California Homeschooling Laws
Homeschooling is a right of parents established by the state and regulated by laws. Children are expected to attend public school full time or continuation school except where a derogation is given, which is the option of a full-time private school. A lot of families prefer homeschooling their child and this is achieved by establishing a private school in one’s home or having the child attend charter school or a private school satellite program. Homeschooling and charter schools are considered private schools. Parents are expected to research on the requirements to homeschool before starting the program on their children and the information on this page is a good start.
There are 5 legal ways to homeschool in California:
1. Having a private school at home
2. Having a private school that has a satellite program (PSP)
3. Parents having a teaching credential or hiring a private tutor
4. Having the student attend a public school which offers independent study
5. Have the child attend a public charter school
This page will focus on homeschooling. Parents curious on the other options may visit the California Homeschool Charter Schools. Below you will find information on homeschooling in California, including:
· 5 legal ways of homeschooling
· Starting homeschooling in California
· Record keeping for homeschoolers in California
· Requirements for Graduation in California
· Switching from homeschool to public school
*This information is by no means intended as legal advice; its purpose is merely informational. It is each parent’s responsibility to get informed and understand the applicable homeschooling laws which regulate homeschooling in his or her state.
Requirements and Laws on Homeschooling in California
California law requires children who are 6 years and above to attend a legal school. To begin homeschooling, one has to file a private school affidavit. After filing an affidavit, parents should provide all instructional materials, the curriculum and other materials they intend to use for homeschooling. If relying on tutors, the tutors hired must be persons capable to teach. For parents to be able to operate their homeschool program as a private school, they should follow these requirements:
- File an annual private school affidavit
- Keep an attendance register
- Instruction must be taught in English
- Instructors must be capable of teaching
- Provide instruction in the courses regularly taught in public school (e.g., math, science, ELA, health, social studies, and driver training)
- Keep a list of instructors with their addresses and qualifications
- Keep a list of courses of study
- Keep immunizations records or personal beliefs exemption
Transferring from Public School to Homeschool in California
Establishing and starting a home based private school
Parents in California can start a home based private school by filing an affidavit. The affidavit, private school affidavit, is filed every year the program is on and should be filed with the Department of Education in California through their website. It shall be filed between 1st October and 15th October. Parents are required to keep a file with specific items and give a name to their homeschool. This option gives parents a lot of freedom; there are no annual testing requirements, no reporting requirements concerning the student’s grades or the curriculum. Parents choose the best curriculum for their homeschooler according to the student’s needs.
Recordkeeping for Homeschoolers in California
Every homeschooler is required by law to keep a record of the following:
· The completed private school affidavit
· Records of immunization or waivers
· The qualifications of the faculty as well as their addresses
· The courses offered to students
· The records showing attendance of students
These are just the minimum requirements; parents can keep more records as they please. The records come in handy in instances the child wants to return to public school. Administrators and teachers may need the records to see the scope of the curriculum used in homeschool. The records should be kept as accurate as possible for they help while making high school transcripts.
Lernsys Homeschooling is a parent friendly program that keeps automated system grades lessons, reports for portfolio usage and tracks of students’ records provided by Lernsys Homeschooling. The program makes reports accessible at any time and can be pulled by subject or date through the Parent Administration Page. Lernsys Homeschooling provides transcripts and curriculum records which include course average grade/final grade, quizzes/tests grades, lessons and topics covered, among other things.
Requirements for Graduation in California
Families decide their own graduation requirements. The private home based school and the PSP requirements for graduation may vary. Those enrolled in a PSP should consult their schools for the requirements. Below is a chart showing a comparison between private/public schools and homeschool requirements for graduation.
The chart below shows the comparison between graduation requirements in public school and homeschool in California.
Diploma requirements in California
In California, a majority of the school districts require 22-26 one year courses for the student to graduate or an equivalent of that.
Parents in California have the liberty to determine if and when their student will graduate. They then proceed to award the high school diploma under their own terms. Institutions also give diplomas to students in private/online schools.
|Testing requirements in California||There is no exit exams for graduates requiredt.||
There is no law in California that compels or forces homeschoolers to undertake a test as a requirement in order to graduate high school.
California high school transcripts
The transcripts include grades and credits received, units studied every year, the cumulative GPA and any other standardized test taken in the course of high school.
Parents in California can create the homeschoolers’ transcripts which may include information they considered relevant to institutions the homeschoolers may intend to apply to. This may include schools, colleges, workplace organizations, or the military.
High school course credits in California
The course requirements are 2 mathematics courses including algebra 1, 3 English courses, 3 social studies courses including geography and the U.S. history, world history, geography and culture,1 semester economics course and 1 semester American government and civics, 2 science courses including physical science and biology, foreign language, 1 visual or performing arts course and technical/career education. Additional requirements may be defined by local school boards.
Some parents assign credits to individual courses. Parents decide when it is time for their student to graduate and proceed to create transcripts.
Eligibility for GED in California
The accepted alternatives to a high school diploma in California are the HiSET, GED and the high school proficiency exam.
Homeschoolers in California are eligible if the meet the same criteria as public school students.
Homeschool High School Transcript Template
Track your homeschooler’s credits, courses, and accomplishments with this free homeschool high school transcript template.
Switching from Homeschooling to Public School in California
Parents in California who have a well-kept homeschool portfolio that is thorough will have an easy time having their child placed in the grade they belong to. It makes it easier for the school too to determine the grade the child will be placed. Schools are different and some may require the child to take an additional test at the time they enroll back to public school. Students wanting to join colleges may share transcripts from both the homeschool and public school to show the coursework covered while homeschooling.
Each school in California applies different guidelines for grade placement and enrollment of students. You will find that some schools in California let you register your child for the grade you wish him/her to attend while others require information on the student’s progress and the curriculum used during homeschooling. Other schools in California will have your child take an assessment test to determine the appropriate grade level your child belongs in.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in California
Have other questions about homeschooling in California? You may find the following pages helpful.