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It’s so much fun, it can’t be legal

For awhile it seemed that every time Scott and I went to his pediatrician he would ask, “What does the state to ensure that Scott is learning anything.” This is usually after remarking what a healthy, strapping boy he is, and how bright and articulate. I explain that since I’m a credentialed K-9 teacher here in California, I don’t need to prove anything to the state. One of the lesser known ways of qualifying as a homeschool in California (and in some other states for teachers wishing to teach their own) is the “Tutoring Option” which states:

Education Code Section 48224. Children not attending a private, full time day school and who are being instructed in study and recitation for at least 3 hours a day for 175 days each calendar year by a private tutor or other person in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public school of this State and in the English language shall be exempted [from the compulsory attendance law]. The tutor or other person shall hold a valid State credential for the grade taught. The instruction shall be offered between the hours of 8 o’clock a.m. and 4 o’clock p.m.

[For other three ways of homeschooling legally in California, see California Code for Homeschooling]

For two years I had coped with the local district’s ISP (Independent Study Program), chomping at the bit because Scott found the text books boring (or read them through in a few days) and didn’t want to produce “paperwork” for his portfolio solely for the purpose of “proving” he was learning something. I was getting tired of fabricating a month’s plan I knew we’d probably never follow, and then frantically trying to remember at month’s end what we had been doing all month. I kept saying I’d keep a journal, even bought a book to write in: notations were made when “big” things happened, but the small, incrimental learning activities were seldom noted.

Then in an AOL homeschooling chat I met a California woman who was a credentialed teacher and she was talking about this “Tutoring Option.” No paper work at all! Not even any notification. Teachers have it “made” for pulling their own children out of school. Isn’t that interesting? I’ve explained this to the pediatrician that this is like him prescribing to his own family: he’s been state-certified to practice on strangers, so the state figures he’s qualified to practice on his own family.

To find out how to legally homeschool in your state, look in Regional and Worldwide Homeschooling Resources under your state, province or country. The education code pertaining to the ways you can legally homeschool in all 50 states, each Canadian province, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are all linked up. You’ll also find state associations and support groups on the same pages, to help you interpret these laws and what you actually have to do to comply. Some laws read worse than they are actually enforced: some are enforced harder than they should be.

There have been cases in federal courts that back the fundamental rights of parents to determine how and where their children are educated.

Do I need legal representation? Nope.

Dave Mankins on the HSLDA
A very important issue here: should you subscribe to the Home School Legal Defense Association or not?

Do I Need to Join the HSLDA?
Why you should think carefully before you decide whether or not to pay $85-$100 in annual dues to Homeschooling Legal Defense Association.

In my state we declare ourselves a private school. Does this have any benefits or drawbacks?

The Regulation of Private Schools in America
A State-by-State Analysis. Do be aware that some requirements for large private schools do not apply to “private schools” with few students being taught by their parents in their home. For example, fire inspections are seldom enforced for homeschools. When you travel on “field trips” do bring along documentation that you are a “private school.” You may avoid fees at some state parks and other points of interest.

Is home schooling legal in all states?
Home schooling is legal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, but the way the states regulate home schooling varies widely. Legal Office.com will help you search for an eduation law expert in your area.


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