California's Legal Requirements for Homeschooling During Divorce.

Understanding Homeschooling Regulations in California Amidst Divorce

Navigating through a divorce can be a challenging process, and when children's education is involved, particularly homeschooling, the complexity increases. In California, both divorce and homeschooling are governed by specific legal standards that must be adhered to by parents. This article aims to shed light on the legalities of homeschooling during divorce in the Golden State.

Legal Framework for Homeschooling in California

In California, homeschooling falls under the private education sector. Parents who opt to homeschool their children must file a Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education. This legal document essentially establishes the home as a private school. Additionally, parents choosing this educational route must provide an instructional program that aligns with California's educational standards, including subjects such as English, math, social studies, science, and physical education.

Homeschooling Considerations During Divorce Proceedings

During divorce proceedings, decisions regarding child custody and education become paramount. The state of California recognizes two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody pertains to the decision-making power about the child's welfare, including education. If both parents have joint legal custody, they must agree on educational matters such as continuing or initiating homeschooling.

It is crucial that both parties discuss their intentions regarding their child's education early in the divorce process to avoid conflicts. If parents cannot reach an agreement, the matter may be brought before a family court judge. The court's primary concern is the best interest of the child, which includes stability and continuity in their education.

Historical Reference

In a landmark case in 2008, Jonathan L. v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal clarified that parents do not need to be credentialed teachers to educate their own children at home. However, they must comply with the state's requirements for private schools by filing the appropriate affidavit.

Documenting Educational Decisions

When homeschooling is part of a divorce settlement, it should be documented meticulously in the divorce decree or parenting plan. This documentation should outline how educational decisions will be made and how related expenses will be handled. It should also address how each parent will participate in the child's education and what metrics will be used to assess the child's academic progress.

Seek Legal and Educational Guidance

Given the complexities involved in homeschooling during divorce, seeking professional guidance is advisable. A family law attorney can provide legal advice and ensure that any educational agreement complies with California law. Additionally, consulting with an educational specialist or homeschooling organization can offer insights into best practices for structuring a child's home-based education.


Homeschooling during divorce in California requires careful consideration and collaboration between parents. Understanding the legal requirements and ensuring that decisions are made in the child's best interest are paramount for a successful outcome. With proper planning and professional advice, parents can navigate this challenging situation while providing their children with a stable and effective educational experience.