Individualized Education for All


Making Sure You're Legal


All children aged 6-18 are required to be enrolled in a public school UNLESS they are attending a full-time private day school or are being taught by a private tutor that holds a CA teaching certificate.   Lucky for all of us, there are many options to HomeSchool in California, and every day there seem to be more!   The following is a primer on the basics!   The options are listed in order of most parent controlled to least parent controlled.


The Private School Affidavit (PSA)   This used to be called the R4


Parents can file their own Private School Affidavit to basically create your own private school for your family.   As the head of your school, you must maintain all of the state required records and you are in control of how subjects are taught.   You must file a PSA agreement every year between October 1-15.   Just because you don't file until October doesn't mean that the school isn't "legal".   It is legal when you open it up, and you may withdraw your child from public school and put them into your private school at any time.   If you decide to open your private school after October 15, you must file the PSA at that time.   If you decide to open your school in August for the coming year, enroll your child into your school, and make sure you file the PSA between Oct 1 - 15.


The PSA provides you with great freedom to design your child's education, but you must pay attention to any state laws governing education, and to help with this you can join a couple of organizations that watch  and report changes.   We recommend joining CHN and HSLDA. 


There are no state tests that you must take, and there is no financial help from the state for this education.  





The Private Tutor


According to state law, children in California may be tutored at home by a private tutor that holds a CA teaching certificate.   Check with current state law on the minimum number of hours / day and days / year that are required.  Note that the tutor can be anyone that has an up to date, valid teaching certificate, but it can only be used to teach grades that are on the certificate.


There are no state tests that you must take, and there is no financial help from the state for this education.  




The Private Satellite Program (PSP)

The Private Satellite Program (PSP) provides nearly total flexibility for an education to be designed that fits the individual.  A PSP will maintain all of your educational records, help you create a learning plan and provide you with the legal forms required by the state of California.   They will provide a varying amount of coaching / consulting on educational plans and philosophies.  The upsides of a PSP are autonomy in education, that they take care of all of the legal record keeping, and will provide some level of educational consulting.   In this option, students can normally focus on what the families value.  


There are no state tests that you must take, and there is no financial help from the state for this education.  


In any of your educational choices, make sure you are willing to do a bit of research on your own, and ask lots of questions.  Does this provider match your educational goals and philosophies?  Will you have the freedom you need to have the success you are looking for?  Does it match your schedule and your values?   If yes, you have probably found the right fit!





The Independent Study Program (ISP)  


There is no one-size-fits-all within the world is ISPs!   There are MANY options to consider in Independent Study Programs, and your unique situation will be the determining factor if this option will work for you.


Note:  If you live in Santa Clarita, want to homeschool AND you want your child to be part of a high school sports program competitively, the Hart at Home program is likely your best option.  Note that you must use your local school's sports program and cannot transfer to another school and use their sports program if you educate through Hart at Home.    

  • Most public schools have an Independent Study Program (ISP).   To use this program, contact your local public school.    These programs will supply you with the same text books that are used in their on-site program, which you will likely be required to use.   You will likely have to meet with a teacher once a week to ensure that you are following their program.  No funding is given to families to help pay for classes with an ISP.   In some cases, as in the Hart district, there is a hybrid program.   The Hart district's program is called Hart at Home and will allow students to take some classes at the high school, and some classes independently.  Check out your local schools to see what programs they have available.

    • Note:  If your child is on an IEP, the ISP program may or may not be able to support your child.

    • You may be able to transfer to a different unimpacted school within your district if that is a better option for some reason.

  • Santa Clarita has a number of charter schools that support homeschooling through an Independent Study Program.    In these programs, students receive Instructional Funding for classes along with an assigned teacher that will help them navigate the educational requirements in California.   The ISP may also provide onsite classes, boxed curriculum, borrowed curriculum or a combination of these benefits.   Each charter school works a little bit differently, and will suit different types of families.    Most of the charter schools are now WASC accredited.   (Western Association of Schools and Colleges).   This is a difficult accreditation to achieve, and is monitored yearly.   It indicates that the school is maintaining all of their files correctly, a credentialed teacher has approved the level of difficulty for classes that a students  receives credit for, the educational plan contains the state mandated content, yearly testing is done, learning samples are collected and more.   What to look for in a charter school ISP:

    • What level of funding is made available, and what can it be used for?  (what percentage must be "core" and what percentage can be "non core")

    • Is the learning plan parent-directed or state-directed?   How much of the plan can you control, and how much is controlled by state requirements or this charter school's requirements?

    • Are you required to use common core certified curriculum?

    • Are you allowed to use curriculum that you create, or that you prefer?

    • What records do you have to maintain / create, and what records does the charter school maintain / create?

    • How available is your assigned teacher?

    • How does grading work, and are grades even required?

    • What is required by the school in terms of hours or days of work?  

    • What tests are required to take?

**  note:   all students that are part of the public school program are asked to agree to take the state mandated tests.


Charter Schools with an Independent Study Program:

Blue Ridge Academy


Golden Valley Charter School

Gorman Learning Center

Granite Mountain


River Oaks Academy

Sage Oak Charter School

SCVi Independent Study Program

Sky Mountain Charter School


© 2010 by iDEAcademy. Proudly created with

  • Facebook Round
  • Twitter Round
  • YouTube Round
  • Google Round
  • LinkedIn Round