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  1. #1

    Default Homeschooling in CA

    Hi, All - We are looking into moving out to Los Angeles from the DC area. If we go through it, we'll be moving out there next year. I am excited to move to the West Coast. I have wanted to go back ever since coming here from Santa Clara when I was a little girl.

    But after doing a little reading about homeschooling there, my head is spinning! The laws sure looking different than they are over here.

    Can anyone tell me what it's like?

    So far, our state and county have been super easy going (almost too much IMO). You just send the county Board of Ed a note that you are homeschooling (or a downloadable form), and then you get contacted twice a year to set up a 1-hour review with the county in which the reviewer (often a kindly retired public school teacher or principle) goes over 3-5 pieces of work in 7 subjects. We have been doing this since the kids started school, and it has been so easy and positive.

    It looks a lot more formal in CA.

    Once a homeschool family files as a private school with LA, how does the rest of the process work (including reviews)?

    Also, what is the secular homeschool scene like out that way?

    The region of LA we are looking into moving is supposed to have wonderful schools, but we don't want to transition our oldest until high school. He is heading into 6th next year, and there's no way I want to drop him into a formal classroom at that age unless we really have we really enjoy home education at this point.

    One last question, if we think about moving out that would it be a good idea to get him (and perhaps us) to take more Spanish lessons?

    Looking for as much info as I can find. Thank you!

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  3. #2


    From what I hear, its pretty easy to homeschool independently here. File a form, and that is it.

    Because we have charters, a lot more secular people homeschool as an alternative to neighborhood schools.
    There are also a lot of hybrids between homeschool and public schools.
    Research the charters (unless youre adamant that you be independent), find one that has the amount of independence and support that youd like.
    Generally, you are given a budget of around $2000/ student / year, and either the school makes purchases for you, or they reimburse qualified purchases. They often have optional group enrichment classes abd social activities (like PE, Art, etc). Youll meet with an advisor about once a month, and periodically you provide a sample of work from each of the core subjects and any official electives you are taking. Ive loved having a professionally credentialed teacher as my personal consultant over the years, and have never found the paperwork to be tedious. (As well as having group classes my kids could go to one or two days a week!)
    Shop around the charters, though - they arent all equal! You can join any charter in your county, or any adjacent county. Here is a list as a starting point: California Directory of Charter Schools with Home Study Programs -
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    My understanding from lots of friends there is that it is not difficult to go the private affidavit route. However, most people join a charter because it's free $$$. Many of them have very limited hoops to jump through, especially before high school - enough that it's well worth it for the cash.

    So, yeah, on the surface, CA homeschool laws are actually more complex. In practice, they really just mean more choices.
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  5. #4


    Thank you, Ladies. This is so very exciting to learn! I've been a little stressed over the living costs (though I'm reading there are commutable areas around LA that are nice and much cheaper to live in) and all the other parts of our life that will be upended by moving, but it sounds like it will be a fantastic career move for DH, and we have been wanting to make a change for years.

  6. #5


    Well, not to discourage you.... and I dont know what you are used to as far as commuting.... but it is rather expensive and dirty. (And the drivers are crazy - only place worse Ive been was NYC.) All the freeway signs are black with grime.

    Then again, it rarely rains (hence the grime), and never snows. (Rain is a legitimate excuse to not go to work.) San Diego and Orange Counties both contend they have the best weather in the country. So there is that.
    At least the schooling will be easy!
    I guess if you like weed, its legal here, too.
    Just more things to consider!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  7. #6


    LOL—weed has pretty much been legalized over here, too. I predict legalization will become national in the next decade. Never consumed it myself beyond second hand smoke. I'm a boring hippy. XD

    If we move we may be able to telecommute (at least at first) so there is that, but the roads do look intimidating—even compared to our DC traffic. I'm curious about the eats. My father always said the food here is pretty $$$ and boring compared to the West Coast. My achy bones are liking the idea of snowless winters.

  8. #7


    Well.... my 6 year old’s favorite food is sushi (raw salmon... cooked is gross!), followed by vietnamese eggrolls (pho restaurants in almost every strip mall), and thai sticky-rice and mango. Oh, and he asks to go to “chicken tikka masala place with super yummy recipe”.
    I think there is a lot of good food to be had out here, and its all appropriate to eat in tshirt and shorts. And I dont think the restaurants are that expensive, unless you go somewhere “fancy”. Lunch specials, places I go at least, are usually under $10.
    Im not sure how groceries compare, other than fresh beautiful produce year round. If CA was a country, I think it would be the 5th largest food producing country. (When my older did CA history, there was a lot of propeganda!) I notice the biggest difference in price being from the local Sprouts, and the more expensive “junk food grocery store” mega marts. Costcos started here (seeing associates with tags with date of 1986 is a little unnerving and reassuring at same time), and they have good prices on flour, sugar, and rice if you buy hose in bulk like I do.
    Housing, cars, and gas seem the biggest expenses down here. (Public transportation is a joke! Everyone needs a car.) Our car gas is cleaner, and we seem to pay for it too.... its hovering around $4/gal this week.

    As much as I dont like LA for its dirtiness and traffic, it does have really cool cultural experiences. You can visit prehistoric tar pits, a roman villa, art museums, aquariums, a ferry ride to see roaming bison herds, the space shuttle(!).... there is a lot to do there. Oh, and anything its lacking can be found in driving distance to Vegas!
    I have a library membership to LA, simply because their online library is one of the largest in the country. (San Diego has abt 27k titles, LA has about 100k.) And LA overrules the conservative voting of San Diego, which brings me personal comfort.

    Im sorry for saying how stinky it was in a previous post.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  9. #8


    We always enjoyed visiting LA when we lived in San Diego. It has lots of fun stuff to do. I am sure you could find your niche and enjoy it. There must be suburbs away from the freeways that are less dirty. There have been studies about the health effects of living (or working, being in school) within a certain distance of a large freeway though. And from what I read of those, I would not choose to live too close. I think the zone is like 300 meters. I know this because we did live within 300 m of the 5 in San Diego (beside the Del Mar Heights exit AlexsMom) for a year. Accidentally. We had picked this apartment before we arrived in San Diego and the Google Maps put it in a different part of the street than it actually ended up being on. We were like the first row of houses beside the freeway. Our stuff outdoors was always covered in a layer of black particulate matter from the traffic.

    Oh and your gas sounds cheap! Its around $6.21 US a gallon here at the moment (pretty sure I did the NZ to US, and liter to gallon conversion correctly).

    For us coming from NZ, in the Southern CA area, we found: housing expensive, electricity cheap, water expensive (we pay a yearly rate for water here and its cheaper because we have abundant rain), groceries about the same if we bought equivalent stuff (fresh, free range, and sustainably grown) and easier to get a wide range of fresh produce all year round (NZ produce is really season dependent), eating out a lot cheaper, entertainment cheaper, gas cheaper but we used more of it, public transport terrible (but maybe slightly better in LA than San Diego? We took the train up a few times and then bus for around LA and it was ok), alternative forms of transport (e.g., cycling or walking) difficult due to the volumes of traffic, distances, and lack of sidewalks in some places (but DH did bike commute to work, and I did walk lots of places with DD), buying a car about the same, other car expenses cheaper (we pay more in yearly on-road costs in NZ as we have to pay a yearly registration and warrant of fitness, and getting a licence in NZ is way more expensive, as in hundreds of dollars more), clothing and all household purchases much cheaper.
    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 10-04-2018 at 02:14 PM.
    New Zealand-based freelance science copyeditor. Homeschooling DD 11 (year 7) and DD 6 (year 2).

  10. #9
    Senior Member Enlightened
    Join Date
    Apr 2018


    I'm coming late to the discussion, so I think most of the bases have been covered. I'm just chiming in to say that we homeschool by registering as a private school. Annually, the window to declare yourself a public school is from Oct 1-15 so that your public school name pops up on some directory (I dunno, never seen it). But as someone first coming into it, you can register any time.

    Homeschooling this way is pretty simple. I keep attendance records, course of study, lesson plans, description of my qualifications to teach my own child, and the private school affidavit in a folder or on my computer. At the end of the year, I keep samples of his work and projects. No one really looks at these things or asks for them. But I keep these things to keep track of his progress. Charters sound great, but I really enjoy the freedom of not having anyone look over my shoulder.

    LA has a really nice secular homeschool group located in Duarte or Monrovia, I think, and there are others I've seen on Meetup. I've been to that one several times, but in the end, it was too much of a drive for us. The parents and kids were very welcoming and they held regular field trips and park days.

    I think you could benefit by learning Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese or Korean. There are so many cultures here and their little enclaves. Hence, so much diversity in food. I love the food and weather, but despise the extremely liberal politics. The idealism and taxes that go along with it really nickel and dime us here.
    Homeschooling an only, DS10

    Trains move quickly
    To their journey's end

    Are where we begin again

  11. #10


    Just wondering which area of LA are you moving to? We are in the South Bay and I have a son going into 6th as well

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