Under California law, all children between ages 6 and 18 must attend a full-time public school, “unless exempted.” California parents have four legal alternatives to homeschool their children.
- Establish a private school in your home. Children enrolled in a private school are exempt from attending public school. Parents can establish a private school in their home. To do requires filing a Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education between October 1st and 15th every year. The PSA is available online, and takes less than 15 minutes to complete. There is no cost to file a private school affidavit. An important note: A PSA does not create your school and does not mean you are requesting or receiving approval by the government. It does not mean your school is accredited. Filing the affidavit simply means your school has complied with EDC 33190 which requires the annual filing.
- Enroll in a Private School Satellite Program (PSP). Parents may choose to enroll their children in a private school satellite program (PSP) that files the annual private school affidavit. The private school offering the PSP must meet the same legal requirements as Option 1. PSPs may be comprised entirely of home educators or may be an extension program of a campus-based private school.
- Private Tutoring with a Credentialed Teacher. A less common option is the tutorial exemption, a parent may hold a California teaching credential or employ a private tutor who has a valid California teacher’s credential for the grades and subjects taught.
- Enroll in a Public Charter School or Independent School Program. Families may enroll in a public charter school or independent study program. These options are publicly funded. Here’s the California Department of Education’s definition: “A charter school is a public school that provides instruction in any combination of grades, kindergarten through grade twelve.”
The California Attorney General reiterates that charter schools are a class of public schools. Why is this important to note? Charters are no longer immune from AB 329 and will also be subject to the same comprehensive sexuality education mandates as conventional public schools. In 2018, Governor Brown signed into law AB 2601 which extended the sex-ed mandate to all charter schools. For this reason, if you decide to inquire into homeschool groups, one of your first questions should be: “Are you a private school or a public charter?”