California’s public education system is in crisis. Many students fell behind in their academic goals during the nationwide “lockdown” that occurred throughout COVID-19. The additional stress and uncertainty that came with the spread of the latest illness played a more significant role in the lives of children than understood.
Many parents looked into homeschooling as an option to help their student continue their education and stay on course.
To start homeschooling in California, follow these steps:
- Research and familiarize yourself with the homeschooling laws and regulations in California.
- File a private school affidavit with the California Department of Education.
- Keep records of your child’s homeschooling progress and provide them to the California Department of Education upon request.
- Provide instruction in specific subjects as required by California state law.
- Meet the attendance requirements as set by California state law.
- Register with a homeschooling organization or program if desired.
- Follow any additional regulations or laws set by your local school district or state.
- Start homeschooling and keep records of your child’s progress.
- Be aware that California requires annual assessments for homeschooled students, which can be done through a standardized test, portfolio evaluation, or evaluation by a credentialed teacher.
The closure of public schools can cause real issues for families who rely on them for childcare services or other employment assistance. As such, many parents chose to homeschool children and have continued to date.
If you’re one of those parents looking into homeschooling your kids, here are some resources to help get you started.
Why Home School?
In light of these events, many may wonder why anyone would homeschool their children over sending them back to school. There are several reasons why families decide to take control of their own educational experience. Here are just a few examples:
Children with special needs require additional support from teachers explicitly trained in dealing with their conditions. Homeschoolers often provide this service because there aren’t enough educators to meet demand.
Teachers don’t always know how to teach specific subjects well. This problem isn’t limited to K-12 classrooms; college professors struggle to impart knowledge effectively for many classes. With homeschooling, students gain access to high-quality instructors who understand what they need to learn without worrying about whether they’ll retain any information.
Parents want to do something different than what society expects them to do. Many homeschooled children grow up with greater freedom because their moms and dads can give them more guidance and structure than traditional classroom environments offer.
Many parents find themselves drawn towards homeschooling after experiencing problems within the current school model. These range from bullying to poor teaching methods to a lack of diversity among student bodies and faculty. While each case differs, most agree that learning outside the box provides better results.
Perhaps most importantly, though, homeschooling allows parents to make choices that fit their unique family situations instead of being forced by government policy to conform to someone else’s idea of what constitutes a good education.
Home Education Requirements & Resources For Parents
While homeschooling laws vary from state to state, California does allow parent/child pairs to self-teach if necessary. However, even then, the law requires that the teacher pass a test showing proficiency before officially certifying them. On top of that, private Christian schools are exempt from certification requirements altogether.
Because of this, it’s important to research local regulations thoroughly before starting anything. The Department of Consumer Affairs website covers everything from filing complaints against bad businesses to researching potential legal concerns online.
Another site worth checking out is the National Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, whose members include accredited colleges and universities throughout California.
They publish standards for higher education institutions regarding admissions criteria, financial aid opportunities, and more, making it easy to compare programs offered by multiple schools and design a customized homeschool lesson plan around the student’s career interests.
Finally, while it doesn’t directly relate to homeschooling laws, knowing about HOPE Scholarship eligibility is still very useful. Through this program, thousands of low-income residents in California receive full funding toward tuition and books through the University System of California.
Search for your desired university using this tool and enter relevant details. You should then be given an estimated value based on your annual net household earnings.
Once your qualification has been determined, apply for the scholarship through the official USC webpage to start receiving funds. Note that recipients must maintain enrollment at this institution until graduation.
To supplement your research efforts, try visiting UCalier.org. It offers a database of every degree option currently available in California. Use it to browse programs provided by various universities, including community colleges, vocational schools, junior colleges, and four-year schools.
You can use this site to track the availability of scholarships associated with particular fields of study. Just scroll down to find the section labeled Scholarships Available. After clicking on a field of study, you’ll likely land on another page showing scholarships and grants linked to that topic. Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines and restrictions whenever possible.
Lastly, remember that finding a suitable curriculum for homeschooling is essential. We recommend searching for free curricula and resources first. Some programs offer military and family discounts.
One way around paying for textbooks is to purchase used copies from eBay and Craigslist. Also, be aware that digital downloads are usually cheaper than physical purchases made by retailers, especially if you plan to share materials between multiple users.
Starting Your Own Home School Curriculum
As mentioned, finding a good homeschooling curriculum can sometimes be challenging. Thankfully, following the state guidelines for academic requirements, there are numerous ways to find free and reduced materials.
Pinterest is an excellent resource for homeschooling families to find fun ways to supplement learning objectives. Local libraries and Co-Op groups are also great resources. Browse categories like science, history, math, language arts, social studies, music, art, religion, health, and other topics that appeal to your interests.
What Are Some Of The Best Online Schools Available Today?
Online learning platforms are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. If you’re interested in exploring new ways to educate your child, you might want to review some of the leading virtual learning sites today.
For example, Udemy is arguably the largest platform for online lessons. Its marketplace houses millions of video lectures covering almost every imaginable subject matter. Searching through its vast library could save you hours upon hours of work! Alternatively, you can sign up for weekly emails sent to your inbox containing curated content related to your child’s areas of interest.
Google Classroom is Google’s answer to providing quality instruction via a web browser. Like Udemy, it lets you watch videos uploaded by other teachers. But unlike Udemy, you don’t need to create accounts to follow.
Instead, you can log in via Gmail. It features a wide variety of lesson plans ranging from STEM to humanities.
Edmodo is similar to Classroom because you only need to register to participate. Unlike Classroom, however, Edmodo focuses primarily on grades K-5. If you have older children, you’ll probably wish to skip past elementary-grade material.
Hopefully, readers will feel more informed now about homeschooling in California. Whether you ultimately decide to homeschool your children yourself or employ the help of a professional tutor, knowing what to expect beforehand makes all the difference. And hopefully, you learned something in the process too.