Homeschooling has recently become more popular for many reasons, especially during this pandemic when normal schooling has been interrupted by the lockdowns. However, one thing is for sure; homeschooling is now an established educational choice that you can make for your children if you want to.
Are you currently living in California or recently moved to the area and have an interest in homeschooling? You probably have many questions about how homeschooling works here. Don’t worry about it because we’ve got your back. In this article, we’ll break down some of the information you need to be equipped with prior to starting a homeschooling program.
Homeschooling authorities require homeschoolers in California to choose from these five basic options for teaching their children at home:
File an affidavit to function as a private school.
Enrol in a private school satellite homeschool program.
Hire a certified private tutor (or become a credentialed tutor yourself).
Use a public school independent study option.
Enrol in a public charter school for homeschoolers.
Essentially, prior to starting homeschooling, you need to thoroughly research each of these options, pick the appropriate one, and then follow the homeschool laws pertaining to your choice.
Homeschool associations serve the entire state in providing homeschooling families with the most up-to-date information about home education in a state. California has three statewide organizations that provide information on homeschooling laws, types of homeschooling, scholarships, newsletters, state and regional discounts and more. Each association is unique, though, and you may benefit from applying for membership with more than one.
Homeschool groups and cooperatives are usually the chief local support system for homeschooling families. For new homeschoolers, they provide the opportunity to receive information and inspiration from more experienced homeschoolers. Groups often organize field trips and play dates, and more academically focused groups (called co-ops) even offer classes where each parent teaches a subject or supervises a class. Many parents find lifelong friendships through co-ops and local support groups.
Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean that all of your learning will take place at home; far from it, homeschooling provides you with such a uniquely flexible schedule that active learning becomes a regular part of your weekly routine. One of the best ways to enhance the lessons you’re covering is with a related field trip. And the Golden State has more than enough opportunities to keep you busy. Discover some of the amazing educational destinations California has in store for your next homeschool adventure.
For homeschoolers, the testing requirements in CA depend on the homeschooling option each family chooses. Home-based private schools, for instance, do not have testing requirements; however, charter school students have the same standardized testing protocol as any other public school student. Even if you don’t use an option where standardized testing is mandated, you may decide that you would like your homeschooler to participate in testing. Some parents use yearly standardized tests as a benchmark system to note how much progress students are making. Others use them to identify any potential gaps in their curriculum or their child’s retention of it.
In summary, homeschooling is all about you, your children and the needs of your family. And the best part is that you never have to feel like you are all alone in your journey because resources and help are available at every turn.
I hope that this information will help raise your confidence and provide you with the knowledge needed to support your entry into homeschooling.