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Why are private homeschools classified as “private schools,” and not as “homeschools” in California law?

In California, and fourteen other states, “private homeschools” operate as private schools. On August 8, 2008, the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate District confirmed in their In re Jonathan L. ruling (formerly In re Rachel L.) that “California statutes permit homeschooling as a species of private school education.”  

Private schools who file a Private School Affidavit in compliance with the law include traditional private campus schools, parents who operate a private homeschool/private school in their home, and private school satellite programs (PSPs).

According to the California Education Code, there is no distinction between private homeschools and any other type of private school that files an affidavit. 

Separating “private homeschools” or “private schools based in the home” out from under the umbrella of the “private school” category sets the stage for further regulation of private homeschooling.

Some recent bills have sought to distinguish private homeschools from other private school options. In 2018, AB 2756 would have created various categories for private schools, separating those that meet in a home from those that meet on a campus or at a church. That same year, AB 2926 would have established a committee that would advise the State Board of Education on matters regarding homeschools. Providentially, both of those bills died in committee. You can read about that victory here.

Such legislation is often motivated by horrific cases of abuse, such as occurred with the shocking case involving the Turpin family in Perris, CA in 2018. Proponents of these types of bills erroneously insinuate that being homeschooled is a contributing cause of abuse. However, research does not support such a claim.

FPM has valiantly fought for years to keep the term “private homeschool” out of the California Education Code. The introduction of the term “private homeschool” into the Education Code makes it easy to separate private homeschoolers from the rest of the private schools for future regulation. Such language would open the door for thousands of families to have their rights curtailed because of something they had no part of. FPM will always fight any bill that attempts to infringe on the rights of parents to train, educate and care for their children privately, without government interference.