Homeschool: The Private School Option
Many homeschooling families find that the independence of operating within their own private school brings an exhilarating freedom that can open up a special way of thinking about education. They can expand and experiment in a variety of ways they might not have otherwise realized were possibilities. This is also an especially good choice for a child who has a unique learning style or who has developed a particularly negative reaction to the school model of education.
Parents are often held back from choosing the private school option because of fears that legal officials will show up at their doors and cause some kind of major disruption in their lives. This fear is sometimes based on loose rumors that have gotten out of hand and have taken on a life of their own. But the fear is also sometimes based on the notion that it sounds too good to be true—that a family can't actually enjoy that much freedom without being "hassled" by school officials.
If you follow the few simple legal requirements for operating a private school, including filing the Private School Affidavit (R-4 form) with the CDE, then there is little reason to fear interference from any outside agency. As discussed in the "The Legality of homeschooling: Complying with California Law" section, the rare case in which a family is questioned as to the legality of their private school generally occurs when there is some kind of special circumstance. Most counties are quite accepting of the private school option—some county offices of education even have a special department to handle questions about homeschooling under the private school option. Experience has shown that legislators also show respect for the option. It's advisable to take a grain of salt with any urgings to watch out for the bogeyman. Instead, make the effort to trace down rumors to their sources and/or call HSC to check their accuracy.
If you feel you have any reason to be uncomfortable with the private school option, you might check with an HSC local County Contact or call the toll free line at (888) HSC-4440 about your concerns. When you join HSC, you receive bimonthly copies of the California HomeSchooler, which includes news about legal and legislative matters along with articles and notices about homeschooling, resources, and related events. You also become part of an enormous and powerful network of homeschooling families, many of whom have chosen the private school option.
Reprinted with the permission of the HomeSchool Association of California. © 2007–2008 by HomeSchool Association of California. All rights reserved.
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