How To Homeschool In California?

If you live in state of California and you may wonder how you can homeschool your children legally and worry free. As any experience homeschooling may know tricks and tips on homeschool laws and support systems but Many new and potential homeschoolers may have questions on how they can homeschool in California. Here are a few ways you can establish and homeschool your child/children legally.

How To Homeschool in California?


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There are four ways to legally homeschool your children. First is setting up your own private school, second is PSP also known as Private school Satellite Program, Third is Independent Study program through Public school or Charter school, Finally fourth is credential tutor or teacher. Let’s look at each in more details.

Homeschool Option 1: PSA (Private School Affidavit)

PSA or R4 as it used to be known among homeschool crowd means setting up your own private and personal (only for your kids) school you can educate kids at home via Private School Affidavit. So what does it mean? Lets suppose you have kids enrolled in public school and you withdraw your kids, you set up a private school and ask for school records. As a school, you should be required to keep records of schooling but it is not too difficult and easy to do.

Your private school name and address will be public record when you file PSA, you will just have a as many students as your own school age kids from first grade onwards. Kindergarten is not mandatory in California. You may have answer any inquiry required by state regarding your schooling and may have to teach mandated subjects such as social studies, math, language arts, reading and science.

PSA can be attractive for many homeschoolers as it gives most freedom on education choices, however a few things to note;

  1. You have choice of how to educate your child, more freedom of choice
  2. You maintain school records, vaccine records, grades etc
  3. You spend money as little as or as much you can afford when you have your own school
  4. As it is very independent, social and support system is must, at least initially to not feel lost

Some people may file PSA through correspondence school, as this option is available.

Homeschool Option 2: PSP : Private School Satellite Program

To simply explain PSP, PSP is private school which has filed affidavit as a school (not as personal family), and when you file PSP with that school, you simply becomes a teacher in that school in sense. Your name and address may not appear in school name but school is required to keep records including such as attendance and school study records which you send to PSP.

Important Things to note for PSP;

  1. Most of the details and paperwork filed and managed by PSP, you as a teacher to share info on your child’s education
  2. More support system is provided compared to option 1
  3. Record keeping and curriculum choices may vary depending on PSP
  4. Some PSP may offer park days, field trip or newsletter to help parents and kids.
  5. Parent pays of all tuition and fees for curriculum and educational material

Homeschool Option 3: ISP (Independent Study Program) or Charter School

Many public schools  or charter school in California offers ISP Programs, what it means that your child is part of a public school and you will be considered teacher’s aide and assigned a credential teacher to oversee your educating your child for the state required course work and material. You will get to educate your child at home or through professional vendors classes and share records and information needed by ISP or Charter school.

Important Thing to note for ISP or Charter School to know;

  1. If you are new or planning to homeschool for short span, this option may work the best for you
  2. school course work can be loaned to you which needs to returned back
  3. Parent have to sign the agreement to follow California state education rules and star testing
  4. May offer least or some what restrictive guideline on how to teach your kids, you may have some leeway
  5. No religious material or religious instruction can be taught during school hours. You can teach off school hours and does not need to be on school records.

Homeschool Option 4: Become a Credential Teacher

As seen in above 3 options, as a parent you do not need to be a credential teacher to teach your OWN kids, however if you get California Teacher or Tutor credentials you can teach your child under private school.

Important thing to note about option 4 is;

  1. You can teach only the grade you have credential for.
  2. You can hire credential tutor or teacher to homeschool your child, paying fees from your own pocket.
  3. School has to be taught between 8 am to 4 pm and school year should have 175 days of school teaching days
  4. It can get expensive, especially if you hire someone to teach your child or get credential for grade 1-12.

So, now you have all the options in front of you, you can choose one the suite you the best. Once you have more experience as homeschooling parent, you will have more confidence in yourself as a teacher and in your homeschooling.

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