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How To Homeschool

Frequently Asked Questions
For High School

Click on a topic below or scroll down to read
through the frequently asked questions list.

Required Coursework for Graduation
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
Receiving a Diploma
California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)
California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)
Driver's Education
Taking a Single Class or Sports at a Public School
Part Time Community College
Graduation and Prom
Work Permits

What courses must my child take to graduate from high school?

Private schools including home based private schools and private independent study programs create their own graduation requirements. If you are enrolled in a PSP, check with your school for requirements. Below are some resources to help your home based private school create graduation requirements:

Requirements to graduate from PUBLIC high school. Private high schools are not required to offer certain courses, but are not obligated to follow public high school graduation guidelines.

State by State High School Graduation Requirements. This is a list for comparison purposes of guidelines and rules for graduation from public high schools around the country.

California Department of Education Frequently Asked Questions: High School Graduates

University of California freshman admission requirements (a-g requirements)

Can homeschoolers take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and tests?

Advanced Placement courses are courses that either offer an in depth, advanced study of a subject, or explore subjects outside the scope of typical high school coursework. Students headed to college may want to take AP courses in order to facilitate testing out of some college coursework. AP courses on a transcript may also look appealing to college admissions officers. These courses may be taken through private schools, or through local community colleges. Enrolling in AP courses is NOT a requirement for college admission or for taking college Advanced Placement exams. Homeschoolers have the option of studying any subject in depth, at an advanced level, so even if your student hasn't taken courses labeled "AP", they may still opt to take AP exams at the college level to test out of coursework. Read more about AP courses on the College Board web site.

Can my child earn a diploma?

All schools, including home based private schools and public, charter and private independent study programs can issue a diploma once the requirements the school has set for graduation are completed. Private and public school independent study students are issued a diploma from their school when they have met the graduation requirements. You may also earn the equivalent of a public school diploma by taking the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE).

What is the CHSPE?

California Education Code section 48412 establishes the California High School Proficiency Exam as a means to earn the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. You may take the test if you are 16 years old OR if you have completed one year at the 10th grade level OR if you will complete one year at the 10th grade level in the semester the test is taken. You are no longer required to attend high school if you pass the test AND your parent/guardian is willing to allow you to stop attending. For further information or to register to take the test, go to


What is the CAHSEE?

This is the California High School Exit Examination. Students in public schools must take this test in order to graduate. Private school students including those enrolled in a private school independent study programs and home based private schools are not required to take the test.

Can homeschoolers take the SAT?

Yes. Homeschoolers may find testing centers, prep classes and register online for the SAT at the College Board Testing Site. Some other links on the College Board website that you may find helpful are:

Homeschoolers and the PSAT

Can we teach Driver's Ed at home?

Driver training consists of two parts -the classroom portion and behind the wheel training. Instruction may be done at home through your own school or it may be done at a driver training school. There are also online schools that offer the classroom portion of the instruction.

Once the classroom portion of the instruction is completed, the students must take the written test at the DMV to obtain a permit. You must be 15 1/2 years old to obtain a learner's permit.

Once you hold a permit, the first six hours of driving must be completed with a certified instructor. After the first six hours, the student can complete their driving practice with any licensed driver over 25. After 50 hours of driving time is logged, and the student is 16 yrs. old, they may take the behind the wheel portion of the driving test at the DMV to earn a license. Details on how the permit and licensing process works for students is available on the DMV Site.

Home based schools may register with the DMV to offer instruction or they may enroll their students in driver training schools. If your school would like to offer training from home, the school must register with the DMV. In 2010, the Department of Motor Vehicles took steps to formalize the process for providing driver training from home. CHN's description of these changes can be found here.


Can my child enroll in a single course or participate in band or sports at our local public high school?

This is a decision solely up to the public school. Most will not allow homeschoolers to participate unless they belong to a public independent study program. If you are not willing to join a public high school ISP, or one is not available in your area, you might check with private schools and programs in your area, or look into participation at the community college level.

For sports, the California Interscholastsic Federation (CIF) makes the rules for CIF affiliated schools, which includes all public schools. They have stated that homeschoolers are eligible to play only if they are enrolled in a public independent study program. If you intend to participate in sports at the college level, read the frequently asked questions section of the NCAA web page, and remember that there is a limit on the number of semesters a college student can compete, and community college sports do count towards that limit.

Can my child take community college classes while still enrolled in high school?

Most community colleges in California allow concurrent enrollment for high school students. Each college sets it own policy on this matter, so age requirements, available courses, fees and procedures vary from school to school. Most colleges require that concurrently enrolled students apply for admission and submit a special form from their high school authorizing the student to enroll. A new authorization form from the high school is usually required each semester, and a reapplication for admission is often required each semester. Students from home based private schools should apply as private school students, and the director or principal of the home based school may fill out the required paperwork signing as the school principal. Some colleges offer courses for free to students under 18yrs old, but some require these students pay regular tuition. Most colleges restrict concurrently enrolled students to two courses maximum per semester, but exceptions can be obtained from the counselor's office under some circumstances. Your home based private school, Private School Satellite Program (PSP) or public Independent Study Program (ISP) decides whether to issue high school credit, college credit, or both for the courses taken.

Can a homeschooler go directly from high school to college?

Yes, but each college or university sets its own rules for admission. Contact the admissions office of the colleges you are interested in and ask for admission requirements. Here are some resources you may find helpful:

College Board Planning Page. Resources to help your high school student prepare for college.

Federal Student Aid Application Site

California Student Aid Commission and CALGRANT Site

Scholarship Search

A List Of Colleges Known To Admit Homeschoolers

Can we participate in a graduation ceremony and/or a prom?

Homeschoolers sometimes come together for graduation ceremonies or proms. California Homeschool Network offers a graduation ceremony at the Family Expo every year. Details are available at the Expo graduation page. Check on your local support group loops for local ceremonies, proms and celebrations.


How can my child get a work permit?

California issues two types of work permits. One is referred to simply as a Work Permit and is used for most circumstances. The other is called the Entertainment Work Permit and is for entertainment industry related jobs only.

Entertainment Work Permit

Issued for work in the entertainment industry only by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DSLE). Information on this work permit is available on the DSLE website. A single form must be filled out and signed by the parent and by the school principal or administrator. The form is available online here. Once completed, the form should be stamped with a school stamp and mailed to your nearest DSLE office. A list of offices is available on the website. Urgently needed permits may be obtained by walk-in at select offices listed on the website.

Work Permit

As a result of the passage of AB 66 last fall, a new law regarding work permits went into effect on January 1, 2010. The Below are some answers to frequently asked questions. You can find answers to more frequently asked questions direct from the California Department of Education on the CDE website.

1. Who needs a work permit?

Generally, children who are employed and who are under age 18 need a work permit. There are exceptions; some of the most common exceptions include:
• no permit is needed for a student who has graduated from high school or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam even if the student is under 18 years old
• work permits are not needed for minors who are self-employed,
• work permits are not needed for minors working in agricultural or domestic jobs where their parents own, operate, or control the business.

2. If my child already has a work permit, does he need a new one after January 1?

No. Work permits are valid until five days after the opening of the next school year. So permits already issued during the 2009-2010 school year will continue to be valid throughout the current school year. Of course, if a student changes jobs, he will need a new permit since each permit is issued only for a particular job location.

3. Where should my student obtain a work permit?

Beginning on January 1, 2010, all public and private school principals who self-certify that they understand the laws related to work permits may issue work permits to students enrolled in their schools. The principal may also authorize another administrator to issue the permits. This means that most students will obtain a work permit from their own schools. However, school principals and administrators cannot issue permits to their own children. So in a situation where the principal’s own child attends his school, the principal will have to arrange for a different administrator to issue the permit to the principal’s son or daughter. Additionally, this other administrator will need to be authorized by the principal to issue permits and will have to meet the self-certification requirement described later in this article.

4. Will all private and public schools issue the work permits?

No. In order to issue work permits, the principal or other administrator will have to self-certify that he understands the requirements in existing law for issuing a work permit. Some schools will not have anyone on staff who is familiar with the laws governing work permits, and so will choose not to issue permits at all. Others may be willing to issue permits eventually, but must first familiarize themselves with the laws so that they can complete the certification.

5. If my student’s school does not issue work permits, is there some other way she can obtain a permit?

Yes. Under the new law, if a student’s school does not issue permits, the student may obtain a permit from one of the following sources:
5.1.1. the superintendent of the school district in which the student resides, or
5.1.2. any work experience education teacher or person who holds a services credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services, so long as the person issuing the permit has written authorization by the school district superintendent to issue permits.

6. If my student’s school does not issue work permits, and we don’t live in an area under a school district authority, is there another way to get a permit?

Yes. If the student lives in an area not covered by a school district, and if the student does not attend a charter school, he may obtain a permit from one of these sources:

(1) the county superintendent of schools, or
(2) any certificated work experience education teacher or coordinator, or any person who holds a services credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services, so long as the person issuing the permit is authorized by the county superintendent of schools in writing.

7. Can homeschooled children obtain work permits?

Yes. However since parents cannot issue work permits to their own children, homeschooled students must get permits from an administrator other than their own parents. In the case of a homeschooled student who is enrolled in a public school program, including a charter school, the procedure will be exactly the same as for all other public school students who attend campus programs. In the case of a homeschooled student who is enrolled in a private school satellite program (PSP), the PSP principal (or other administrator authorized by the principal) may issue the permit, as long as the permit is not going to his own child. In the case of a single family private school where parents operate their own private school, the parents will have several options. They can send their child to one of the alternative sources listed in Questions 5 or 6 for a permit, or the parents could engage an additional administrator to issue permits.

8. How would it work for homeschooling parents have an additional administrator to issue permits?

Nothing in the law prohibits a private school from hiring additional administrators at any time. Thus, a homeschool parent who is the principal of his own family-sized school could add an administrator to his school staff. In order for the new administrator to issue permits, he must meet the self-certification process described below and must be authorized by the principal to issue permits. Further, nothing requires that school administrators work full-time, nor that they are paid employees, so the additional administrator could be a part-time volunteer. However, if an administrator is paid, he would have to meet the criminal record summary requirements of Education Code Section 44237.

9. If we decide to add an administrator to our homeschool program for the purpose of issuing work permits to our own children, do we need to file a new affidavit?

No. Affidavits are required to be filed just once each year. The affidavit provides a statistical “snap shot” of your school as it existed on a particular date between October 1-15. You do not need to file again every time your school information changes. Any new information will be reflected on next year’s affidavit. Additionally, the affidavit does not require that every administrator be listed by name. Only a couple of key administrators are identified by name on the affidavit form; the rest are simply included in the tally showing total number of administrators. So for the next year, the only item likely to change as a result of adding an administrator is the total number of administrators in your school.

10. What is the certification process for principals and administrators?

The new law requires that principals and administrators who issue work permits “shall provide a self-certification that he or she understands the requirements in existing law for issuing a work permit.” The certification process is described in the Work Permit Handbook for California Minors which can be obtained by request from the California Department of Education from the CDE website.

11. Does any other paperwork have to be given to the local school district superintendent?

Yes. A copy of each issued work permit must be given to the local school district superintendent, who has the authority to revoke a permit becomes aware that the student is not legally eligible for a work permit.

12. Where does a principal or administrator find the legal requirements for work permits that he is supposed to understand in order to complete the certification process?

Currently the most concise presentation is in the CDE’s publication, “Work Permit Handbook for California Schools.” However, this handbook is being updated to reflect current law and the new version is not yet available at the writing of this article. The old 2009 version has misinformation about homeschooling and describes the process for obtaining permits under the old law. So until a newer edition is available, principals will have to use the old book for information on appropriate work sites, hours, and other information, but ignore the out-dated perspective on homeschooling.

13. Isn’t there a change in work hours under the new law?

Yes and No. Under the old law, students could work a prescribed number of hours each day and week based on whether the public school was in session. Under the new law, the hours a student can work are linked to the school in which the student is enrolled. So there is no change for public school students. However, the new law allows flexibility where a private school schedule is not the same as that of the public schools. Again, the CDE’s work permit handbook reflects the old information.

14. Where does a private school principal get the work permit forms to issue?

Forms are available in the Work Permit Handbook for California Minors which can be obtained by request on the CDE website. The individual forms are also available for download on this site. Three forms are needed. They are Form B1-1, “Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit,” Form B1-4 “Permit to Employ and Work,” and the self-certification form if a school principal or administrator plans to apply to issue a permit. The B1-1 is taken by the minor to the employer who intends to hire the minor. The form is filled out and taken to the principal or administrator who will issue the work permit. The B1-4 form is the actual work permit. It is filled out and signed by the principal or administrator who has received the B1-1 and approves the minor’s employment. Again, the CDE handbook covers all the requirements and explanations for these two forms.

15. What is the CDE’s website?

The main CDE website is Currently the page that covers work permit information is You may email your request for thw Work Permit Handbook for California Minors or for further information to the email address shown on their work permit page.

What is a transcript, and how do we get one?

A transcript is simply a list of courses completed. If you belong to a PSP, you can requrest a copy of your transcript. If you are the administrator of your home based private school, it will be your responsibility to create a transcript for your student. There is no one format for a high school transcript. Your transcript may be similar to the traditional list of courses your local public high school offers, or it may look more like a resume or a portfolio. Most traditional transcripts include the school's name, address, student's name and identifying information at the top, and then list all courses taken and their completion dates. Some also list credits and grades earned.

A home based private school is not required to issue credit units. If you do want to list credits, credit for courses in high school is often awarded using the Carnegie Unit. One Carnegie Unit is usually defined as 120-190 hours of instruction time over the course of a year. One typical year long course would earn the student one credit. A semester long course would earn 1/2 credit. A student at a school using Carnegie Units and requiring a total of 24 courses for graduation would need a minimum of 24 credits listed on their transcript. One semester of a community college class is usually awarded a full year credit on a high school transcript.

Not all schools issue letter grades, and not all transcripts list grades. If you do not want to issue grades, you may place a note on your transcript explaining that letter grades are subjective, so credit for each course is awarded when the material has been completed to the school's satisfaction. If you wish to assign letter grades, the College Board has a white paper that may provide some helpful information. If you assign grades, you may want to list a GPA on your transcript. For a standard A-F grade assignment where A equals 4 points, B equals 3 points, C equals 2 points, and D equals 1 point: Convert your grade for the course to points. Multiply those points by the number of credits the class was worth. Add up all the points from all your classes. Divide that number by the total number of credits you took.


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