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How To Homeschool

Common Misinformation Promulgated by Public School Officials

"Homeschool parents must have state teacher certification."


When parents establish a private school in their home, teaching certification is not required. Likewise, if parents are homeschooling through a private ISP, certification is not required. Note in 48222, above, the precise wording is: "Children who are being instructed in a private full-time day school by persons capable of teaching shall be exempted." Teacher certification is not mandated and, of course, most private schools do not require teacher certification for their faculty members.

A few California parents homeschool under 48224 (below) regarding tutors. To be a tutor, the parent or individual must have state certification. The school official who insists that all homeschooling parents must be certified is confusing the requirements of tutoring with the less stringent requirements imposed on private schools.

Education Code 48224.
Children not attending a private, full-time, day school and who are being instructed in study and recitation for at least three hours a day for 175 days each calendar year by a private tutor or other person in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this state and in the English language shall be exempted. The tutor or other person shall hold a valid state credential for the grade taught. The instruction shall be offered between the hours of 8 o'clock a.m. and 4 o'clock p.m.


"Homeschooling parents must gain permission from their school district and the course of study must be reviewed and approved."
"The parents' application to homeschool was denied."


As you can see by reading the code sections above, no authority to approve private schools is conferred upon any government official. Verification that the school has complied with the 33190 requirement of filing an annual affidavit—known as the PSA—is all that is necessary for an enrolled student to be exempt from compulsory attendance at public school. Note in 48415: "The verification required by this section shall not be construed as an evaluation, recognition, approval, or endorsement of any private school or course."

Further, notice the absence of any authority to review the materials required by 33190 other than the annual affidavit, the R-4. Private schools are not required to submit their curricula, evaluation procedures, faculty records or even attendance records to any government official. You can check this by calling any traditional private school and requesting if they are mandated to submit such documentation to public school officials for approval. There is also no state requirement for achievement testing of private school students. Finally, note there are no criteria specified for denying private school status, or for appealing such a denial.

The fact is that private schools are not regulated by any government agency in the State of California, nor is there any approval process for California private schools. Therefore, if a family has established a private school by following 33190, (or is homeschooling by following 48224 regarding tutors) then their homeschool does not need government approval, and there is no application to submit that can be denied.


"Homeschools are not private schools because they don't enroll students other than their own children and they don't charge money for their services."


These distinctions have no relevance under the Education Code and no precedent in the courts. In 33192(i), we find this definition of private school: "'[P]rivate school' means a person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation offering or conducting private school instruction on the elementary or high school level." The code is silent on the issues of familial relationships between teachers and students and the profit picture of private schools. All that is required for an entity to be considered a private school is that it conducts instruction, which homeschools, of course, do.


"We need to see attendance records, curriculum and other materials to know if homeschoolers are complying with the compulsory school laws."


Review 48321.5(e) (below) regarding the powers of student attendance review boards (SARBs). Although the SARB has subpoena power, it cannot use this power in cases where it is verified that the child under investigation attends a private school. It cannot even subpoena attendance records. All they can do under the law is verify that an annual affidavit has been filed and ask if the children are in attendance. The law cannot be CLEARER that public school officials have no jurisdiction over private schools.

Education Code 48321.5 (e)

Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a county or local school attendance review board to issue a subpoena or request a subpoena to be issued for the production of written materials or the attendance of any person if it is verified that the minor pupil is enrolled and in regular attendance in a private school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that has filed an affidavit pursuant to Sections 33190 and 48222 of the Education Code.


Other Code Sections Sometimes Cited by School Officials

When homeschooling families file their annual R-4 affidavit and keep the records required by 33190, none of the code sections below are relevant.

48240-48246 Supervisors of Attendance

Establishes the position of "Attendance Supervisor" in public schools and outlines duties.

48260-48325 Truants

Defines and outlines mediation procedures and penalties for truancy. Establishes the Student Attendance Review Board.

48290-48296 Violations

Says that any complaint to a school district must be investigated, allows for criminal complaints against the parents of truants, lists fines for non-compliance with compulsory attendance laws.

Note: All code sections can be verified by going to any California law library and reviewing a copy of the California Education Code, or by visiting the Official California Law website.


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