How to Legally Start Homeschooling in California

How to Legally Start Homeschooling in California

California, a state known for sunshine and innovation, extends its spirit in education. The state offers a personalized learning experience for students. 

Homeschooling 101 

Also known as home education, homeschooling is an educational option that allows you to educate your child in the comfort of your home or any location outside a traditional school setting. 

Understanding Homeschooling in California

Unlike other states, California offers a relaxed approach to homeschooling. Here are some key aspects of homeschooling in California:

  • No notification is required. You don’t need to formally inform your local school district of your intention to homeschool.
  • Curriculum Choice. You can choose any curriculum that aligns with your educational goals for your child. 
  • Minimal Regulations. The primary requirement for homeschooling in California is to ensure that your child receives instructions in the courses of study that California mandates for public schools.

Frameworks for Legal Homeschooling in California

Here are your options for distinct legal frameworks for homeschooling in California: 

  1. Private School Affidavit. This will establish your home as a private school. You need to file for PSA annually with the California Department of Education between October 1st and 15th. 
  2. Private School Satellite Program. Certain private schools offer homeschooling programs in California. They will provide curriculum, assessments, and support. 
  3. Certified Tutor. You can hire your tutor with a California teaching credential if you prefer a more structured approach. 
  4. Independent Study Through Public School. Some public schools offer an independent study program where your child works with a teacher to create a personalized learning experience. 
  5. Public Charter School Enrollment. Many public charter schools cater to homeschooling in California by offering flexible learning opportunities. 

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. You may conduct more thorough research and select the program that best suits your family's needs and educational philosophy. 

Homeschooling in California Requirements

There is no mandated curriculum in California, the state mandates specific subjects for homeschooling. These include:

  • Reading
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History-Social Science
  • Physical Education
  • Health
  • Visual and Performing Arts

For students in grades 7th-12th, here are the required subjects:

  • Foreign language 
  • Applied arts
  • Career and technical education
  • Driver’s education (ages 15 and older) 

We recommend that you maintain attendance records and document your child’s academic progress. Some homeschooling in California incorporates assessment, while others rely on portfolios or learning demonstrations.

Considerations and Strategies for Homeschooling in California

Homeschooling in California gives you immense customization, however, it also comes with responsibilities. 

Here are some factors to consider when you pursue homeschooling in California:

  • Curriculum Selection. You can explore different homeschooling curriculum options, such as online platforms, workbooks, and textbooks. Consider your child’s learning style and interests when making your choice. 
  • Creating a Learning Environment. Have a specific space in your home that is focused on learning. Ensure proper lighting, comfortable furniture, and access to educational materials. 
  • Socialization and Activities. Homeschooling in California doesn’t mean isolation. You can have extra-curricular activities, sports teams, or homeschool co-ops to foster social interaction. 
  • Time Management and Routines. Have a daily or weekly schedule to incorporate activities, breaks, and extracurricular activities.
  • Self-Care for Parents. Schedule a time for yourself to recharge and maintain your well-being. 
  • Enjoy the journey. Homeschooling is a rewarding experience for both you and your child. Embrace the challenges, celebrate success, and cherish the special bond you’ll create with your shared learning experiences. Homeschooling in California gives you a unique opportunity to tailor education to your child’s individual needs and ignite a lifelong love of learnin.g. 

Homeschooling in California: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Homeschooling may spark many questions in your mind. This  section addressed some of the most commonly asked questions regarding homeschooling in California:

Q: Do I need to be a certified teacher to homeschool in California?

A: No, there is no requirement for homeschooling parents to possess a teaching credential in California. There are many resources available to help you educate your child, you can also buy different subscription boxes like The Landmark Kids to supplement your child’s geography lessons. Some families choose to hire tutors or enroll students in specialized instruction programs.  

Q: How much does homeschooling in California cost? 

A: The cost of homeschooling in California depends on your chosen curriculum, materials, and activities. Homeschooling can be more affordable than traditional private schools. Many free or low-cost curriculum options are available.

Q: Is standardized testing mandatory for homeschooled students in California?

A: Standardized testing is not mandatory for homeschooling in California. Some families still utilize standardized testing to gauge their child’s academic progress. There are testing centers or online options that cater to homeschooled students. You can also consider using portfolios, learning demonstrations, and ongoing assessments to create a more holistic picture of your child’s learning journey. 

Q: Can I still homeschool in California if my child has special needs?

A: Absolutely! California laws allow homeschooling for children with special needs. You can tailor the curriculum and learning environment to accommodate your child’s specific needs. You can also collaborate with therapists or specialists to have additional support. The California Department of Education offers resources and guidance for homeschooling children with special needs. 

Q: Can I homeschool part-time in California?

A: Yes. California allows flexibility in homeschooling schedules. You can choose to homeschool full-time, part-time, or even year-round. Some families choose to homeschool specific subjects while their child attends traditional school for others.

Q: Can my child participate in extracurricular activities offered by the public school district?

A: In some cases, homeschooled children may be able to participate in extracurricular activities offered by the local public school district. It’s recommended that you contact your district directly to inquire about their policies for homeschooler participation in extracurricular activities.

Q: Can I travel while homeschooling in California?

A: Yes! Portability is one of the beauties of homeschooling in California. As long as you fulfill the annual filing requirement and ensure that your child receives instructions in the mandated subjects – you can travel and homeschool simultaneously. 

Q: When will my child graduate from homeschooling in California?

A: In California, you get to decide when your child is ready to graduate. Homeschooled students often receive their high school diplomas from parents upon course completion. 

Q: Can my child still be admitted to college even if they attended homeschooling in California?

A: Yes! Universities and colleges typically evaluate homeschool applicants based on standardized test scores, transcripts, and application essays. Some colleges may need additional information or a portfolio of your child’s work.

Q: What are the requirements for homeschooling in California?

A:  California homeschool laws require the following (at a minimum): that all students between the ages of 6 and 18 be enrolled in school, that parents must be qualified to homeschool (depending on the option taken), and, that students must learn all the required subjects in English. 

Q: What records do I need to keep for homeschooling in California?

A: As per California private school law, you must keep the following: courses/subjects taken, immunization records or waivers, a copy of your completed private school affidavit, instructor qualifications, and attendance records. If you’re not the homeschool instructor of your child, you’ll also need to keep any criminal record summaries.

Q: Do I need to constantly teach my child and follow the required curriculum rigidly?

A: Homeschooling allows for flexibility and personalization. You can choose the curriculum that aligns with your child’s learning style and interests. Your child doesn’t have to be confined to a traditional classroom setting. You can have educational outings, hands-on activities, and project-based learning. 

Q: Will my child fall behind academically?

A:  Studies have shown that homeschooled students in California can perform equally well or even better than traditional students. Homeschooling in California allows for a tailored curriculum and focused instruction. This can potentially lead to stronger academic performance. 

Q: How can I help if my child struggles with a particular subject?

A: You can always seek help if your child struggles with a specific subject. There are many options for homeschooled children who need additional support. You can hire a tutor, enroll your child in an online course, or join a co-op group where you can collaborate with other families for a specific subject. 

Finding Support for Homeschooling in California

Homeschooling in California gives you a unique opportunity to nurture your child’s curiosity and tailor their education based on their needs and interests. Navigating homeschooling doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. 

You can build a strong support network that is also crucial to your child’s success and well-being.

Here are some ways to connect and find guidance:

  • Connect with your local community. Join local homeschooling groups or online forums to connect with other homeschooling families in California. You can share and receive resources, and experiences, and build support networks for both you and your kids. These groups sometimes organize social events, field trips, and even co-ops where you can collaborate on a specific subject or activity. Look for groups that align with your philosophies. 
  • Seek guidance when needed. Don’t hesitate to ask from educational consultants, tutors, or specialists when necessary. 

    Enriching Homeschool Learning with Subscription Boxes

    Homeschooling in California allows you to tailor your child’s education and explore a variety of learning opportunities. Subscription boxes, such as The Landmark Kids, can be a valuable tool in this process.

    The Landmark Kids delivers engaging activities and hands-on experiences for your child to learn about geography. 

    Here’s how The Landmark Kids helps your homeschooled child in their learning:

    • Active Learning. Our boxes go beyond passive learning. Each of our boxes transforms your home into a detective agency. Your child will crack codes, solve logic puzzles, and complete creative challenges as they unravel the mysteries of the featured country! This promotes critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a love for exploration. 
    • Fueling Curiosity Beyond the Box. The adventures don’t stop with the box. The Landmark Kids encourages further exploration through our delicious recipe cards! Imagine whipping up authentic delicacies after solving the mysteries of the country. This extends your child’s learning beyond the box and fosters a deeper appreciation for different cultures. 

    Explore The Landmark Kids boxes today and add this educational material to your child’s educational journey in homeschooling in California today. 


    Other resources

    Here are some other resources to get you started with homeschooling in California:

    The Landmark Kids subscription box whisks your 7-12 year-olds on an exciting world tour, right from your living room! Each month, a mysterious letter filled with intriguing clues arrives, challenging your kids to crack puzzles and discover diverse cultures. It's more than just fun; it's an immersive learning experience that fosters respect, curiosity, and global awareness. Perfect for homeschooling or exciting weekend family fun!

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