So you’re interested in privately homeschooling, but you’re asking yourself…is this really legal? What about truancy laws? The short answer is: YES, it is legal. However, the State does have certain hoops to jump through to be legal. CHEFA takes the position of “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, though there are families who do not follow the law if they feel God has called them to.
This information is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. We recommend that families needing legal counsel relating to home education contact the Home School Legal Defense Association. The following is only a brief summary. For details and precise directions on how to legally comply with the private school alternative, including how to file the private school affidavit and how to avoid legal problems, purchase and carefully read CHEA’s manual, An Introduction To Home Education. This should be done prior to starting home schooling or withdrawing your child from public school.
(A) There are no statutes in California at this time dealing specifically and exclusively with private home education.
(B) Compulsory attendance at public schools is required for all pupils from the age of 6 years until the age of 18 years [Education Code 48200, 48400, et al.], with special provisions for 16 to 18 yr. olds [EC 48410], and with the legal alternatives provided by the following four exemptions.
Four LEGAL ALTERNATIVES for Home Educators:
(1) Home educators may establish a private school, based in their home, and file a private school affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction of California (normally between October 1st and 15th every school year). Under this provision [EC 48222 & 33190], which applies to all private schools, the instructors must be capable of teaching, the instruction must be in English; the instruction must be in the several branches of study required in public schools, certain pupil and school records must be on file, and Health Department forms (PM 171A and PM 286) must be on file [HSC 324.2 & 323.5].
(2) Home schooling parents may enroll their children in a private school satellite program which has filed a private school affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction of California [same legal exemption and requirements as #1 above]. These satellite schools are often called PSPs (Private school satellite programs). They may be composed entirely of home educators or be an extension program of a campus-based private school.
There is technically no more or no less legal protection or covering in our current Education Codes [EC 33190 & 48222] for either options (1) or (2) above.
Recent legal contacts and legal action have involved both kinds of arrangements. Both of these arrangements are legal but both are repeatedly challenged legally. In a few areas and cases, you may be less likely to be contacted and/or legally challenged if you are in an PSP-type program.
However, based upon past experience, every home schooling family would be very wise to secure the protection of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). For both options (1) and (2), parents should properly state that their children are enrolled in a private school when communicating with school and other officials.
Families enrolled in out-of-state schools/programs are still required by state law to be enrolled in a California private school (single home-based or satellite/PSSP) with a California address for its location.
It is unnecessary and unwise to voluntarily mention enrollment in out-of-state schools/programs. It is not illegal in California to be enrolled in an out-of-state program, as long as it is represented as a source of curriculum and/or services and not as a means of legal compliance. Public school pupil records (called cum files) should be sent for but not by an out-of-state program. (See CHEA’s manual: An Introduction To Home Education for when & how to do this.)
(3) A home schooling parent with a valid California teacher’s credential for the grades and subjects taught may be exempted under the private tutorial exemption. [EC 48224]
(4) The home schooled pupil may enroll in a public school independent study program (ISP) [EC 51745-51747] or a charter school offering home study [EC 47602] if available in your area. In these two programs, the home schooling family is totally under the authority of the public schools.
This is not an endorsement of this option. This is a parent’s choice. There are several problems with enrollment in these public school home study programs. For more details, send a suggested donation of $5.00 to Family Protection Ministries (address below) and request the information packet, “Public School ISP’s & Charter Schools.”