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Just moved to California... Do I register as a private school?

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Yes, you fill out this form and submit it. When you first start schooling CA you do when ever you start then each year in October. Save or print it for your records and you are all set.

Now if you prefer an umbrella school or a PSP you can get one but that is a matter of personal preference. You do not have to have one.




P.S. Welcome to California!

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Short course in compulsory education law in California:


Children must be enrolled in a public school or in a private school, or tutored full-time by a credentialed teacher.


Private schools must file an affidavit annually. There are no requirements for minimum number of students, credentialed teachers, minimum number of school days, testing, or nothn'.


Most homeschoolers file their own affidavits, even if they have only one child enrolled in their schools. :-)


But there are some private schools which enroll other homeschooled children. The administrator files the affidavit, the parents enroll their children but do their own teaching and whatnot. These are called "Private School Satellite Programs." They are neither more nor less legal or preferable than filing your own affidavit. Some PSPs do support-group-type activities, co-ops, graduation ceremonies, and so on. The term "PSP" came up in a court case a few years ago, which said that it was legal for people to homeschool if they filed an affidavit or enrolled their children in a PSP.


So it's your choice: file your own affidavit and be accountable to no one, or enroll your dc in a PSP and be accountable to the PSP (some of them want lots of record-keeping, some don't. And some cost lots of money, some don't).

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There is no such thing under CA law as "homeschooling". Children who are educated at home are either private or public school students.


If you choose the private school option, you can either enroll your child in a PSP or you can file the affidavit to establish your own single-family private school. There are no state testing requirements for private schools, though it's possible some PSP's might require them for their enrolled students (none of the ones I've ever looked at have so it's not a common thing).


If you choose the public school option, there are district independent study programs that may allow part-time enrollment for certain classes and extracurriculars (my district's doesn't but I have heard of at least one in my area that does). There are also virtual charters that provide a stipend for the classes and materials of the parent's choice (so long as they are secular). The flip side is that you have to meet with an "educational specialist" once per month to review work completed and take the state standardized tests in the spring. With 3 school-aged kids, you could potentially receive up to $2400 per semester in the stipend (it varies from school to school).

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There are also public school charters which are homeschool - based. But depending on your preferred method of homeschooling you may either love or hate the arrangement. The positives include yearly funding for curriculum and classes ($600-$800 per child per semester on average), the downside is that you need to meet regularly with an assigned teacher and turn in samples to them - and attempt to follow state standards as well. Some teachers/ charters are more flexible than others; it varies from place to place.


We are with a charter and have a flexible teacher - so it works for us, but I've heard horror stories as well.


CA is chock-full of homeschooling groups/clubs/co-ops as well. If you haven't found one yet, be sure to ask on the boards - lots of knowledgeable people here!

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Here are line by line instructions. Even though I've been filing for years, I still use these instructions when I fill out my form.



At one point we lived in an area that had a great charter, which gave a HUGE stipend per child ($1800). I chose to go with the charter. Then we moved to where we currently live and the stipend for our local charter is $300. To me, that's not worth the hassle of paperwork and meeting with the teacher. We have happily filed the R-4 for 4 years now.

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Does anyone have experience with enrolling to a charter and then deciding its not for you? The funding would be great, but what if I hate meeting with a teacher that often? Also, we move a lot. Would that be an issue? It seems easy enough to just file our own affidavit. But having some of my curriculum and supplies paid for is tempting...

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Does anyone have experience with enrolling to a charter and then deciding its not for you?


We tried a charter for 6 wks and got out. It was fine. They didn't hassle me.


If you leave a charter, anything you buy that is non-consumable goes back to the school.


It is a bit of work to join, paperwork and such, and it takes a while to receive things you order so if you know you only have a few months it may not be worth the hassle.


Re: moving. For distance learning charters you generally have to live either in the county, or an adjacent county, where the school is located. So if you move out of that area you'd have to find another one. But within that area, you should be fine.


Try searching "charter school ________ county" to find one in your area. I am in the Sacramento area if that is helpful to you.

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