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May / June 2004

The Best Preventative Medicine

What are mandatory reporters?

Quick tickets to a social services investigation

Freedom watch

Same-sex marriage: Not a tangential battle
Across the states
About campus

"Intelligence" takes on new meaning
Active cases
Members only

Wanted: Words from the wise
Around the globe

Netherlands victory

Canadian Supreme Court affirms parental rights
Presidents Page

Not in vain


HSLDA social services contact policy/A plethora of forms

HSLDA legal inquiries

Prayer & Praise

On the other hand: a Contrario Sensu




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Is it really a law?

As Home School Legal Defense Association has advised thousands of members over the years, we have increasingly realized just how vitally important it is for every homeschooling family to clearly understand what their state law requires. We know that homeschool families across America have varying personal convictions about whether or not they should comply with their state law, and we fully respect their stand. However, before deciding whether to comply, it is very important that families know for certain what their state law actually says about homeschooling.

Many California homeschooling families inform us "they were told" by another homeschool family that the requirement to file a private school affidavit isn't really a law, so it is up to them whether they file or not. This is untrue.

It is true that California law does not address the issue of "homeschooling." There is no homeschool law. However, the Golden State does have a compulsory attendance law that requires children to attend public school. For those families who do not want their children to attend public school, there are statutory exceptions to the compulsory attendance requirement: enrollment in a private school, or tutoring by a certified teacher. That is, California law requires all children either to be enrolled in a public school or a private school, or to be tutored by a certified teacher. The law requires private schools to register with the state each year by filing a private school affidavit.

To comply with the statutory exemption in the state of California, a home educating family generally must either establish its own private school by the annual filing of a private school affidavit, or enroll in a private school independent study program which is located in the state of California and which annually files a private school affidavit on behalf of all the families in the school. While many families choose the private school independent study program option because they don't want to identify themselves as homeschoolers to the California Department of Education, both options satisfy statutory requirements.

A third option is possible only if the homeschool parent is a certified teacher in the grade level being taught. The certified parent can tutor his or her child and be exempted from private school enrollment.

If you are at all confused about California's requirements for homeschooling, please give our legal department a call. We'd be happy to answer your questions.

— by J. Michael Smith