January 16, 2021

How to Homeschool in California

It’s Easy and Legal to Begin CA Homeschooling

As long as the parent follows California law, it is simple and easy to start homeschooling children in California.

Have Courts Declared it Against the Law to Homeschool In California?

Many homeschooling families have a valid reason for concern in the wake of a California court ruling. What does the ruling really mean to homeschool families?

With an estimated 1.5-1.9 million homeschooled children in the United States, a recent ruling in the California Court of Appeals has given many homeschool parents cause for concern. Not only does the ruling put at risk the right of parents to legally homeschool their children, but it also makes the future of institutions, such as charter schools and independent study programs through public and private schools, uncertain.

Background Information On the Court Case

The court case was centered on one family in California. This family chose to homeschool their eight children in order to protect them from teachings that were contrary to the family’s beliefs on issues such as alternative lifestyles, sexual education, and the theory of evolution.

The case between the family and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services started when one of the children allegedly reported, “physical and emotional mistreatment by the children’s father”, according to LifeSiteNews.

The Court Ruling Against the Family

In the court ruling, the family was ordered to enroll their two youngest children in a public or private school. The children must physically attend this school because children between the ages of six and eighteen are legally required to attend a state-run school.

The courts found that keeping the children at home was cutting them off from society and any situations where they could interact with people outside of their family. According to LifeSiteNews, the court stated that removing the children from social situations also removed opportunities for an outside party to observe possible issues in their home life.

The Issue: Does the Ruling Make it Illegal to Homeschool in the State of California?

According to Governor Schwarzenegger and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, it is not illegal to homeschool in the state of California. According to a report on the Catholics for the Common Good website, O’Connell said, “I have reviewed this case, and I want to assure parents that chose to home school that the California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling. Parents still have the right to home school in our state.”

According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), the judges, in this case, ignored two very vital pieces of information when handing down what amounted to a blanket ruling. The first thing they failed to note according to NHERI was the research evidence that homeschoolers typically do better than their public school peers when it comes to academic achievement. Students who are homeschooled consistently score 15 to 30 percentile points above public schooled children.

The second point the courts failed to acknowledge according to NHERI is the basic U.S Constitution. The constitution says nothing about children being forced to attend public schools but rather puts the onus on the state to provide free common or tax-funded schools. Nowhere in the constitution does it grant the state the ability or right to control or oversee the education of students not in attendance.

So where does that leave the state of California? Is it illegal to homeschool in that state? According to Catholics for the Common Good Governor Schwarzenegger was quoted as saying, “Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts, and if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.”

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