The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXV
No. 1
Cover
January/February
2009

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CALIFORNIA

Starting a New Year

Last year was a roller coaster for homeschool freedom. One month homeschooling under the private school exemption was proclaimed illegal in California, the next month it was in limbo, and then, in August, it was safe again. Even though God gave homeschoolers a tremendous victory in the Jonathan L. decision, many in California still did not feel safe, concerned that the legality of homeschooling could change in the blink of an eye. The attorneys and staff at Home School Legal Defense Association can tell you that Californians were not alone. We heard from homeschoolers all over the country who felt the same uneasiness.

Five months have passed since the Jonathan L. decision on August 8, 2008. We have found that while many public school officials still oppose home education and try to intimidate families contemplating homeschooling into choosing public school instead, for the most part, the officials have resigned themselves to the fact that homeschooling is legal in California under the private school exemption.

During the last five months, our members have experienced several attempts by public school officials to “verify” that the members’ private schools (homeschools) are in compliance with the state’s private school requirements by requesting information regarding curriculum, teacher qualifications, and attendance. However, HSLDA’s legal department has communicated with those school officials on behalf of our members, citing the decision in the Jonathan L. case, which stated:

We note here that the school district verifies only if a private school affidavit has been filed; the district is granted no authority by this provision to confirm that the private school is in compliance with the other requirements of the private school exemption.

Usually, reading this citation was enough to cause the officials to drop their demands for verification.

While the public school establishment is never likely to give its full support to homeschooling or recognize homeschooling’s success, there are things we can do to strengthen the validity and legality of homeschooling. We need to continue to pursue excellence in our homeschooling programs, to know and stand on our homeschooling rights, and, most of all, to seek and rely upon God’s protection.

— by J. Michael Smith