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Special Situations in Homeschooling Your Child

By — Homeschool Association of California
Updated on May 1, 2014

A. Withdrawing your Child from Public or Private School Mid-Year

You can withdraw your child from school mid-year and start homeschooling. Many schools are supportive of homeschooling and can provide you with help and resources. However, withdrawing a child mid-year may be a little more complicated than starting homeschooling at the beginning of the school year, because the school has a record of your child and may be unwilling to lose a student. The school loses funding attributable to your child. We do recommend that you not tell the school that you are going to homeschool (see the discussion following) but rather tell them that you are transferring your child to another school, as they may try to convince you that you are not capable of teaching your child or that you cannot legally homeschool, especially if you are setting up your own home-based private school. 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 decide to start your own school, prepare the documentation noted above and remove your child from school. You also need to consider whether to file the private school affidavit immediately; see the discussion at private_school_option.php#affidavit

When you take your child out of school, tell the school that your child will be attending another school and give it the name. Because the CDE's old memos stating that homeschooling is illegal are still floating around in the minds and files of many public school officials, we recommend that you not mention the word "homeschooling." You can tell school officials whether you intend to use a public or private school, but you are not obligated to give them any more information than that. If your child will be enrolled in a school run by someone else, that person will write the former school and ask for the child's cumulative file (§49068). If you are starting your own private school, then promptly write a professional letter to the former school on your school letterhead advising the administrators there that your child has been enrolled in (your school name) and request his or her cumulative file (see a sample letter). Sending this letter should close the school's file on your child so that s/he can't be considered truant. The school is required to give you your child's cumulative file (it can be a copy rather than an original), although many schools don't seem to be able to do this. You are also entitled, as a parent, to have a copy of the cumulative file. If you really want to have a copy, we recommend going to the office in your role as a parent, not a school official, and offering to make the copies yourself, or giving them a stamped envelope, or any other help that makes it easier for them to comply. As long as you properly sent the request for the file, failure to receive the copy does not have any legal importance.

If you pull your child out as a result of truancy or other unresolved problems with the school, the school may fight your efforts by continuing with a truancy hearing or denying the validity of your new school. Although you are still entitled to educate your children at home using any of the options described above, you will need to weigh the practical and financial alternatives of continued controversy or litigation against other alternatives the truancy board might accept. In some cases, they may look more favorably on a program offered by a public or charter school or commercial private school rather than a home-based private school. Please contact the HSC legal team for more information if you are in this situation.

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