How to Homeschool in California

This information is not legal advice and should not be used as such. You should verify all requirements with the government agency in your area before you begin homeschooling. You may find contact information in the links below.
  • In California, homeschooling is known as a "private home based school".
  • Compulsory attendance is required for children ages 6 through 18.

From the United States Department of Education

Option 1: Parents may submit annually the Private School Affidavit.

Under this provision, a child being taught by "persons capable of teaching" is exempt from compulsory public school attendance, is not enrolled in a public school, and does not have access to state curriculum, materials or testing. Cal. Educ. Code §§33190, Cal. Educ. Code §§48222.

A related exemption allows schooling at home without filing the Affidavit. Under this exemption, a child must receive at least three hours of instruction "in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools of this state and in the English language," between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. a day for 175 days each calendar year by a tutor with a valid state teaching credential for the grade taught. Cal. Educ. Code §§48224​.

Option 2: Public school home-based or independent study programs require enrollment in public school and use the public school curriculum.

If this option is selected, then the child is considered a public school student and subject to the rules and policies of the public school, including participation in state testing. Cal. Educ. Code §51745.

Option 3: Parents may also enroll a child in a public charter school that offers independent study.

These California charter schools allow enrollment to students living either in the county in which the charter school is located or in any contiguous county. Computer access to curriculum is common; state testing is required. Cal. Educ. Code §47600 et seq.

Contact Information

California Department of Education
1430 N St.
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901
Phone: 916-319-0800
Fax: 916-319-0100
Private Schools: 916-445-7331
Private Schools Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: United States Department of Education - California State Regulations

From the California Department of Education

In California, there are several ways that parents educate their children at home: by opening their own private home based school and filing the Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education (CDE), through an existing private school, through a public charter, or independent study program.

Option 1: Homeschool using Private School Affidavit

Intent to Home School Notification

Parents can open their own private home based school by filing the Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education (CDE) or through an existing private school

Public school districts are required to verify that the private school affidavit filing requirements have been met in order to verify a child’s exemption from compulsory education. This typically involves providing the district with a copy of the filed affidavit.


Parents who file the private school affidavit to privately educate or "home school" their children must select and provide all curricular, instructional, and other materials.

The California Curriculum Frameworks provide guidance on how to teach the standards.

Record Keeping

California Education Code requires a copy of the Affidavit be kept at the school. Requirements of what must be included in the Affidavit are also outlined in (EC) Section 33190.

The attendance of the pupils shall be kept by the private school in a register, and the record of attendance shall indicate clearly every absence of the pupil from school for a half day or more during each day that school is maintained during the year. (EC) Section 48222​


Parents are not required to report to their school district. However, keeping in mind that the school district has responsibility for checking on school-age children not attending school, you might avoid confusion by informing the district that you intend to home school or privately educate your children.


The California Content Standards and Common Core Content Standards identify and describe the skills, knowledge, and abilities that all California students should be able to master at each grade level, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through grade twelve.

Diplomas or GED

Alternative diploma equivalencies for students not attending public school include the General Education Development (GED) Test and the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). For information about the GED, please visit the respective Web sites.

Private Homeschool Links

Option 2: Independent Study

Independent study is a different way of learning. In independent study, a student is guided by a teacher but usually does not take classes with other students every day. The student works independently.

Many public schools offer independent study or home-based study as an option. California has a growing number of charter schools which offer different types of schooling in non-traditional settings. To learn what options your local schools offer, start by asking the public school district in which you live what programs allow schooling at home.

You might also contact other school districts near yours or your county office of education. If your district or county does not offer a program that a neighboring district or county offers, you may be able to obtain an inter-district transfer that allows your child to be registered in another district’s program.

Independent Study Links

Option 3: Charter Schools

There are many public charter schools that offer more flexibility for students and parents and some that cater to those who are focusing on home-based instruction. You can search for charter schools using the California School Directory or the Charter School Locator.

Additional Information

Regulation of Private Schools

The CDE has no statutory authority to regulate or monitor private schools or private education, except to the extent they request NPS certification.

Enrolling or Re-enrolling in Public School

Filing the affidavit does not affect your child’s right to return to public school, and may be done at any time. For information on public school enrollment (including independent study) you may contact the . If you are not sure what district you are in you can contact your county office of education.

For information regarding transferring to a school in California, go to the District Transfers webpage.

Special Education

The Special Education Division at the CDE provides technical assistance information and resources for parents, school districts, advocates, agencies and others of procedural safeguards regarding students between ages 3 and 21 with disabilities and their educational rights.

Compulsory Attendance

California's compulsory education law (See EC Section 48200 on the CDE Selected California Education Codes web page) requires each person between 6 and 18 years of age to attend public, full-time day school and requires their parents or guardians to send them unless legally exempt.

Tutor Requirement

Credentialed tutors seeking exemption for a student must offer instruction for at least 3 hours a day for 175 days in a year. (EC) Section 48222​ and (EC) Section 48224

Source: California Department of Education

Updated 29 December 2021

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