Easy Steps to Filing a Private School Affidavit (PSA) and Establishing Your Own Private School!

Filing a PSA is a great option for many, and it may be right for you. It was for me.

As you begin, I suggest a word of caution about social media comments that may recommend filing a PSA “because it’s so easy.” Yes, the PSA is a free document, but filing is just the beginning and they often don’t mention what to do next! Fortunately, the State homeschool groups have accurate information to help so you won’t be alone, and you will soon be fully responsible for the education of your child. What an honor!

Ready to get started?

Step 1. You will want to learn what a PSA is and what your obligation will be if you decide to file a PSA. A California private school affidavit is filed every year from October 1-15 for as long as you have children enrolled in your school. It is a statistical document that notifies the State that a private school with X number of enrolled children is in existence. 

It is NOT an application or a request to homeschool. It is a notification about a private school. Permission is not granted by the State, so don’t look for any acceptance after you file.

You will be expected to do everything a site based private school with many teachers and students would do, including requesting records, selecting curriculum, and issuing report cards or high school transcripts. You will be the director of your private school, even if there is only one child enrolled. 

Note:  You will want to establish your school before you file the PSA, so keep reading the remaining steps. If you are filing for the next school year, establish your new school by the time your local school district starts, which will usually be in August. October is when you will notify the State by filing, not the date to start your school, unless that happens to be when you withdraw your child from his current school.

Step 2. Now that you have a basic idea, it’s time to learn more. California Homeschool Network has free resources. Download and read them, or better yet, print them and put in your homeschool binder for quick reference later:

Just the Facts” will give you an overview of your options and requirements. 

Home Based Private Schools:  the independent option”  (AKA The Private School Guide) will give you more details about establishing your new school. 

Need more information?  Read CHN’s “How to Homeschool” pages to learn what files you need to create when you establish your new school.

Step 3. If you are ready to establish a school, it’s time to contact the school your child went to last year (if your child has never attended school, don’t contact the school or school district).

Call or email and let them know you are withdrawing your child from school because he has been enrolled in a new school. If can be quick and friendly. A formal certified letter was often done years ago, but I don’t think it’s necessary now. Just be sure to include the full name of the child, date of birth, what grade they were in last year and you can even add the teacher’s name if you think it will help them locate your child. Sign it with your first and last name (this is especially important if you have a different last name!) If it is a friendly parting and the school helped your child, be sure to thank them! 

Some schools have their own form to sign, and if they do, they’ll let you know. It’s their personal requirement and not all schools require it, so feel free to negotiate if you prefer not to go into the school. They could mail, fax, or email it to you!

Step 4. At a later date (maybe a week or so), you’ll need to request the school records by fax or mail. Keep that letter formal because you will be making the request as the director of the school, not the parent. A sample letter is on page 6 of Just the Facts. Once you have done that, it’s up to them to send the files. You have done your part. Some schools are fast and some wait months. That’s their problem, so don’t make it your worry.

You can start your school even if the records don’t arrive. If your child is in high school, use the parent/student copy of the last transcript they provided. If you can’t find it, it’s worth continuing to ask the school, because you’ll be needing those records to add to your teen’s high school transcript or study plan.

Step 5. If you are establishing your school at the beginning of the school year, congratulations! It’s time to start homeschooling! File between October 1-15.

If your child is enrolled in a school and you decide to withdraw mid-year, you should file your PSA without delay.

Step 6. Visit Where and When to File a PSA for a link to the PSA and clear step-by-step directions. These are updated as needed every year if there are any changes to the PSA. After you fill out the PSA, a link to your copy will be emailed to you. Be sure to save the link, but print a hard copy for your homeschool binder too.

Step 7. Your files are in order, you have withdrawn your child, requested school records, and you have filed your PSA. This is a good time to keep on reading CHN’s PSA page, and perhaps re-read the two free downloads that I hope you printed!

When you are done, you will have a clear understanding of the PSA. Informed homeschoolers are more secure and ready to take on this awesome responsibility of educating their child.

WHAT’S NEXT? You’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s and carefully set up your school. It can all happen pretty fast and parents often worry about selecting curriculum or deciding what to do next.

While you are expected to create a course of study, you don’t need a complete plan for the year before starting. And if you do have your plan done, be prepared to make adjustments during the year because your child may become excited about learning new things you hadn’t thought about, and you will want to take advantage of that interest. 

To help in planning, order some free catalogs and look for other resources.

Start by reading a chapter book. It’s good for your kids and it gets you off to a good start. Here are some resources to help you find books you and your kids will love: The list of books I read to my son, my Pinterest Read-Aloud Board, and two literature-based programs with many read-aloud suggestions: Bookshark (faith neutral), and Sonlight (Christian). Help Your Child Read is another resource! Make a list of books you are interested in and then go to your county library’s website and request them!

Browse CLA’s Pinterest site, where over 1,000 educational links have been organized. You’ll find curriculum, educational game ideas, movie suggestions, audiobook lists, math, science, social studies and more to help you with your homeschooling!


Note from Karen Taylor: I hope this information helps you! I filed a PSA for my homeschooled child from first grade until graduation. When my son graduated, I became the director of a PSP (private school satellite program). I can’t possibly enroll every child, nor is it even necessary for everyone! With this information, I’m hoping many families will be empowered to homeschool independently and be secure in knowing they are following all steps and not just filing a free form! I linked to California Homeschool Network because I have been a volunteer for over 20 years, and it is the organization I am most familiar with. In addition to California Homeschool Network (CHN), there are two other State groups: The Homeschool Association of California (HSC) and Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA).

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Karen Taylor’s always homeschooled son is now a grad student studying neuroscience at UCSF.  She shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog.