California. Children attending a private full-time day school and children taught by a certified tutor are exempted. Switching from public school to homeschool requires filing a California homeschool affidavit, known as a Private School Affidavit, with the California Department of Education. The public school district listed in the Affidavit then “makes a determination of whether a home-schooled child has met statutory requirements and therefore is exempt from public school attendance.”
There are two websites you will want to bookmark during your homeschooling journey: 1) the California Department of Education hosts an informational page on Schooling at Home, and 2) there is a section of the Private Schools “frequently asked questions” list devoted to Schooling at Home FAQs.
Information on the California Homeschool Affidavit
According to California Education Code, Section 33190, parents homeschooling their children (Kindergarten or higher) must submit an annual Private School Affidavit to the California Department of Education, with a copy kept at the “home” school. Each submission covers the period from October 1-September 30.
The annual Affidavit is unavailable until October 1, and school typically starts prior to that date. As a result, although not required, first-time homeschoolers may want to notify your school district of your intention to homeschool in order to avoid confusion. Active homeschoolers from the prior year are exempt from compulsory school attendance until September 30. Parents of children eligible for special education services will want to communicate directly with your school district regarding requirements for schooling at home.
The Public School Affidavit Form must include the following information: all names and addresses, school enrollment and grades, number of teachers, and student genders. As a homeschooler, you must maintain records of attendance; courses of study; and names, addresses, and qualifications of teachers. You may be asked to supply a record of student attendance to the local school district. Parents submitting a Private School Affidavit must select and provide all educational materials, including curriculum and instructional resources.
Even if an Affidavit has been filed, your child is still eligible for enrolling in public school after homeschooling in California. For information on how to transfer from homeschool to public school in California, see the California Department of Education’s page on district transfers. Re-entry into the public school system does follow the policies of the individual public school district, which can result in denial of credits accrued while homeschooling. Finding out how to enroll a homeschooled child in public school in California prior to doing so may prevent confusion or disappointment later.
What are the Requirements to Homeschool in California?
California’s homeschool requirements are not as stringent as in some other states. California’s Education Department “does not provide guidance on how to homeschool.” California is one of three states requiring a level of competence for a parent choosing to homeschool (must be “capable of teaching”), but there is no minimal educational requirement.
There are also no written California homeschool curriculum requirements. However, the California Department of Education states that “a student being schooled at home in California should receive instruction in the various branches of study required in the public schools of the state.” California’s standards and curriculum frameworks should be used as guides for curriculum.
Additionally, there are no California laws or regulations regarding graduation or diploma requirements for homeschoolers and other private school students. Parents are recommended to research admission/entry requirements for college, military, and employment opportunities prior to homeschooling and to examine various methods of recordkeeping toward meeting those admissions/entry requirements.
Homeschoolers in California have access to many resources, including national and state advocacy groups, homeschool organizations, local support groups and meet-ups, and online resources. Parents providing education at home can also access California’s Content Standards and Common Core Content Standards, California’s Curriculum Frameworks, and information about alternative diploma equivalencies like the General Education Development (GED) Test and the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). Additional private school resources are also available through the California Department of Education.
More California Homeschool Resources
- California Homeschool Associations
- Field Trips in California
- Support Groups for California Homeschoolers
- California Charter Schools
- Private School Satellite Programs
- Public ISPs