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How to Homeschool In California

California, there is no legally-defined entity known as a "homeschool.” Instead of having a separate “homeschool” law, California is one of 12 states in which homeschoolers operate as private schools. Private schools can be legally established and operate in the home just as some private schools operate on a campus. Thus, in order to be consistent with the law of our state, do not use the term "homeschool" with public school officials; rather, refer to your private homeschool as simply a “private school.”

Under the California Education Code (E. C.) all children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend a public full-time day school unless they are exempted (E.C. §48200) Note that kindergarten attendance is not required.

The general rule is that children between ages 6 and 18 must attend public school. However, remember that the law provides exemptions from this rule. While there are other exemptions, each of the four options below applies to homeschoolers.

  • Option 1: Start your own private school. Home educators may establish private schools in their own homes. The law requires private schools to file a Private School Affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction. (See Filing A Private School Affidavit for details.)

  • Option 2: Enroll in an Private School Satellite Program offered by an existing private school. The private school offering a Private School Satellite Program must meet the same legal exemption and requirements as Option 1. Such Private School Satellite Programs ( PSPs ) may be composed entirely of home educators or be an extension program of a campus-based private school.

    There is no more or no less legal protection or covering in our current Education Codes for either option 1 or 2. Families enrolled in out-of-state schools or programs are still required by state law to be enrolled in a California private school (home-based or PSP) with a California address for it s location.

    (For a local PSP go to the Homeschool Directory.)

  • Option 3: Arrange for private tutoring done by a California credentialed teacher . The credential must be for the appropriate grade level and teaching must be in the courses of study required in the public schools. Tutoring must be done for at least three hours a day for at least 175 days per year. Private school enrollment isn't required for the use of a tutor. (E.C. § 48224)

  • Option 4: Enroll in a charter school or independent study through the public school. The student must be enrolled in the public school and work under a written agreement that specifies minimum requirements. Families who choose this option are totally under the authority of the public school, since their children are enrolled in the public school.


This material adapted from An Introduction to Home Education. For more details, go to Summary of the Law.


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