State Laws
Read the laws regulating home education in California and browse through the case law and legal opinions relating to those laws, along with government publications relating to homeschooling and summaries of the laws.
Summaries and Explanations of California Homeschooling Laws
California Home School Laws
The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a brief summary of the homeschooling laws in California. Includes a link to a legal analysis of laws relating to homeschooling in California.
The Legality of Homeschooling: Complying with California Law
A summary of the options for home educating parents in California.
The Legality of Private-School Homeschooling in California
The primary point of this essay is to explain--as thoroughly as possible--why homeschooling under California's private school exemption is perfectly legal. It includes as much basic legal information as possible, to serve as a foundation to analyses which are at times complex.
Homeschooling Legal FAQ
This Frequently Asked Question list includes everything you need to know about the legality of homeschooling in California.
Selected California Statutes Applicable to Private Schools
The Homeschool Association of California lists selected statutes that pertain to homeschoolers in California.
Special Situations
This article takes a look at the effect of California law on certain special circumstances, including withdrawing your child from school mid-year, homeschooling after a divorce, contact by truancy officers, contact by Children's Protective Services, welfare benefits, and communities with curfews.
The Private School Option
Children are exempt from compulsory attendance if they "are being instructed in a private full-time day school by persons capable of teaching." (§48222) A private school has been defined as "any school, whether conducted for profit or not, giving a course of training similar to that given in a public school at or below the twelfth grade, including but not limited to schools owned or operated by any church." (Vehicle Code §492.) This broad definition includes home-based private schools as well as private school cooperatives and private school independent study programs. Whereas some of the private school programs operated by others may benefit some families, many families establish their own private schools. This article discusses how to do that. Includes information on record keeping.
Public School Independent Study Programs
Enrolling your child in a public school independent study program is the legal equivalent to enrolling him in public school. These are the "home study" programs offered by many school districts. Public ISPs vary widely from school to school in the level of control they exert over their students and the services they offer. These programs can be appealing for a wide variety of reasons.
Private Independent Study Programs
In addition to the private schools operated by one family for its own children, there are a number of other types of private schools that offer homeschooling programs. These schools range from the cooperatives, to for-profit ISPs that file paperwork and collect records for a fee, to site-based day schools that offer independent study, to distance learning programs.
The Legality of Homeschooling Using the Private School Option
In California, families can legally homeschool their children by establishing a private school in their home and complying with the private school requirements of the California Education Code. Parents who have established and enrolled thier children in a home-based private school cannot be prosecuted for truancy. This legal brief provides a basis for understanding the laws in California relating to home education.
Tutoring
Parents with a valid teaching credential can act as tutors for their children, or parents may employ a credentialed teacher. However, tutors and parents who choose to tutor their own children must fulfill all of the requirements of §48224.
California Statutes Pertaining to Home Education
California Education Code, Section 44237
Commission on Teacher Credentialing. This section pertains to private schools requirement of submission of criminal record summary information.
California Education Code, Section 51210
Required Courses of Study-Course of Study, Grades 1 to 6. Lists the requirements for grades 1 to 6, including English, reading, mathematics, social sciences, science, fine arts, health, and physical education.
California Education Code, Section 48200
Admission-Persons Included. Section relating to compulsory education requirements.
California Education Code
Index to the entire California Education Code. Sections pertaining to home education include Sections 33190-33193, 44237, 48200, 48220, 48222, 48224, 48415, 51210, 51220, 51220.5, 51221, 51225.3, 51745, and 51747.3.
California Education Code, Section 48220, 48222, 48224
Compulsory Education Law-Pupils Exempt. This section includes the exemption from attendance to a public full-time day school that pertains to homeschoolers.
California Education Code, Section 33190-33193
Verification of Private School Instruction. This section of the California Education Code addresses private schools in California. Home schools can be registered as private schools as one way to comply with the law.
California Education Code, Section 51745, -51749.3 51747.3
Authorized Classes and Courses of Instruction-Independent Study. Provisions for independent study.
California Education Code, Section 51220, 51220.5, 51221, 51225.3
Required Courses of Study-Course of Study, Grades 7 to 12. Lists the requirements for grades 7 to 12, including English, reading, social sciences, foreign language, physical education, science, mathematics, fine arts, applied arts, vocational-technical education, automibile driver education, and other studies. Section 51220.5 addresses the requirement of a course in parenting skills for grades 7 or 8, along with the requirements for exemption. Section 51221 adds the teaching of conservation (wise use of natural resources) to the requirements for social science. Section 51221.3 lists the requirements for receiving a diploma.
California Education Code, Section 48415
Compulsory Continuation Education-Pupils Exempt. Pertains to homeschoolers who are considered a private school.
Home School Laws from HSLDA
Find the laws pertaining to home education for all 50 states and U.S. territories.
Case Law and Legal Opinions
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
In Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "the fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the creature of the state."
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Featured Resources

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