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California Legal Homeschooling


California Homeschoolers Win Landmark Case – 8/8/08
The California Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of homeschooling in our state.

Mon, Aug 11, 2008 — 9:00 AM
Teaching Without Credentials

A California appeals court has ruled that parents can homeschool their children, even if they don’t have a teaching credential. This overturns an earlier ruling that required such a qualification.
Host: Michael Krasny

  • Dana Hull, metro reporter for the San Jose Mercury News
  • Debbie Schwarzer, attorney with GCA Law Partners, LLP; co-chair of the legal team for the Homeschool Association of California; and a homeschooling mom
  • Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Francisco, vice president of American Federation of Teachers and California Federation of Teachers

California Education Code For Homeschooling
Not intended as legal advice. For your information only.

California State Department of Education
The California State Department of Education (CDE) provides The Private School Affidavit online by mid-September. Homeschoolers without access to the Internet should request a paper affidavit in writing no earlier than August 25 each year. the DOE will begin mailing out requested affidavits in late September.

Complying With the California Law
The HomeSchool Association of California [HSC] shows you options for complying with the state homeschooling law, and explains why it is legal to declare yourself a private school using the R4 form.

“In re Rachel L.” decision – 3/5/08
The “In re Rachel L.” decision handed down by the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, in Los Angeles County, on Febuary 28, 2008, has become too controversial to ignore.

Compulsory Attendance

California Private School Monthly Attendance Report
WORD document to meet requirement for PSA filers to keep an attendance report of days ABSENT.

Compulsory Attendance
If your child turns 6 on or before September 1 of the 2014-15 school year.

Private School Option

Forming Your Own California Private School
In a nutshell, what do we have to do to comply with private school regulations before submitting the Private School Affidavit between October 1-15?

Private School Affidavit
In California, families can legally homeschool their children by establishing a private school in their home and complying with the private school requirements of the California Education Code. The R4 must be filed from October 1st through 15th each year.

California Private School Affidavit Form Sample
File online October 1st through 15th. Print out this sample copy and use as a guideline for filing your own affidavit.

Frequently Asked Questions for High School
Read on for more information regarding answers to frequently asked questions about homeschooling your high school aged child. From CHN.

The Private School Option
Children are exempt from compulsory attendance if they “are being instructed in a private full-time day school by persons capable of teaching.” HSC: By Debbie Schwarzer, Esq., Linda J. Conrad, Esq., and Elizabeth Bryant, Esq.

Private School Satellite Programs

New Term for Independent Study Programs
Homeschool independent study programs now to be called PSPs or Private School Satelite Programs.

California Private School Satellite Programs
Some California homeschool families prefer not to homeschool independently, but rather through an institution operated either through the state or as an independent organization.

Using A Private School Satellite (PSP) Program
Private out-of-state PSPs, while useful for curricular support, only satisfy the legal requirements for public school exemption if the school has filed its own affidavit in California. HSC.

Public Charter Schools

California Charter Schools
It is important to understand how homeschooling through a public charter school differs from homeschooling privately.

Charter Schools
The newest method of homeschooling is to use independent study, distance learning, and homeschooling programs developed by various charter schools throughout the state. Since charter schools are part of the public school system, a child enrolled in a charter school program is, for legal purposes, enrolled in public school. HSC.

Public Independent Study Programs

California Charter Schools
It is important to understand how homeschooling through a public charter school differs from homeschooling privately.

California Public ISPs
This is a list of school districts with Independent Study or Home Study Programs outlined online.

Public Independent Study Programs
Enrolling your child in a public school independent study program is the legal equivalent to enrolling him in public school. These are the “home study” programs offered by many school districts.

Tutoring Option

Parents with a valid teaching credential can act as tutors for their children, or parents may employ a credentialed teacher. However, tutors and parents who choose to tutor their own children must fulfill all of the requirements of 48224. HSC.

Getting School Records

Getting Your Child’s Cumulative Records from the Former School
One of the primary reasons for obtaining the file is so that the school will close its file on your child. While you have a right to have this file, unless you have a legal reason for needing it, you may wish to let the matter drop so that you do not draw unwanted attention to your family. From HSC.

Sample Request for School Records
Some may want to have a copy of a past school’s record kept concerning their child’s past grades, test results, and other items kept in their child’s cumulative folder. Do note that you will only get a copy, and that the original will remain at the school. Parents have a right to get and examine these records even if they are not homeschooling.

Health Records

CA: Know the Code
AB 354 was passed by the California Assembly and was approved by then Governor Schwarzenegger on September 29, 2010.

HSC Position on California Senate Bill 277
SB277 takes effect on July 1, 2016. It remove the “personal beliefs” and religious exemptions, but also exempts homeschoolers from the immunization requirements. You can follow the discussion here on what to do about a non-immunized would-be Kindergartner on Facebook.

Special Situations

Communities With Curfews
If you live in a community with a curfew, HSC recommends that your child have a school identification card and a note from your school administrator whenever he or she is out in the community. HSC.

Do public high schools accept homeschool credits when a homeschooler enrolls in public high school?
Recently a few parents have asked whether public schools can refuse to accept credits from non-accredited schools, including private homeschools. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. HSC.

Homeschooling After A Divorce
Although it is legal to homeschool after a divorce or in a situation where the other parent does not agree with homeschooling, the ultimate decision as to whether you can homeschool your children may be up to the Family Law Court. HSC.

Welfare Benefits
Families should be able to receive welfare benefits and still homeschool their children using any of the legal options, including operating a home-based private school. HSC.

Withdrawing your Child from Public or Private School Mid-Year
We do recommend that you not tell the school that you are going to homeschool. HSC.

Common Misconceptions

California Homeschoolers Win Landmark Case – 8/8/08
The California Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of homeschooling in our state.

Is Homeshooling Suddenly Illegal In California? No!
Dateline September 8, 2002. Here is a statement that has been prepared by one of the attorneys on the HSC legal team.

Common Misinformation Promulgated by Public School Officials
Such as homeschool parents must have teacher certification, or that school officials have a right to demand to see your curriculum and plans. From CHN.

Homeschooling Legal FAQ’s
Is homeschooling legal in California? What does it mean when the California Department of Education (CDE) says that “homeschooling is not authorized in the state of California”? These and more questions answered on the HSC site.


Note that at this time, early March 2008, we do not yet know the effect of the “In re Rachel L.” decision. Expert homeschool legal advisors are looking into this decision to see what repercussions it might have.

“In re Rachel L.” decision – 3/5/08
The “In re Rachel L.” decision handed down by the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, in Los Angeles County, on Febuary 28, 2008, has become too controversial to ignore.

Legal Brief: In re Rachel L.
In this dependency case, we consider the question whether parents can legally “home school” their children. The attorney for two of the three minor children in the case has petitioned this court for extraordinary writ relief, asking us to direct the juvenile court to order that the children be enrolled in a public or private school, and actually attend such a school.

California Decision Vacated – 4/28/08
The In re Rachel L. decision handed down by the Court of Appeal of the State of California, has been vacated. California homeschooling back to normal.

Home Visits or Accusations of Truancy

Association of Homeschool Attorneys
This Yahoo Groups email list was formed in response to the proliferation of of truancy, custody, and CPS cases against legal homeschoolers in California, as well as the continuing threat to homeschooling by legislative action. It has expanded to be a national resource.

Contact By Truancy Officers
Most (but not all) investigations of truancy cases involving homeschoolers start because the children were removed from a public or private school without first complying with one of the legal ways to homeschool, because they were involved in truancy issues prior to leaving school, or because they had come to the attention of Children’s Protective Services for abuse or neglect.

Home Visits by Officials
The Three Little Homeschoolers: A Tale of Caution
Once upon a time there were 3 homeschooling families. The first family knew nothing about their legal rights. The second family had listened to a seminar in which their legal rights were discussed, and the third family knew the Code. From CHN.

Pacific Justice Institute
Brad Dacus, president and chief counsel of the Pacific Justice Institute, which has said it will represent for free any family facing truancy charges.

When Officials come knocking at your door – A true story
The school official stated that he was visiting the new private schools in the district, and, in Impressive Official tone, demanded to see “all the administrative documents.” By Elizabeth Vana Bryant, HSC legal volunteer.

Work Permit for your Teen

Frequently Asked Questions: Work Permits
Information to assist local educational agencies in the issuance of work permits. From the California Department of Education.

Process for Obtaining Work Permits Changes on January 1, 2010 
As a result of the passage of AB 66 last fall, a new law regarding work permits will go into effect on January 1, 2010. The California Department of Education (CDE) is still working on updating information, forms, and procedures, so some details may change. However, CHEA answers some of the questions that have been asked about the new law.

Work Permits
“The law does not require that the minor be a pupil registered with the local district or even that the minor be living with a parent who is a resident of that district. The minor merely has to be living within the boundaries of any school district (even if only for a vacation), and the superintendent is authorized to issue the required work permit.”

More California Homeschool Resources

Associations | Events | Field Trips | Publications | Resources

Forming a Private School | Laws | Legal Information | Legislation Watch
Private School Affidavit | PSA Sample

About Charter Schools | Charter School List

Private School Satellite Programs | Public ISPs
Online Support | Support Groups | Support Group Lists

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