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Getting Started

This page provides an introduction to help you get started in private Christian homeschooling.


After you have prayerfully decided to embark on the home education journey…


1. Decide how you are going to home school using the following options:


            A. File your own affidavit October 1st-15th on the California Department of Education website if your child will    

            be six years old (by Sep 1st). Instructions for filing your PSA can be found on the CHEA website here.

            We have also included links so that you can keep a copy of the California Health Department forms (PM          

            171A and PM 286B) in a file at home or fill out the waiver portion of PM 286B and use this waiver form in lieu      

             of PM 171A.  Children in 7th grade or higher will also need a TDAP sticker; see here for more information.


            B. Join a private school satellite program (PSP).  


2. Withdrawing your child/ren from school. If your child is currently enrolled in the public school system, a brief letter should be written to explain to the public school officials that you have enrolled your child in a private school located in California.  This article from Family Protection Ministries provides additional information.
3. Consider potential teaching approaches and philosophies.  One style is not necessarily better and your approach may change as you gain experience, as your situations change (perhaps a new baby or a move to a new home), or as your children get older.  Here is a list of some of the most prominent teaching approaches. :

     - Charlotte Mason/Living Books

     - Classical Education

     - Traditional/Textbook Approach

     - Unit Study

     - Thomas Jefferson Education

     - Unschooling

     - Eclectic


                 *You can find a more indepth look at each in An Introduciton to Home Education by Susan Beatty.


4. Consider your child’s learning style.  Knowing about learning styles can help you choose curriculum or teaching approaches that work best for you and your child.  Learning styles are generally divided into three categories:

     - The visual learner – learns best through visual images (reading, videos, watching others)

     - The auditory learner – learns best through hearing (lecture, being read to, songs).

     - The kinesthetic learner – learns best by doing and touching, manipulating materials.


 5. Research and purchase curriculum. 

Visiting with others who homeschool is a good way to see and learn about curriculum.  To keep your costs down you can use books from your public library, free resources on the Internet, attend used curriculum sales, and purchase used material on-line.


6. Plan out your year: scheduling and record keeping. This can be as simple as dividing up your subjects in a three ring binder and keeping track of your progress and attendance (see example), using a calendar to plan and record, or keeping track of your records and printing transcripts using purchased software such as Homeschool Tracker or Edu-Track.  A free homeschool planner resource for record keeping, grade point calculating, transcripts, and more is available here.


If you choose to operate through a PSP, they will have information on how they would like you to keep records for their school.


7. Keep the main thing the main thing. Remember that godly character is far more important than anything else you can teach your children and that there is not one “right” way to homeschool and no “perfect” curriculum.


Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is an excellent resources for getting started in private home education.  They provide information on Homeschooling Thru the Early Years (pre-school through middle school), Homeschooling Thru High School,Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner (special needs) and more on the You Can Homeschool website.

You can also find additional information on getting started on the CHEA website here.  An Introduction to Home Education, a book offered at CHEA’s bookstore, is also a helpful resource.


Tips for the Early Years


  • Join a support group where you can fellowship with other homeschoolers.  You do not have to wait to join a support group until your child is official school age.


  • Work on the basics of Godly character training while your children are young.  Have them participate in household chores to teach them to be responsible, helpful, diligent, and obedient.  These are great qualities to learn as they apply to all areas of life and will help lead to successful homeschooling.


  • Read out loud from longer chapter books when your children are young rather than only reading short stories or picture books.  It can be a lot of fun for the whole family and helps develop attention span.  Children will often ask to hear more when you stop at the end of a chapter because they want to know what happens next and will wait with anticipation for the next day's reading time.


  • Have fun building skills of counting, sorting, thinking, and measuring with activities like cooking, laundry, swinging, playing games, using playdough or building toys like Legos or K'nex.


Common Homeschooling Terms and Abbreviations 


HSLDA – Homeschool Legal Defense Association

HSLDA is a nation-wide non-profit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.  Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.  They provide low cost legal defense for all families choosing to privately educate their children at home.  (


FPM – Family Protection Ministries

FPM is our voice in Sacramento, looking out for any legislation that would restrict our right to home educate our children.  They are a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to help insure our freedom as parents to train, educate, and care for our children privately, without governmental interference.  (


CHEA of California – Christian Home Educators Association of California

The Christian Home Educators Association of California, Inc. is a non-profit ministry established in 1982 to provide information, support, and training to the home education community throughout the state. (


PSA – Private School Affidavit form 

California is one of a few states in which homeschoolers operate as private schools.  Private schools can be legally established and operated in the home by filing the PSA, just as some private schools operate on a campus.  If you have a child who is six years old (by Sep 1st) or older and not yet 18 years old, and you are establishing your own private school in your home, you will need to file a private school affidavit in order to be legally recognized as a private school in California.


PSP – Private School Satellite Program (formerly private ISP)

A private school program, where one private school affidavit is filed for multiple homeschooling families, and not funded by or under the authority of the public school system.  This was formally called a private ISP – Independent Study Program.


Public ISP – Public School Independent Study Program

Public ISPs are independent study programs funded by and under the authority of the public school system.  Independent study students follow the public school district-adopted curriculum.


Charter School – A public campus based school or public school at home program

A charter school is a public school that may provide instruction in any of grades K-12.  California Law requires that a public charter school be nonsectarian (i.e. non-religious) in all aspects.  As stated in the California Constitution (Article 9, Section 8), “No public money shall ever be appropriated for the support of any sectarian or denominational school, or any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools; nor shall any sectarian or denominational doctrine be taught, or instruction thereon be permitted, directly or indirectly, in any of the common schools of this State.”




Note: This information does not represent and should not be construed as legal or professional advice.


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