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September 26, 2022

Time for pumpkins, fall colors, and filing the Private School Affidavit!

Every year, the Private School Affidavit (PSA) must be filed between October 1st and 15th by every private school. If you are enrolled in a Private School Satellite Program, the school’s administrator files one affidavit for the whole group. It is important to remember that the affidavit is not an application requiring approval, just a “notice of operation.”

As of the writing of this article, no laws have changed affecting the legality of private home education in California. The information in our “Legal Fact Sheet” (fpmca.org/LFS) is current and accurate.

When the 2022-2023 Private School Affidavit becomes available on the CDE website on or around October 1st, we will review it in conjunction with Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and send out an email reminder to file the affidavit and advise of any changes.

Even though the term “homeschool” is commonly used throughout our state, nation, and the media, there is no legally-defined entity known as a “homeschool” in California law. In order to be consistent with state law, we do not use the term “homeschool” with public school officials. California is one of fifteen states in which homeschoolers operate as private schools. While some private schools operate on a campus, other private schools can be legally established and operated in the home with parents teaching their own children.

For legal questions, please to refer to HSLDA’s website or call them as a member at (540) 338-5600. We strongly recommend that you apply for (or renew) your membership with HSLDA as soon as possible and before you file your affidavit.

Do not contact any public school official about filing an affidavit. While the CDE provides some information related to homeschooling on their website, any explanations or suggestions that are not explicitly in the law are only someone’s opinion and can be ignored.

Remember: The PSA is NOT an application. It is a notice. You are NOT required to apply to homeschool.

What is the Required School Enrollment Age?

California’s compulsory attendance laws currently only require that children be enrolled this current 2022-2023 school year if they turn six on or before September 1, 2022 (this year). This means that a child who turns six on or after September 2, 2022, does not need to be formally enrolled in school until the next year, when your 2023-2024 school year begins (usually in August or September). You may, of course, teach your children who are not yet at the age of compulsory attendance. They simply are not formally a part of your private school and are not to be included in the number of enrolled students indicated on the affidavit form. For more information, visit fpmca.org/enrollmentage.

What about Kindergarten?

There is space on the affidavit for the number of students enrolled in kindergarten, but it is important to recognize that kindergarten is not mandatory in California. Therefore, if you have a child who is younger than compulsory school age (a child who is not age 6 by September 1, 2022), you are not required to enroll him in your school or count him on your school’s affidavit.

Schools in which kindergarteners are enrolled are routinely contacted by the Health Department to verify immunizations and school entry health exams. We recommend that homeschoolers avoid the extra paperwork by not enrolling their children formally into their schools until they reach the age of compulsory attendance.

Our full article “Filing the Private School Affidavit” is available on our website to help answer questions about filing the affidavit and provide important additional resources. Please visit fpmca.org/psa to read the article.