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  • Marguerite Gaspar

Why do California Parents Choose a PSP when Homeschooling?

Updated: Jan 10

The importance of maintaining your family’s privacy cannot be understated

With mandated vaccination deadlines approaching, many California families are turning to independent homeschooling for the first time.

According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, California law allows parents to legally homeschool their children by choosing one of these three options:

1. Enroll in an “independent study” program via public, charter, or private school. Joining a Private School Satellite Program (PSP) falls into this category.

2. Create and register their own private school following the guidelines posted on the California Department of Education website by filing an R-4 Private School Affidavit.

3. Hire a credentialed private tutor.

Enroolment in public and charter school independent study programs is free of charge as is filing your own R-4 Private School Affidavit. Charter schools may even provide families with monthly funds to use on outside classes and supplies.

Since these options are free to families, why would you choose to pay a private school to manage your enrollment?

To understand the answer to this question, the history of our state’s attacks on homeschooling is necessary; government overreach is nothing new to the State of California.

From 1996-2003, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction was Delaine Eastin. Ms. Eastin, a life-long California Democrat, grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Her career includes teaching women’s studies and political science for seven years as a college instructor, acting as a strategist for PacBell, and holding local and statewide political offices.

Delaine Eastin, like many public school teachers and administrators, held very negative views about homeschooling.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, while homeschooling began to gain steam as a mainstream approach to education, Ms. Eastin led a crusade against homeschooling families claiming that homeschooling was illegal, and threatening prosecution of students and families for truancy, child neglect, and more.

When the California Department of Education (CDE) moved the registration of private schools to its online registry, private schools enrolling less than six (6) students were flagged as homeschoolers.

These homeschooled students were tracked down using the Private School Registry. County administrators, district officials, and police officers were encouraged to visit the flagged homeschools. Homeschooled students were designated as truant, and parents were threatened with jail time and even the removal of their children from their homes for not following what Eastin’s office decided was the law. Eastin’s office was wrong, and much litigation ensued.

A 2003 Michigan Education Report noted that “California alone has(d) between four and six high-profile homeschool harassment cases each year.” Essentially, the very process families used to homeschool legally, provided the government access to the names and addresses of homeschooling families that would then be used to harass them.

As Steven Greenhut wrote at the time, the law had not changed. Homeschooling had always been legal in California. What had changed was the state’s determination to force children back into public schools.

There are no new legislative or court-imposed restrictions on homeschooling in California. What has changed is the willingness of the state Department of Education (DOE), under the leadership of a left-wing ideologue, to use whatever opportunities present themselves to harass, intimidate, and frighten parents into sending kids to public schools or to private schools that have been approved by the state."

In response to the state’s flagrant disregard for the actual law and outright harassment of families, Private School Satellite Programs (PSPs) began to emerge.

Each PSP files its own R-4 affidavit and enrolls students under its umbrella. No parent or student names or addresses appear on the R-4, only the PSP’s does.

Homeschooling under a PSP means the family does not file an R-4 Private School Affidavit. As such, enrollment in the PSP provides privacy as well as freedom and flexibility. California’s vigorous opposition to independent homeschooling teaches us that privacy is of the utmost importance.

Independent homeschooling is more popular than ever now. Public schools are losing students in droves as families flee oppressive mandates and woke curricula. The loss of students equates to a huge loss in funding now, just as it did in 2003.

We don’t know what the education bureaucracy’s response will be to this resultant funding loss. But we have seen over the last 18 months that our government officials are far from restrained. As such, the need to guard personal privacy and protect our legal right to homeschool independently cannot be underestimated.

Most PSPs are inexpensive, Talega Prep's tuition is just $330 for the first student in your family and only an additional $30 for each additional student enrolled from the same family per year. For the modest cost of enrollment, the PSP handles the records transfer process from your previous school, provides outlines, suggestions, and forms needed to complete your Course of Study, Attendance, and Teacher Statements, maintains your children’s records, confirms school enrollment, and much more. Many families find the cost to be minimal compared to the services and peace of mind they receive.

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Marguerite Gaspar is the Director of the Talega Preparatory Academy, a California Private School offering Satellite independent study programs to families seeking the utmost in educational freedom. Marguerite has homeschooled her three children, taught middle school science and math for over thirty years in California public schools, and has supported homeschooling families throughout the state since 2002. She is committed to helping students and families homeschool, their way.

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