How to Start Homeschooling in California

Now that we are through the first half of the school year it appears to be a great time to make a change. What kind of change, you ask? It is a great time to pull your kids out of public school and start homeschooling them.

Aren’t you tired of your kids coming home with outrageous ideas? Tired of having to do everything according to the public school’s schedule? Well, you have options.

Why am I writing this “how to” post? Well, I have a friend who is pulling her kid out of school and I know she isn’t the only one. So if you need a little guidance read on.

First, this is a how to for someone who is going to do it alone in the State of California. Meaning no “homeschooling” group, you are responsible for everything. This is not legal advice but a gleaning of all the information I have. You can read further here.

So you need to get a file folder and put the following information in it.

  • An attendance record that has your child’s absences only.
  • Have a resume for yourself and/or your spouse that includes any schooling or training you have. (There is not an educational requirement, you just need to have some background proof of some) You also could put in a copy of your transcripts or diploma of your highest level of education.
  • You also need to have 2 state forms completed regarding health and immunization issues. They can be found here. You can also exempt out of the immunizations (on the first form) and fill out an exemption for the exam.

Then you will need to file a PSA (Private School Affidavit), which some of us still refer to by the outdated R4 name. You can go over to A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling to walk you through the form, if you have any questions. Everything is done and submitted on the computer. You need to print off a copy and keep your confirmation code (just in case).

(Here is the 2017-2018 Walk Through)

So what else is expected of you? You will also have to instruct in English (unless your student is currently learning English, in which case it needs to be at least 50%). You will also have to make sure you teach at least the “accepted” subjects. You can go to the Content Standards on the Education Department’s site to get grade level goals (though not required). You also need to keep a basic course list. Mine is basically a book list.

The subjects for 1st to 6th (there aren’t rules for kindergarten):

  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • Health
  • PE

That is it! Remember, we have all seen the current school system so it can’t be that hard! Good Luck!

29 Comments on “How to Start Homeschooling in California”

  • Anonymous August 26th, 2010 9:55 pm

    Twitter Trackbacks…

  • Homeschool Omnibus | NerdFamily Blog September 6th, 2010 4:21 pm

    […] How to Start Homeschooling in California […]

  • It Is That Time | NerdFamily Blog October 2nd, 2011 10:46 pm

    […] And if you are new to the game, here is how to start homeschooling in California! […]

  • Anne Gregor September 8th, 2014 4:12 am

    Great article. Just to add, another exciting part of homeschooling is that you get to see the best parts of your kids as they grow and learn. We get to see the great art works as they are produced, we have the thrill of hearing them read new words for the first time and we are there when the penny drops and they grasp a new concept or are able to solve a difficult problem.

    Anne
    http://HomeschoolingOption.com/

  • Angela January 27th, 2015 11:13 am

    This sounds great! I have a couple of questions though… If I want to begin homeschooling now, what do I do about the affidavit if I can only file it in October? Or is that just for the online form? Can I pull my kid out of school anytime and legally begin homeschooling her? Thanks!

  • NerdMom January 28th, 2015 11:04 am

    I believe that you can print out the form and mail it in. The only time to submit it online is those 15 days. You can pull your child out any time during the school year.

  • Jen February 23rd, 2015 12:07 pm

    THANK YOU for making it short, sweet, and to the point! I just needed the basics and this was perfect.

  • Jen February 24th, 2015 12:26 am

    I wonder how often people fill out the exemption for the exam? My kid is poked and prodded and seen regularly by specialists. Now I have to make a special trip to the germ-depot to get a guy who barely knows my kid (he’s seen the pediatrician TWICE in his life). He is incredibly difficult to get blood from – I’m not doing bloodwork just for bureaucracy. We wait until he has one of his scoped under anesthesia he gets a couple or three times a year and frankly, there may be other tests we deem more important than what is on some list so maybe they’ll wait. This really bothers me that I have even have to worry about any of this. I am wondering if it sends up a red flag that you don’t want to submit that silly medical evaluation form?

  • NerdMom February 24th, 2015 3:33 pm

    Now the exemption has to be signed by the doctor saying you have been counseled about vaccinations. But there is no blood draws or anything like that either way.

  • Lori March 27th, 2015 7:09 pm

    I live in California also and I enrolled my daughter in a private school program who technically will take care of everything but it is in Washington. According to the law, I need to file the affidavit, but will I need to keep a physical copy of the records the program will maintain with me?

  • NerdMom March 27th, 2015 9:20 pm

    You need to ask the school if they are filing for you in California. If not, I would just keep on the safe side. But that is a guess. I don’t know for sure.

  • Cecil Jack October 7th, 2015 12:28 pm

    Hi, Thank you for the insightful article. It helped us register for our daughter to be home schooled. I do have a question for you? What happens after you receive your affidavit confirmation? Do we wait to hear back from the CDE on approval of our School. Will the CDE give us a guideline or set of course modules that will help guide us through the school year?
    Thank you, Cecil

  • NerdMom October 7th, 2015 1:02 pm

    You only submit it, you get nothing back. You are all on your own!

  • Kim January 7th, 2016 8:35 pm

    Just wanted to say a thanks for the great article!!! We’ve decided to take our daughter out of Kinder half way through the year and appreciate the guidance! It definitely is a little overwhelming and I love how you broke it down! Thanks Momma!

  • Jennifer February 27th, 2016 10:23 pm

    Nice article, just the information I was seeking. I’m looking into homeschooling my children. I have a question, so after I sign up for the PSA, Affidavit, and get their health forms what happens next? And will there be someone I will need to report to monthly to check in and see what they’ve learned so far and learning according to age? Will I ever need to actually “turn in” paper work of their learnings material to someone?

  • NerdMom February 28th, 2016 9:25 am

    If you are independent, you are independent. You do keep some records in case children’s services show up or in case you put your child back in school. If you want to use state requirements as your guideline (many don’t), you just need to look online. California has all their basic educational guidelines on line and public.

  • Melissa April 5th, 2016 2:12 pm

    I am looking into homeschool for my 5 year old in CA. I was considering enrolling him in a independent homeschool program run by a charter school, I feel way under qualified as a teacher. I’ve been searching for helpful information and I appreciate your website. So if I’m understanding correctly, by setting up my own private school, I don’t have to follow the common core curriculum and can use the workbooks I’ve seen online and from from schoalstic etc to teach him? My son seems really frustrated when I try to teach him, he’s spent a lot of time learning on the ipad, so when I get out paper and books, he acts tired and thus worries me for his education. I’ve seen some other websites that provide curriculum and you supplement along the way, it’s all just so much information, I don’t know what to pick. Any thoughts?

  • NerdMom April 5th, 2016 9:41 pm

    First and foremost, relax! You don’t even legally have to have your child in school until they are 6. I focus on reading and basic math skills until they are reading. I love Get Ready, Get Set, Go For the Code workbooks and Bob reading books.

  • Maria Cruz August 10th, 2016 4:21 pm

    Thank you for the useful information! I am however a bit confused with the PSA, I went to the A to Z link and clicked on there sample and got overwhelmed with the questions. One that I was really confused with was with the school information oh and the administrative information. Im sure I am making a bigger deal than it is but M daughter starts school next Tuesday and I will leave her in public school until October when the PSA is filed. I am assuming that is how it works…. Sorry i just think its a lot of information at once.

  • NerdMom August 10th, 2016 11:20 pm

    You don’t start her in public at all this year. You will just file in October. Here is a walk through video I did last year! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN2gpqZvxug

  • Nia October 5th, 2016 1:02 am

    Hello, due to the new immunization laws in ca. Can we still sign waive form?

  • NerdMom October 5th, 2016 9:43 am

    I believe that you can do a waiver but your doctor has to sign it saying that they counseled you.

  • Nicolette October 10th, 2016 9:27 am

    Hi, I was just curious how quickly I can withdraw my child from the current public school she is attending after submitting the affidavit? Thanks!

  • NerdMom October 10th, 2016 3:43 pm

    You don’t have to file the affidavit before you withdraw your student at all.

  • Natasha October 12th, 2016 9:39 pm

    Hi! I’m completely lost when it comes to homeschooling! It all seems so overwhelming but I really want to take the leap with my 9 year old and hopefully we become a pro by the time I have to include my 3 smaller children. Do you use your own curriculum? Can you recommend a good source for curriculum?

  • NerdMom October 13th, 2016 10:47 am

    I use a little of everything. For kids that age I used Story of the World and Singapore. Here is a collection of my big homeschool posts. http://www.nerdfamily.com/homeschool-omnibus/

  • Joe Fabeetz February 19th, 2017 10:05 am

    I am concerned about my nephew. For the sake of his privacy, I will refer to my nephew as Jake. Jake is being taken out of school by his mother’s mother. The grandmother is caring for him because Jake’s parents are derelict. The grandma has been awarded guardianship by the courts in CA.. However, Jake’s grandmother is not a highly motivated individual. She “home-schooled” Jake’s mother years ago and Jake’s mother is a mess. She clearly does not have education in mind when taking Jake from school. Grandma claims that she does not trust the public schools to educate Jake. IMO she does not want to get up in the morning and take him to school. She does not like to help Jake do his homework, this I have seen first hand when I was in CA. visiting. It is all a huge inconvenience for her. I want to ask of the bloggers here, what can I ask grandma in regards to school requirements in CA.? Can she legally just take him out of school mid-year like she did without having a structured curriculum in place? I have asked Jake how he likes his new “school” and he says they do not do anything during the school day. Most days my nephew is left home with a 22 yr. old male figure who smokes pot and plays video games all day. Grandma is home ‘occasionally’ but nothing structured. Jake talks about playing Hot Wheels and counting all his cars as math work. I am sick with dread. My brother thinks he cannot stand up for his son because he is on probation. He thinks the courts will not listen to him. My brother has had trouble with drugs and jail but he has a right to say his son Jake needs to be in a real school. What can Uncle Joe do for Jake?

  • NerdMom February 24th, 2017 4:04 pm

    There isn’t a lot you can ask grandma to make sure she is doing what you think is right for school. If she is his legal guardian she can pull him out of school as long as she either filed an affidavit with the state or added him to someone else’s.

    Speaking to the concerns of unfitness. Public school doesn’t fix that. There are many kids in public school who are neglected and the school doesn’t notice or fix it. If you think she is unfit or neglecting him, act. This isn’t a homeschool issue at all. If you just don’t like the fact he is being homeschooled (or isn’t been educated as you would) just let it go. Consider carefully if you should get the government involved and I would urge you to not over react but also don’t throw your hands up in inaction.

    And call over there and talk to your nephew. Maybe you could offer to help with his homework or teach him something.

  • Holly Dickerson September 30th, 2017 7:21 pm

    I just wanted to drop in and say THANK YOU! This page right here made me so much less intimidated. WE DID IT! Filed the PSA today. We are in our 2nd month on our homeschool journey.

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