The Home School Court Report
No. 5

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That Time of Year Again

It is that time of year when homeschoolers, as private schools, are required to “register” with the California Department of Education (CDE). Mark your calendars and don’t forget to file your private school affidavit between October 1 and 15.

Homeschoolers enrolled in private school independent study programs (ISPs) do not need to file. Your ISP will do it for you.

By filing the affidavit, you are not seeking permission to homeschool your children; you are simply registering as a private school. You are also providing demographic information on your school that is included in the Private School Directory compiled by the CDE (although small private schools with fewer than six students are not included in the directory). For first-timers, it’s a two-step process.

First, if you are pulling children out of a public or charter school, you must notify the school that you are withdrawing your children and that they have been enrolled in a private school, and you must request that records be transferred to the private school. If you do not notify your student’s previous school, your child will be marked absent and you can expect a phone call or visit from the school’s attendance officer. If you are enrolled in an ISP, you still need to notify the public school, but your ISP will probably request the transfer of the pupil records.

Second, file the private school affidavit. You will find filing instructions for the private school affidavit on Home School Legal Defense Association’s website on the California homepage (or go directly to If you have any questions after reviewing the instructions and the affidavit, please call our legal department.

The private school affidavit for the 2006-07 school year is generally not available on the CDE website until late September. However, at this time we don’t anticipate any changes to the affidavit from last year.

— by J. Michael Smith