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Homeschooling Legal FAQ (page 4)

— Homeschool Association of California
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

How do I remove my child from public (or private) school?

Big schools in the more urban districts do not necessarily expect students to return each year, due to the mobility of the population. If you live in such an area, and your child has not attended any classes at the beginning of the fall semester, you might not need to give prior notice to your school, although you should, by late October, make sure that your new school (your home-based private school or any other school your child is enrolled in) requests your child's cumulative file, as discussed later. If you live in a smaller district, you might need to give notice if you do not intend for your child to attend for the current year.

You are entitled to withdraw your child from school mid-year for any reason, and to enroll your child in any other school that you wish, whether a public program, a private ISP or your own home-based private school. However, it may be a little more complicated than if your child never attended during that school year or if your child has never been enrolled in public school, because the school has a record of your child and may be unwilling to lose your child as a student. The school will lose funding when you withdraw your child and may try to convince you that you are not capable of teaching your child or that you cannot homeschool using the private school option. They may even threaten you with a report to the truancy officer. As long as you follow the legal requirements set forth above, you can withdraw your child from public or private school and legally homeschool.

If you are thinking about withdrawing your child, we believe it is essential that you keep your communications with school personnel as calm and professional as you can, especially if you have been having problems. If your child has, in fact, been truant and you withdraw, then you need to be especially careful, as the school may be less willing to accept your new school as an acceptable alternative. If your family is particularly under the school's microscope, you will need to weigh the continuing to fight the school or, worse, the truancy board against other alternatives the truancy board might accept, such as a public, private or charter school independent study program. It might be best to try to find such a program for the remainder of the current year and then, if you wish, enroll your child in your home-based private school at the beginning of the next school year.

If you decide to start your own school, make sure you have all of your documentation for your school before you remove your child from school. You must give notice within three days of your child leaving the school; we recommend that you write a very professional letter on school letterhad informing them that [name of child] has been enrolled as a student in [name of school and request his or her cumulative file (EC section 49068). The school is required to give it to you and this letter closes its file on your child. If you do not receive it within a few months, send another polite, professional letter on your letterhead informing them that on date X (enclose a copy of the original letter) you requested the child's cumulative file and that you have not received it yet. It might help to enclose a large pre-addressed envelope with a lot of postage on it.

How can my homeschool student graduate from high school?

If your child is enrolled in a public or private ISP and they complete all graduation requirements, most programs will issue a diploma. Another alternative is to take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), which, upon successful passage, will be the equivalent of a high school diploma. This is a popular option among homeschoolers who (with the permission of their high school principal or counselor) can take the test when they are working at a 10th grade level (thus, many 13+ teens take and pass it). Finally, there is nothing in the California statutes that prevents a home-based private school from issuing a diploma.

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