Establishing Your Private School
Home educators may establish a private school based in their home by
filing a Private School Affidavit with the California Department
of Education (CDE).
Where and When to File the PSA
The Private School Affidavit may be filed online at the California
Department of Education website from October 1st to October
15th of every year. Schools that are created after the filing
period should file at the time the school is established.
The CDE usually leaves the form up until early spring. If
you need to file your affidavit and cannot do so electronically
(or choose not to), you can still file a Statement
Need help filling out the PSA? CHN has information pages
that may be downloaded to assist in filling out your PSA.
by line instructions for completing
the online PSA are available for download.
(This information was updated for 2012.)
How the Private School Affidavit Works
The affidavit does not license, evaluate, recognize, approve
of, or endorse a private school. The State of California accredits
neither public nor private schools. The affidavit itself is
a statistical tool, and necessary to effect the pupil's exemption
from compulsory public school enrollment and attendance. By
filing an affidavit you are showing intent to establish a
private school, and informing the state, as required by law.
Parents have been legally using this provision for many years
to conduct their own home-based private schools.
California Private School Requirements
Education Code sections
set the criteria for a private school. The following legal requirements apply to
all private schools regardless of size:
- The administrator of every private school must file an affidavit with the
Superintendent of Public Instruction between October 1st and October 15th of
- Private school instructors must be "capable of teaching." There is, however,
no requirement in the CA Education Code that mandates that teachers in a private
school setting hold a state teaching credential or have the equivalent training.
- The names and addresses, including city and street, of the faculty must be
kept on file, as must a record of the educational qualifications of each instructor.
- Instruction must be in English.
- Instruction must be offered "in the several branches of
study required to be taught in the public schools." The
materials and methods you use to teach these areas are up
to you. You are not required to teach every subject as long
as it is offered and available to the student:
- Grades 1-6: English, math, social sciences, science, fine arts,
health and phys ed.
- Grades 7-12: All that is included in the above plus: foreign
language, applied arts, vocational ed and drivers ed.
CHN's School Record Keeping page
has links to forms and examples to help you understand the
record keeping requirements.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
Should I file a PSA for Preschool and/or
Kindergarten attendance is not mandatory in California. A child is subject to
compulsory education and entry into the first grade in September if his sixth
birthday falls on or before December 2 of the same year.
You may, of course, teach your pre-schooler and five year
old at home. Do not, however, indicate enrollment of these
children on your affidavit.
Should I file
a PSA if I am using a correspondence school?
In some instances, yes, you may need to file a PSA. Families
enrolled in out-of-state programs are required by law to be
enrolled in a California private school. Sometimes, the program
has an office in California, and files the PSA. If it doesn't,
it will be up to you to file an affidavit or enroll in a Private
School Satellite Program (PSP) in order to work in conjunction
with one of these programs.
Am I required to
submit a fingerprint check?
According to California Educational Code §44237(b)(4),
the fingerprinting requirement does not apply to a "parent
or legal guardian working exclusively with his or her own
children." CHN uncovered this information in 1999, and homeschoolers
have been spared this nuisance and expense ever since. For
those who wonder why they should bother joining a state group,
this is a perfect example. As an organized group, we are making
my county or school district asks for further information
from me, what should I do?
Sometimes a polite reminder is necessary that the only information
that the state can ask of private schools is that which is
listed in California Education §33190.
Who should file a PSA?
File an affidavit if your child is not in a public school
program (charter school or ISP) and you have not enrolled
your child in a Private School Satellite Program
to file every year between October 1-15.
I still have questions, what should I do?
If you still have questions, call your
CHN Local Contact or The Homeschool Hot Line at
(800)327-5339 for more information. Email
the legal rights committee about any problems you may
have with Department of Education officials.