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    School Prep: Legally Required Records for Independent Private Schools in the State of California

    July 26, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    So I’m getting lots of emails and comments and messages from various places. Posting the Course of Study information yesterday freaked a few people out! I understand. I remember when I first read through the information on the affidavit and realized I had been doing it wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Not to worry.

    It is actually very simple, though also this is the reason why some people pay for a PSP {Private School Satellite Program} to keep files for them {among other things}.

    This morning I created a document for our local homeschool network that I thought I’d post here so that you could have it, too.

    So here it is…

    IF you homeschool independently–meaning you file the annual private school affidavit with the state–you certify on that form that you are keeping certain records. These records are required of ALL private schools.

    It is highly unlikely that a government official would ever come to your home and check on your private school, but if one did, you would likely need to produce these records. If you do not have them, it can cause you legal trouble because the affidavit is a legal form and you signed your name saying you would do certain things.

    All of this is not to scare you but to make sure you understand the risks involved in NOT keeping the legally required paperwork. This is, honestly, why a lot of people like to pay for a PSP!

    With that said, the state requires six things:

    • The Affidavit. This is filed each year between October 1-15. If you begin homeschooling after these dates, you do not file until the following year. You are required by law to keep copies of your affidavit for three yearsHere is a link to the online affidavit form.  I suggest you fill it out using the Private School Affidavit Filing Instructions from HSLDA.
    • Attendance Record. There are many ways to keep attendance. Here is a simple, 1-page, 180-day blank attendance form. You can decide how long your school year actually is, and there is no required number of days, but when you sign the affidavit, you agree to keep a record of attendance.
    • Course of Study.  See information here.
    • Faculty Information/Qualification. A resume for yourself and your husband will work. If you are insecure about your resume {maybe you don’t have much education or something} you can write a letter instead. I would suggest that if you think your resume is weak, you can add in your own continuing education–did you go to a conference? read a book to educate yourself? take a class? listen to a lecture? Include all of that.
    • Immunization Record/Waiver. Your doctor can help you with the record. If you use the waiver, it is on the back of the record form. See here for both sides of the form. The waiver cannot be older than six months when the child begins first grade. Starting January 1, 2014, you cannot sign the waiver on your own, but rather need a doctor’s signature as well. Some of the law makes it sound like a new form is coming out at that time, while other parts of the law make it sound like your doctor has to write a letter. In general, if your health care provider cannot write a prescription, he cannot legally sign the form for you. I’ll update this as we figure that out. For now, the waiver is fine.
    • School Entry Health Exam/Waiver. Current law says that this health exam can be up to 18 months before entrance to first grade, so you can do it at age five even though we don’t keep records until the child reaches truancy age, which is 6. {If you do the vaccine waiver, you may want to wait, though.} The form is here. If you for some reason prefer not to do the health exam, the waiver form is here.

    And that’s all! Notice that the first three items need to be done annually, while the other three are done once and then you just keep them on file.

    For those of you who aren’t privy to the documents for our local homeschool network, I hope this helps!

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  • Reply Sarah May 14, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for laying out the process in an easy to follow way. I wanted to double check, the forms only get filled out in Oct? So moving to the state in January, I just wait till Oct to fill out the affidavit correct? Thank you for you help.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 14, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Well, that is the advice *I* would give but I recently heard that HSLDA is telling parents differently. I don’t think you’d get in trouble for it, but you could call HSLDA to be sure, if you wanted.

      My logic has always been that private schools fill their paperwork out once per year and students moving around after that aren’t accounted for until the next year. Plus, the law doesn’t require it. 🙂

  • Reply Why I keep records (hint: it’s fairly obvious) | Living Stones Academy April 8, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    […] blogger out of Sacramento has taken the stress away with this great post I won’t rehash: Legally Required Records  That post also includes the links for filing, documents you can download, etc. So it’s […]

  • Reply Michele July 31, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    The way I understand it is, you are required to keep the records but no one from the school/truancy an ask to see them. I had a truant officer show up when I pulled my son out of high school years ago. I told him I had filed my affidavit, had my records, and sent him away. I refused to show him anything.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 31, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      I’m pretty sure that is exactly what HSLDA says to do…but how nerve wracking! Oh my goodness!

      But yes–I think these records only have to be shown if they use a subpoena.

  • Reply sixsmoothstones July 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I want to thank you so much for doing this post! Even though I’ve read the information, and others have posted about it, I just couldn’t wrap my brain around what to do. You’ve made it so simple! Now I have one more thing to do before the new year starts! I live in CA, so I’m sharing this post with my entire home schoolers network here. Thanks again!

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