California Homeschool Laws

General overview of the homeschooling laws in California

Families are able to homeschool in California through specific exemptions within the Compulsory Education Law. Although no specific law grants parents the authority to homeschool their children, California’s Department of Education, as of the 23rd of April, 2015, has presented four valid means to pursue an education at home. The parents can opt to:

  1. Legally start a private school at home where they must render an Affidavit for Private Schools;
  2. Join a private school satellite program (PSP) officially registered in California;
  3. Hire a qualified instructor (the parents may also be instructors);
  4. Enroll in an Independent Study Program (ISP) or a public school that provides homeschool services.

Notification of intent to homeschool in California

Many parents take advantage of school-based education to become their children’s primary educator. To begin the process, parents in California must render an affidavit or a notice of intent. The purpose of this is to make sure the homeschool functions as a private school. California law strictly demands that all records within this time must be kept.

Filing date mandated by Educational Code §33190 must be between the 1st and 15th of October and must be done annually. It must contain the names of facilitators, list of associates, and the address of the school.

Qualifications required to homeschool in California

There are no specific credentials required for homeschool facilitators. Like Kansas and New York, California only requires parents to be ‘capable of educating’. However, no definite standard is demanded and no official body of authority oversees whether parents or facilitators are indeed qualified to instruct their children. In summary, educational background is discarded and the parents are free to homeschool their children.

Number of days/hours of instruction required for homeschoolers in California

Although not strictly, the state of California requires homeschool education about three (3) hours of instruction a day for six (6) months or at least 21 hours a week. There is no exact schedule to be followed. One subject like Math or a combination of two subjects (reading and science) may be taught in a day. The required hours of instruction must be delivered within eight (8) in the morning and four (4) in the afternoon.

What subjects need to be covered in Home Education (and for how long) in California?

The California Education Code, Section 51210 encourages 1st to 6th graders to be instructed in:

  1. English – specifically reading and literature. Speaking and writing.
  2. Mathematics – includes theories, number problems, and solving situational challenges.
  3. Social Sciences – man’s interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, man and his environment, and political sciences
  4. Sciences – biology and ecology
  5. Fine Arts – includes drawing, painting, music, and anything that involves creative thinking
  6. Health – the basics of individual, societal, and family health
  7. Physical Education – time spent for improving strength and endurance that in turn helps the mind

The California Education Code, Section 51210 encourages 1st to 6th graders to be instructed in:

  1. English – appreciation for literature, writing, and composing.
  2. Social Sciences – economics, psychology, sociology, etc..
  3. Foreign Language – Spanish, French, etc.
  4. Physical Education – for the improvement of the body and mind
  5. Science – interrelation of all other sciences.
  6. Mathematics – theories and applied operational math
  7. Visual and Performing Arts – dancing, etc.
  8. Career technical education – in preparation for college or a career choice

What are the recordkeeping requirements for homeschoolers in California?

California homeschool laws require records of all names affiliated with the school, the address of the school, the location and keeper of the school records, and the grades of the students, as well as the credentials of teachers. These records are checked each year.  All homeschooling entities must comply with these requirements.

Is part-time enrollment permitted in California? 

In the California Education Code, Section 48200, it is mentioned that children between 6 and 18 are required to attend full-time education. A student must not miss the minimum required hours and days recognized by the state otherwise the child must attend a full-time public school. There is, however, no specific indication in the law regarding part-time enrollment in homeschool education, only required minimum hours and days within a year.

Are homeschoolers permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in California?

Homeschoolers may join clubs and/or extracurricular activities like bands, clubs and many more created by other homeschoolers. Public schools, however, are not necessarily required to allow homeschoolers to join their extracurricular activities.

Below is a quick short video about homeschooling in California:

Through widespread homeschool communities, the prospect of being part in sports is a big possibility. Many homeschool networks come together to create many extracurricular choices.

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