by Katie Julius

We are so excited to see a continuing rise in new homeschooling families who are eager to leave the public school system behind. We know many are doing so without having adequate time to research and become familiar with homeschool laws and terminology. We thought we would take the opportunity to “myth-bust” a few common misconceptions about private homeschooling in California.

1. Homeschooling is expensive.

Many are reluctant to homeschool privately because of the concern with finances – both the cost of curriculum and materials as well as the potential for lost income if one parent leaves a job or takes a reduction in hours to focus on the education of their children. This is a valid concern, but it’s a misconception that homeschooling is expensive. Most veteran homeschool parents will tell you that they probably spend a few hundred dollars each year on education costs. There are quality low cost curriculum options as well as free resources (especially if you have children in elementary). A library is a great resource for gathering books (both fiction and nonfiction) to read together and explore various subjects.

2. The term “homeschool” is a legal term in California.

This is one that surprises many families. Homeschool is NOT a legal term in California, the reason that CHEA recommends most families not use this term when unenrolling their children from the current school. Not only can it cause confusion with school employees, but it can make the process more difficult for you. Students are enrolled in either a public or private school in California. Those who privately “homeschool” are actually legally enrolled in a private school – whether a PSP or your own single-family private school, if you file a PSA.

3. I have to meet standards or provide proof of learning to my district/state.

State standards and graduation requirements found on the CDE website are only required/expected of public schools (including charter schools). One of the reasons many privately homeschooling parents choose the private route is because they do not have to follow the standards set by the state. They are able to work at their child’s pace – there is no “ahead” or “behind” when homeschooling. You can take time with your kids to explore a subject more in depth, step back from school in the event of a family emergency, or work on advanced topics with gifted students.

4. Homeschooling is just doing school at home.

I see this a lot on social media – elaborately decorated school rooms that mimic a traditional classroom setting, schedules that have kids at their desks from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. each day. It’s hard to imagine school any other way than what we, as parents, experienced. I, myself, STILL struggle with this (publicly schooled with a degree in education). Homeschooling is a life-style. It’s incorporating learning into everyday life – from baking, to exploring outdoors, to reading great literature together. I challenge you to try doing “school” outside of your designated school space for a few days and see how much more your kids are learning through their experiences rather than a textbook.

There are other “myths” about homeschooling. We only touched on a few today. We invite you to check out our New to Homeschool Digital Content Pass that includes recordings of our webinars and events that we believe will be beneficial to those new to homeschooling – and it’s completely free! And if you still have questions or aren’t sure about things, you can give us a call in the office, shoot us an email, or join the conversation in the Homeschool California Facebook group.