View Full Version : CA Homeschoolers...talk to me about the legalese please...

03-20-2011, 05:35 PM
Hi all! My husband is interviewing for a job in San Francisco at the end of the month. Besides the huge change in cost of living, I am concerned about the huge change in homeschooling laws. Here in Oklahoma there basically aren't any. I don't have to tell anybody anything. In a way, that's scary! But then I start to try to figure out what would be required of me in CA and all the words swim in front of me.

Can you give me a quick primer in layman's terms? Do you use a private school, charter, tutor? No big deal or very interfering?

Thanks for the help!

03-20-2011, 07:45 PM
The first 5 years that we homeschooled, we lived in California. The laws have changed a little bit since we left, but not too much. You can find the current laws (in easy to read, non-legalese) here on the California Homeschool Network website: laws (http://www.californiahomeschool.net/howTo/legOpt.htm)

When we started out there, we did option 3 - a public charter school. I've found this option to be a love/hate choice. Some families absolutely LOVE that they have classes, textbooks and oversight provided for them. Other people hate that the public schools still have their hand in mix. Many people like it because it provides things without out of pocket expense for you (other than your tax dollars - LOL), but make no mistake that the school AND the state view your child as a public school student (which they will be) and not a homeschool student (which they aren't. They're just a public school student at home.) For some, that distinction makes a difference. For others, it doesn't. We didn't like having to jump through all of the public school hoops and were subjected to the ever changing public school rules and regs (of which there were many.) I've talked to a lot of other families who've done this route - both in California and in other states - and the complaints are always the same. Caveat emptor. :)

We ended up switching to option 1, the private school option. This allowed us complete autonomy in our lives, which suited our family the best. Other than sending the form in (it was a different one than the one they have now), we had no other contact with the state. We could cover what we wanted, when we wanted, using whatever materials we wanted. Again, if you like the freedom, this is a great option. Many people don't, so it's all a matter of preference.


03-20-2011, 08:52 PM
We just started a few months ago (with just my oldest dd-7th grade) and I opted for the public charter school option. For us, it's been great. She goes to classes at their site 1 day a week (and they're a mix of fun-like yoga, and more "structured" like physical science)-this provides her a chance to be around other kids around her age. We meet with a teacher once a month and he reviews what we're doing and offers suggestions. He's a great guy-a public school teacher who was disgusted with how the schools have become so "teach to the test" versus real learning. They provided all of the curriculum-although I have purchased a few things on my own (like Discovery Education). My daughter also does math on their computerized system at home and has access to a language program too. She did have to take the California writing test that's required for all 4th and 7th grade public school students-but she's used to taking standardized tests (she was in public school for years). The charter school offers a ton of field trips, lots of interesting classes and "Parent Connections" a monthly meeting. For us, this has been the best option-I like having some oversight, I like that my daughter feels accountable to someone besides me-it certainly doesn't feel heavy handed to me at all.

03-21-2011, 02:44 PM
Thanks for the info! If the private school option is as simple as filling out a form then I'll probably go that way. On the other hand, the charter school might be a great way to ease my eldest (the social butterfly) into homeschooling. He's still in public school here in OK. Hmmm...maybe I'll try both at the same time! LOL

This is all presuming DH is even offered and accepts the job... :)

03-21-2011, 05:22 PM
We homeschooled in CA for a few years. It was actually pretty easy. We went with a homeschool umbrella group. At the time, CA had a very good homeschooling law. The problems came in with the local school districts and how much they tried to push the issue with people. There seemed to be a lot of harassment and very little gain for the school districts. At the time we moved, many families that were filing under the private school option were being heavily scrutinized. I don't know if that is still available.

03-22-2011, 03:09 AM
The charter school route was the easy way for us. My son is an independent study student so we only meet with an adviser once a month for an hour. We turn in 3 samples and some silly logs for reading and PE to "prove" he is schooling. They give us some curriculum for the semester but it's minimal and probably isn't even required to use but we do it since it's free and works with what we do ourselves. For the little hassle once a month we don't have to deal with any paperwork or anyone bugging us about how we school.

03-28-2011, 03:07 PM
We filled out the private school affidavit, which you have to rnew each year in October. That is it. You can pick your own curriculum and do what you want. you are required to have the affidavit on file. We chose this option to have more flexibility. We conisder K12 but they still have rigid attendance policies. I work three days a week. My mom watches the kids usually two of the threee I work. The other one my husband is home. It is just easier for us to homeschool this way. Any of us can teach, we can go on vacations when we want, flexibility!!! Love it.