Across the States
Recordkeeping in California
One of the most frequently asked questions Home School Legal Defense Association receives from our California members is: What records must homeschoolers keep?
Homeschools operate as private schools in California, and the private school statutes require minimal recordkeeping. These are the essential requirements:
- File an annual private school affidavit online with the California Department of Education. Private schools are required to keep the affidavit on file for three years. HSLDA recommends keeping the affidavits for all four years of high school on file permanently. If your graduate wants to enter the military, perhaps years down the road, he will have to show that his education was in compliance with state homeschool law. For California graduates, this means producing the private school affidavits for all four years of high school.
- Keep attendance in a register (any written form) showing absences of a half day or more. There is no requirement for private schools to log specific hours or a total number of days.
- Have a course of study. Private School Satellite Programs (PSPs), in particular, must have a record of what curriculum or program each homeschooling family is using.
- Keep the educational qualifications of the teachers on file. Again, a PSP must be sure to have this information for each home-schooling family.
- Maintain immunization documentation for each student or have the parent-signed waiver on file.
The state of California does not require testing or report cards; however, individual PSPs can establish their own enrollment requirements.
Since the state of California does not dictate to private schools how to maintain records, HSLDA recommends that you keep information on the textbooks and workbooks used by your students, samples of work, creative work, test results, etc. You should maintain K–8th-grade records for at least two years and 9th–12th-grade records for all four years of high school. You should also produce a transcript for high school. (Find sample transcripts and helpful resources.)
—by J. Michael Smith