Schooling at Home
In California, there are several ways that parents educate their children at home: through an existing private school, through a public charter or independent study program, and in many instances by opening their own private home based school and filing the Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education (CDE).
- General information about filing the private school affidavit
- Frequently Asked Questions on Schooling at Home
- Laws that apply to Private Schools
The CDE does not provide guidance on how to home school; however, a lot of information on all aspects of home schooling is available online to assist those who are educating their children at home. In addition there are other resources such as California homeschool organizations and possibly local homeschool groups or meet-ups. The websites for these groups include information on various topics related to homeschooling such as legal issues, curriculum, recordkeeping, transcripts and diplomas, and much more. When you use the internet to search the term “California Homeschool” you will note that there are various different homeschool advocacy groups, both California-based and national, that can be a resource.
Parents who file the private school affidavit to privately educate or "home school" their children must select and provide all curricular, instructional, and other materials.
California Education Code (EC), EC Section 33190 requires a copy of the Affidavit be kept at the school. Requirements of what must be included in the Affidavit are also outlined in EC Section 33190. EC Section 48222 states:
"The attendance of the pupils shall be kept by private school authorities in a register, and the record of attendance shall indicate clearly every absence of the pupil from school for a half day or more during each day that school is maintained during the year."
The following is for informational purposes only and provides links to educational resources related to public education.
The California Content Standards and Common Core Content Standards identify and describe the skills, knowledge, and abilities that all California students should be able to master at each grade level, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through grade twelve.
The California Curriculum Frameworks provide guidance on how to teach the standards.
Parents schooling at home and exploring a student’s next steps after high school might check with specific colleges, technical schools and prospective employers (e.g., branches of the U.S. military) to learn about student admission or eligibility. Understanding how post-secondary institutions and prospective employers recognize course work completed in alternative education settings is important for parents/guardians considering home school for their high school student.
Alternative diploma equivalencies for students not attending public school include the General Education Development (GED) Test and the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). For information about the GED and CHSPE, please visit the respective Web sites.
Filing the Private School Affidavit
A parent offering or providing private school instruction and who meets the requirements of EC Section 33190 shall file an Affidavit. Parents/guardians planning to file for an exemption to school at home should read the Frequently Asked Questions, “Schooling at Home."
To file the Private School Affidavit:
- Go to the online affidavit form
- Enter the requested information. You can leave Question #2 blank.
- When you have completed the form, click on the "Submit Form" button to save and submit the information.
- Ensure that a confirmation page appears.
- Print and retain the affidavit for your records.
The private school affidavit online form is available for filing throughout most of the year (with the exception of August/September when the system is being prepared for the next year). An affidavit must be filed annually; the annual affidavit covers the period of October 1-September 30.
- Some users have reported problems with the form while using google chrome browser; we recommend using another browser if available.
- If you enter an email address in item 9 you will receive a confirmation email with a link you can use to access the affidavit at any time.
You are not required to report to your school district. However, keeping in mind that the school district has responsibility for checking on school-age children not attending school, you might avoid confusion by informing the district that you intend to home school or privately educate your children.
Other Educational Options
Many public schools offer independent study or home-based study as an option. California has a growing number of charter schools which offer different types of schooling in non-traditional settings. To learn what options your local schools offer, start by asking the public school district in which you live what programs allow schooling at home. You might also contact other school districts near yours or your county office of education. If your district or county does not offer a program that a neighboring district or county offers, you may be able to obtain an inter-district transfer that allows your child to be registered in another district’s program.
Independent study is a different way of learning. In independent study, a student is guided by a teacher but usually does not take classes with other students every day. The student works independently. The contact for information for Educational Options/Independent Study is noted below:
Independent Study and Alternative Programs of Choice
Educational Options Office
California Department of Education
There are many public charter schools that offer more flexibility for students and parents and some that cater to those who are focusing on home-based instruction. You can search for charter schools using the California School Directory or the Charter School Locator.
Enrolling in Public School
Filing the affidavit does not affect your child’s right to return to public school, and may be done at any time.
For information on public school enrollment (including independent study) you may contact the local school district. If you are not sure what district you are in you can contact your county office of education.
Information regarding transferring to a school in California.
The Special Education Division at CDE provides technical assistance information and resources for parents, school districts, advocates, agencies and others of procedural safeguards regarding students between ages 3 and 21 with disabilities and their educational rights.
Toll-free Help Line: 800-926-0648; Weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
If after reading this information you feel you would like to speak to an education consultant in our office, please call our main line at 916-445-7331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be referred to a private school consultant who can advise on private home schooling.