So you are thinking of homeschooling.. you’ve weighed the pros and cons and you have decided to go for it. Good for you! Now you have to find out how to do it legally. Here’s the thing, you can get into some pretty nasty trouble if you decide to just not take your kids to school. While I dislike the idea of people sticking their noses in my business, I dislike the idea of living in a society that condones children not getting an education even more. I’m all for the State checking in on us homeschoolers from time to time and ensuring that our youngsters aren’t sitting in a closet somewhere as long as we are left alone to educate our children we see fit, assuming we at least meet the standards. To me, this is reasonable.
In my state, California, there are basically two ways to legally homeschool your kids:
- Open your own “private school” for your pupil(s).
- Go through a Charter School
NOTE: Make certain to look at homeschool laws BEFORE beginning. A quick Google search is all it takes.
Initially, I opted for option 1. I filled out a form and submitted it. The form is called a Private School Affidavit (PSA) and can be found on the California Department of Education website here: PSA . I did the online form and found it to be very easy. There’s some files you have to keep up, but for elementary school it’s pretty basic. You need:
- PSA – must be submitted yearly in the first week of October
- Immunizations Records
- Attendance records
- Educational records. (just keep stuff like your child’s workbooks or online progress reports and art)
We had a lot of fun, and I kept the girls busy with loads of field trips in addition to our daily activities. I’m a big fan of physical fitness, so we spent half of pretty much every day at the park. Eventually, though, that didn’t seem to be enough.
Concerned about socialization for my kids, I decided to enroll them in one of the local homeschool classes. After chatting with some of the other parents, I quickly learned I was the only one paying out of pocket. They introduced me to a Charter School called Ocean Grove. For those interested, here’s their link: Ocean Grove Charter School . I signed up with them and now homeschooling is even easier. The paperwork is handled by the school, and I get to do the fun stuff. We also receive funds, which we can spend at our discretion for curriculum, classes, art supplies, and even computer “stuff”. In return, we take three assessment tests per year. There is one at both the beginning and end of the school year for the school, and another one at the end of the year for the state. We could opt out of these tests, but testing helps the school and I’m all for that. It also helps me in my role as a teacher being able to see where my kiddos fall on the scale.
I still had a lot of questions, so I attended a local CHEA homeschooling conference. It was immensely inspirational. (Link here: CHEA) Most of the speakers were longtime homeschoolers and former teachers. Sessions covered how to homeschool legally in fantastic detail, and amazing teaching ideas. I felt as if a whole world had been opened up to me. Probably the best thing I took away from the CHEA convention is the knowledge that others have been very successful homeschooling, and there’s no reason we can’t be also. Even if you are not Christian, at the very least, check out the CHEA site. There is a mass of great info there.
If you have questions on homeschooling, please email me at email@example.com. (It’s in my contact info as well)