Across the States
A Very Important Deadline
As fall rolls around and you find yourself entrenched in your new homeschool routine and activities, it can be easy to overlook a very important deadline that arrives soon—the private school affidavit filing period. If you are not enrolled in a private school satellite program (PSP) that files the private school affidavit for you, you need to file your own private school affidavit with the California Department of Education (CDE). This annual online filing must be completed between October 1 and 15. You can find the link to the CDE’s website and line-by-line instructions by logging in under Member Resources.
State law requires that all children must attend public school unless they are being tutored by a certified teacher or they are enrolled in a private school in the state of California. Even if you are enrolled in an out-of-state correspondence program that keeps records for you and issues report cards and diplomas, you still must file a private school affidavit in California.
You establish a private school when you start homeschooling sometime in late August or September. The state, however, does not require private schools to report their enrollment and other statistical information until October. Many homeschoolers worry that the lapse of time between the beginning of the school year and the October filing period means they are not legally homeschooling. We want to assure you that your homeschool is legal!
If you have never filed a private school affidavit before and you still have questions that are not answered by our online instructions, please contact Home School Legal Defense Association’s legal department for assistance.
— by J. Michael Smith