Hold on to your hats!
"Parents Interested in Home Schooling" in Sonoma County received a letter in March that signals that we are once again in for a battle in California as school officials try to find ways to stop the growth of home schooling under the private school exemption. The letter states:
Under advisement of the California Department of Education, the Sonoma County Office of Education no longer issues and files Private School Affidavits (R-4) for parents who are instructing their children at home. Home schooling is not authorized in California. However, there are three choices available to parents who want to provide a setting other than a public school classroom:
1. Independent study through the local public school system . . .
2. Private full-time day school . . .
3. Private tutoring . . .
Local school districts have the responsibility of ensuring that all compulsory school age children in the district are either in attendance at a public school or are legally exempt. The local school district is authorized to investigate any complaint against parents for violating compulsory attendance laws.
The DOE's standard position is that legal home schooling can only be done by a certified teacher or through a public school program. HSLDA's position is that the department is clearly wrong.
If this is any indication of what we can expect to see from county offices of education, then hold onto your hats! The next school year is going to be very interesting. Don't panic, but keep us informed of any unusual communication you have with your county or school district.
Pray for California, that we can preserve the freedoms we have under the private school law. Pray for those in leadership and policymaking positions in the department of education. Pray for the new home schoolers who will doubtless be intimidated by these tactics. Pray for God's direction in making home school decisions for your family. And pray for us at HSLDA, that God will go before us and fight the battle.
- J. Michael Smith