Stop Calm and Homeschool – HomeSchool

by Katie Julius

Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now exhale.

Sitting in our homes this summer and checking the news and social media to see what school will look like this fall (with a seemingly different answer every week) can be frustrating, daunting, and tiring at the same time. This also applies to experienced homeschoolers who are used to participating in collaborations and extracurricular activities that are open one day and closed the next.

We have been stressed and nervous since mid-March. If you’re like me, you just want answers and something that’s safe this fall.

Before the panic continues, take a deep breath and let’s dive step by step into this school thing.

Contrary to what society has taught us about who is capable of teaching (note: you do not need a degree), you as a parent of your child are capable. That is the only qualification you need. God gave you your children and with it the biblical mandate that you are responsible for the education and upbringing of your children (Prov 22.6, Deut 11.19). God will not give you a responsibility that you cannot deal with! He will equip you. Parents have been educating their children for centuries; State schools have only taken on this role in the last century and a half. I explained this topic in more detail in a blog post in spring 2019, which you can read here. You can also talk to almost anyone who has taught their kids at home – you did!

Before you start homeschooling, it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the laws in California that enable home education. At the beginning, all children between the ages of 6 and 18 (as of September 1st) must attend public school. This is called compulsory schooling. You may have noticed that 5-year-olds don’t have to go to school. That means if you have a child who is not in this age group from 6 to 18 years, you do not have to enroll them in school. You can continue to do educational activities with them and read them aloud, but you don’t have to enroll them in school. If you have a child aged 6 to 18 and do not want to have it in public school, there are exceptions to compulsory education.

Second, keep in mind that homeschool in California is not a legal term or option. When setting the law, all students are enrolled either in a public school or in a private school. There are classroom-based, hybrid, and non-classroom-based options under each of these categories. Most private homeschooling families use either the PSA or the PSP option.

Submission of an affidavit for private schools (PSA)
With this option, you set up your own single-family private school in your home, the only students of which are your children. As a private school, you determine the course of study (what you learn), your school calendar (you can teach at 7:00 a.m. on the weekend, on Christmas day!) And all other educational decisions – and you don’t have to work or meet with anyone Teacher “answer”.

You must submit the affidavit to the California Department of Education annually between October 1 and 15. Opening a new school this year doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to go to school. The form does not specify your school. YOU start your school when you start teaching. The form only notifies the state that your school exists.

If the shape seems overwhelming at first glance, don’t worry! It’s not as daunting as it looks. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to complete. If you are concerned about providing incorrect information, CHEA has several resources: A step-by-step guide on our website (It will be updated for the 2020-2021 school year when the registration period begins on October 1st.) And a virtual PSA registration party Here we take you step by step and answer your questions along the way. At the end of the “Party” you have filled in and submitted your PSA!

Sign up for a Private School Satellite Program (PSP).
If you don’t like it alone, want an integrated community, or are looking for anonymity, signing up for a PSP may be a good choice for your family. A PSP can be part of a private school on campus or an independent private school off campus. What each of these schools offers is very different, as is the cost of enrollment. Some have very low fees in exchange for keeping your records and offering activities run by parents, while others can charge hundreds of dollars and offer courses, excursions, activities, and more in addition to keeping your records. The level of supervision and requirements varies by school. It is important to find out exactly what is expected of you as a parent teacher before you enroll your children. CHEA has a resource to help you with this Choosing the right homeschool group.

Certified tutor
There is a third option for exemption from compulsory schooling, namely hiring a qualified teacher to teach your student. This is usually seen in the entertainment industry or elite athletics. There are very specific requirements for when school can take place, how many hours to complete, what subjects to teach, etc. CHEA typically recommends parents with a teaching credential file a PSA for more freedom than this option.

A word about non-school-based public school options
There are independent study programs offered in both traditional public school districts and public charter schools. Since these are public school options, they must meet state standards, give non-sectarian classes, and you must report to a teacher regularly. The level of accountability and responsibility for the student / parent varies widely. We invite you to read more in-depth information about Public School at Home programs in this blog post. This fall may or may not be an option this fall due to cuts in the education budget.

For more information on California homeschooling options, please visit Check out this release.

Once you’ve determined which option you will use for the fall, it’s time to pull your student out of his public school. If you enrolled your child in a public school, you must submit a letter from you, the parent, notifying the school that you are withdrawing. This also applies to kindergarten teachers who have not yet attended school. Once you have completed the registration documents, you will need to unregister. Otherwise, you will receive calls from the school asking where your child is.

CHEA recommends that you write and sign a letter before mailing it to your school. In this way you will receive a paper path and can prove that the school has received the notification. A sample letter for withdrawing your student can be found here. Regardless of which alternative option you choose for fall, you must send this letter to your school if your student no longer “visits” your current school (whether public or private). As mentioned above, homeschooling is not a legal educational concept in California. For this reason, CHEA strongly recommends that you do not use this term in your letter.

If you want to set up your own private school and submit a PSA in October, you must request your student documents as a school. You should choose a name for your new school (some tips and ideas can be found in this article), create a simple letterhead, and sign the letter as the administrator or school principal of your school. CHEA also recommends that this letter be sent by registered mail as confirmation of receipt. You can find a sample letter here.

If you register for a PSP or a public school at home, the school will process the records of your previous school.

Once you have your child’s old records, you need to make sure you keep the new records in accordance with legal requirements. I’m not going to go into any detail here since we have a blog post that is part of our homeschooling 101 series and is well concerned with it. We also have one upcoming webinar. You must keep a copy of your PSA, a attendance list, a course of study and a list of the faculties and their qualifications (your training is sufficiently qualified).

Now that you have your legal “ducks in a row”, you can relax a bit and plan the amazing year in which you will study with your children! If you have young children (preschool / kindergarten), I cannot recommend this article enough. I did not follow these suggestions myself with my kindergarten teacher a few years ago and I wish I had! I think we would have had a more pleasant year.

For older children, the choice of curriculum can be overwhelming. The opportunities that homeschooling families have today are diverse and plentiful. You should consider how your children learn, how you learn, what your budget is, how much time you have, etc. What is best for one family is not necessarily best for another. We encourage you to read some of our curriculum articles and also read ours Webinar “Choosing Your Curriculum” Learn more about choosing the curriculum you want to use for your children.

Likewise, what a typical day in each school looks like is different for each family. If you have activities or classes during the week, or if parents work, they will all affect how your weekly schedule will look. Some families teach during traditional “school hours” and days, while others study in the evening or in part on weekends. That is one of the advantages of having your own private school. You can set your schedule as it best suits your individual family situation. For some tips and ideas for planning your year, CHEA has one Webinar “Plan Your Year” as well as some Forms for download from our website to support you in this process.

Homeschooling is not easy. It takes work. It can be difficult. There will be challenging days. There will be great days. It’s all normal! Find experienced homeschoolers near you to encourage and go with you. Use the many resources that CHEA has developed just for you (we have more than 35 years of experience helping homeschoolers in California). Remember to take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed. You can. Just stay calm and keep going to school!

Here is a list of other CHEA resources that new homeschoolers may find helpful when planning, preparing, and starting their school year:

New at Homeschool Digital Content Pass
Virtual homeschooling high school mini-con
Solutions for special needs for families in school
The CHEA YouTube channel
Facebook Live Videos on Facebook page of CHEA
CHEA Facebook Communities: California homeschool and Working homeschool mothers

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