My wife and I started teaching our kids at home in 1980. At that time, we didn’t know of anybody else in the country who was doing so. I thought perhaps I had invented a new institution: home education. But within a year or two I began to hear about a few other families who were doing the same thing in other places across the country. Another bubble burst.
As the phenomenon grew and became a movement, people noticed. Questions came, some from detractors and some from parents intrigued with the idea and wondering whether they should try home schooling for their family.
The first question involved legality. Will I go to jail if I try this? The second concerned teaching qualifications. Will I be able to do this right? The third became something of a mantra for critics: What about socialization?
The first two questions were long ago laid to rest by empirical means. Laws were changed or clarified across the country in the 1980’s and 90’s. Test scores, scholarships and earned degrees put to rest the concern about the ability of parents to teach. But, “What about socialization?” is still going strong. We’ve all heard it.
Still, things are different in some ways. Most people know kids who are being home schooled and don’t seem to be social degenerates. So there’s not as much concern on the part of the general public. The other thing that has changed is that the question seldom comes from the parents themselves, but mostly from their detractors.
In the early days, many parents seemed concerned that they might warp their children socially. But a year or two ago I asked a question to a convention audience that made me realize we’ve come a long way. The topic for the talk was socialization. As an introduction, I asked the moms and dads for a show of hands. “First, how many of you are here because you’re honestly concerned that home education might not be good for your kids’ social development?” Three hands went up. “Now, how many of you are here because you’re looking for ammunition to answer your parents or in-laws or church friends who worry about it?” The remaining eighty hands went up. No, most home schoolers aren’t worrying about social development nowadays.
Why not? Because we now have a track record in that, too. Home school kids have done quite well in relationships of all kinds. They do as well as anybody (usually better) in getting along with their parents and siblings. They relate to the neighbors just fine. They go to church and talk to other kids just like…well, like other kids. The most notable difference about home schooled kids in church is that they are far more comfortable talking with the adults there than other children are.
Add to all that, the fact that an awful lot of home schooled kids are now adults. They have worked at jobs, started businesses, won elective office, played on sports teams and joined the military. They have excelled at such demanding contests as debate and moot court competition in college. Thousands of them are now enjoying their own marriages and families. My eldest son got elected county chairman of our political party at the age of nineteen. Later, he and his friends helped an eighteen-year-old get elected chairman in a nearby county. By anybody’s definition, that’s not just involvement, but leadership. Just how much more social can a person get?
So let’s put to bed the concern that not going to school deprives kids of the ability to learn to get along with people. A more useful question would be, how did home school graduates get so socially skillful?
In a word, they did it by living life.
Don’t listen to the nonsense that going to school exposes children to the “real world.” I can’t think of an environment less “real” than being locked up in with people of your own age all day long and doing exactly what everybody else does in exactly the same way, working away to produce no product or service, but only to be evaluated on how you did the work. I can’t see an employer paying anybody for that. As for the age segregation being preparation for the real world, my daughter has an answer. She says, “Oh, sure. I shop at the thirty-to-forty-year old grocery store every week!”
I think sarcasm is her spiritual gift.
Real preparation for adult relationships comes in doing the things that adults do every day. Navigating the challenging waters of family connections, buying and selling the things we use, learning to work with teammates at work and play, learning wisdom from older people and sensitivity from those younger. All these social skills are available in our homes, churches and communities. School keeps kids out of the real world.
Instead of the artificial world of grades, tests, speaking only with permission, working for no real goal and being locked away from the old and young—the real life of a real community—home education sets kids free to explore the world in which they will be living as adults.
While other kids are learning the social “skills” of flirting, bullying and competing for meaningless marks and numbers, home schooled kids are busy elsewhere. They are reading real books, interviewing World War II veterans, serving as volunteers in worthy projects, going on missions trips, starting businesses and getting to know their neighbors. They’re working in political campaigns, planting gardens, making meals for the new mother at church. They’re doing real things that real people do. They’re building real social skills in real relationships. The kind of relationships, after all, that you’re trying to prepare them for.
Live a real life and take your kids along for the ride. That’s growing up social.
Rick Boyer wears many hats. Parents know him as a speaker/author who tackles the challenges of parenting head-on. He offers practical, effective solutions based on Scripture and over 40 years of parenting experience. He and his wife, Marilyn are the authors of many popular books on parenting as well as the Bible-based Character Concepts curriculum.
To homeschooled kids, Rick is “Uncle Rick,” a dynamic storyteller who brings Scripture and history to colorful life and turns them into delightful and life-changing character lessons. Check out his audio recordings at www.UncleRickAudios.com
Short on money, but need curriculum? Ask at your Chat Group or look at the SCOPE Library.
Our Used Book Sale won’t come around until next summer, but until then, ask at your Chat Group (and other Chat Groups) if someone has curriculum to sell or borrow, look in the newsletter for bargains, or explore possible sources in the SCOPE Library.
Not sure you want to teach how to dissect all those frogs and things for Biology Lab? Ask around in your Chat Group or the SCOPE Teen Student Life Group, and look in the SCOPE Newsletter.
In the SCOPE News we find Co-op classes within our Chat Groups, or classes for a fee. These can help fill the gaps we need help with and allow additional opportunities for friendships to grow. Encouragement, prayer, friendship and help are flowing in our Chat Group meetings, too.
Miss a workshop at the Conference or just need a dose of encouragement? Borrow a CD from the SCOPE Library!
Our Conference allows us to learn, ask questions, see homeschool products and even reconnect with friends. And the workshops you missed? You can listen to them on CD’s that you can borrow from the SCOPE Library, too. You never know what treasure the Lord may have for you there! Check it out!
Having one of those homeschooling days and need to vent and be encouraged by someone who shares your convictions to homeschool/disciple for the Lord? For encouragement from a supportive, like-minded homeschooler, call someone in your Chat Group or your Chat Group leader (if you aren’t part of a Chat Group, call the leader nearest you)!
I have yet to find a homeschooler who does not get to the end of her rope, and nearly every time I have shared the truth about my own difficulties, not only am I ministered to and reminded of God’s work in what I am experiencing, but I find closer relationships are forged among us. Our relationships grow deeper, and I get the truth-filled encouragement I need in a safe, supportive environment. We are here to build each other up!
Family Protection Ministries – Private & Home Educators of California Roy Hanson, Jr. – Director PO Box 730 • Lincoln, CA 95648-0730 • (916) 786-3523 • FAX (916) 415-9470 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Note: Before transferring your child out of their cur rent school, please readWithdrawing Your Child From School.
There are no statutes in California that specifically and exclusively deal with private “home education” as distinct from private schools.
Compulsory attendance at public schools is required for all pupils from the age of 6 years until they reach the age of 18 years [E.C. §§48200, 48400, et al.], with special provisions for 16 and 17 year olds [E.C. §48410]. Exemption from attendance in a public school is provided by the first three of the following four alternatives.
FOUR LEGAL ALTERNATIVES FOR HOME EDUCATORS
(1) California is one of twelve states in which “home schooling” is accomplished under a private school exemption. Home educators may establish a private school, based in their home, and must file a private school affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction of California (normally between October 1st and 15th every school year). 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.” Children enrolled in a private school are exempt from attendance in a public school. Under this provision [E.C. §§48222 and 33190], the following requirements apply to all private schools:
The instructors must be capable of teaching (determined by the private school administrator)
The instruction must be in English (see the reverse side of this paper for non-English speaking families).
The instruction must be in the several branches of study required in public schools.
Certain pupil and school records must be on file.
Health Department forms must be on file. [H.S.C. §§124085 and 120375]
(2) Home schooling parents may enroll their children in a private school PSP (private school satellite program) that has filed a private school affidavit with the Superintendent of Public Instruction of California[same legal exemption and requirements as #1 above]. A private school satellite program (PSP) may be composed entirely of home educators or may be an extension program of a campus-based private school.
There is technically no more or no less legal protection or covering in our current Education Codes [E.C. §§33190 & 48222] for either options (1) or (2) above. Based upon past experience, everyhomeschooling family would be very wise to join and secure the protection of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). For both options (1) and (2), parents should properly state that their children are enrolled in a private school when communicating with school and other officials.
Families enrolled in Out-of-State schools/programs are required by state law to be enrolled in a California private school (single home-based or PSP) with a California address for its location. It is unnecessary and unwise to voluntarily mention enrollment in out-of-state schools/programs. It is not illegal in California to be enrolled in an out-of-state program, as long as it is represented as a source of curriculum and/or services and not as a means of legal compliance. Public school pupil records (called cum files) should be sent for but notbyanout-of-stateprogram. (See Withdrawing Your Child From School.)
(3) A child being taught by a home-schooling parent, who has a valid California teacher’s credential for the grades and subjects taught, is exempted from attendance in a public school under the tutorial exemption. [E.C. §48224]
(4) The home-schooled pupil may enroll in a public school independent study program (ISP) [E.C. §§51745-51747] or a charter school offering home study [E.C. §47600 et al.] if available in your school district or county. In these two programs, the home-schooling family is totally under the authority of the public schools. We do not recommend these two public school options. For more details on the problems with these options, visit our website atwww.pheofca.org/CharterSchools.html.
REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING FAMILIES
Non-English speaking families may be concerned that they can’t comply with the requirement that the instruction be in the English Language. However, E.C. §30 provides an exception: “…any private school may determine when and under what circumstances instruction may be given bilingually. It is the policy of the state to insure the mastery of English by all pupils in the schools; provided that bilingual instruction may be offered in those situations when such instruction is educationally advantageous to the pupils. Bilingual instruction is authorized to the extent that it does not interfere with the systematic, sequential, and regular instruction of all pupils in the English language.”
The general rule for non-English-speaking families is this: If the parents or child do not speak English, the private school instruction may be in the family’s native language. However, there must also be instruction in English, with a goal of bringing the student to proficiency in English. Based on this requirement, families who don’t speak English can learn together as part of the regular instruction. In other words, it may be appropriate for the family to use materials for most subjects in the language they speak, and then to use a program for learning English as a separate class until the English language is mastered.
Under both the U.S. Constitution and California statutes, home-based private education is legal. However, there continue to be challenges that are a potential direct threat to any home educator in California. Most of these challenges are based on erroneous charges of either truancy or child abuse/neglect:
Charge of Habitual Truancy– an infraction. [E.C. §§48260, 48293, et al. This charge is used more than 90% of the time in legal challenges to home education in California.
Charge of Child Abuse/Neglect– rare, but could involve temporary or permanent loss of custody of children.
(a.) For detailed information on the two legal private alternatives (1&2 on p.1) and how to fulfill their requirements, order CHEA’s manual, An Introduction To Home Education, and, for older students, CHEA’s High School Handbook. For ordering these and other resources, and for other homeschool information, as well as referrals to support groups, contact CHEA at (562) 864-2432; P.O. Box 2009, Norwalk, CA 90651-2009; www.cheaofca.org.
(b.) Join the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for only $120/12 months. Discount memberships are available. Contact HSLDA at (540) 338-5600; P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134; www.hslda.org. Join before beginning your home education and beforewithdrawing your child from another school. It is best to withdraw during summer. You must joinbefore receiving a legal challenge to your homeschooling, so join now.
HSLDA is the only full-time attorney-staffed organization that assures you of immediate andthorough representation by an attorney with expertise in this area of law from the very beginningof any legal challenges to your home education. There is no in-state or out-of-state school oreducational program available to private California homeschoolers that offers absolute legal protection. There are no other legal protection programs or plans which guarantee expert attorney consultation and representation to families for all legal contacts related to their home education like HSLDA does. HSLDA has been at the center of defending our freedom to home school in California. It is the individual family that will be challenged by school and other authorities and not the private school PSP administrator. Each family must take the responsibility to secure the best legal protection available.
(c.) The Private and Home Educators of CaliforniaLEGAL-LEGISLATIVE UPDATEnewsletter and emails provide firsthand reports of any changes in the law and legal threats to home education in California. This is published by Family Protection Ministries (FPM), the only full-time organization based in the Sacramento area, monitoring and advocating in regard to all legislative and administrative actions that directly affect California private home educators. FPM is 100% funded by donations from supporters of private/home education and parental rights. This newsletter is available on a complimentary basis by contributing at least $40 each calendar year to:
Family Protection Ministries (Roy Hanson & Nathan Pierce) PO Box 730 Lincoln, CA 95648-0730
This document is available at www.pheofca.org for your use personally or for distribution.
(Permission given to duplicate unaltered & complete.)
This document was written in consultation with HSLDA attorneys but is not intended to be nor does it constitute the giving of legal advice. For legal questions we encourage you to contact HSLDA as a member.
Of course, if you are enrolled in a California Private School Satellite Program (PSP), sometimes referred to as an umbrella school or private ISP, you are included in their affidavit and you do not have to file one. If your student is enrolled in an out-of-state program or school, he or she also has to be enrolled in a California-addressed private school or homeschool, and included on a California private school affidavit. And if you are an independent homeschooler, California law requires that you file an affidavit in order for your children to be exempt from attending public school. It is an easy process.
For your peace of mind, the HSLDA instructions explain which items do not apply to you as a homeschool, and therefore can be left blank. We are only required to include information specifically mentioned in the California Education Code § 33190, and the online form (at least in previous years) delineate the required fields with asterisks. HSLDA makes this clear in their instructions.
Be sure you have ink in your printer when you file so that you can print a copy of the confirmation page for your records. Remember, the affidavit is simply a ‘notice of operation’ not an application that you submit for state approval. Furthermore, your (with five students or less) is not included in the California Private School Directory because of budget limits. Be assured, however, that this does not affects the legal status of your home-based, small private school (AKA your homeschool).
To avoid any misunderstanding or misinformation, or should you have any questions, SCOPE strongly recommends you contact HSLDA. Public schools, school districts and the California Department of Education are knowledgeable in public school information, but have been known through the years to provide incorrect information regarding private homeschooling. And remember, school districts and county offices of education are allowed only to verify that you have filed your affidavit, not demand specifics about your school.
If you are withdrawing your child from a public or private school, be sure to contact HSLDA for the best approach, so the process will be as hassle-free as possible.
And, as Family Protection Ministries (FPM) has written: “If a public school official were to contact you to see if your child is enrolled and in regular attendance at a private school, your responses should be courteous and professional. If they already have the name of your child, you can confirm that the child is enrolled and is in regular attendance in your private school. Otherwise, parent teachers of home-based private schools, as well as administrators of private school satellite programs (PSPs), should keep the names of their students and families confidential.”
HSLDA, FPM, California Home Educators Association (CHEA) and SCOPE are all available to answer questions on affidavits, but the instructions you’ll find at the site we’ve referenced here will be very clear. If you do not have internet access at home, you can use the library or a family member or friend’s computer; the affidavit cannot be filed by hardcopy anymore, though HSLDA can help you file a “Statement in Lieu” if you have no alternate internet access at all.
From October 1st to October 15th ~
for Step-by-Step instructions for filing your Private School Affidavit form please go to: www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/affidavit/AffidavitInstructions.asp
For Affidavit Help Call: HSLDA 540-338-5600 or SCOPE 916-668-0401