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

Updated 7/17/2023

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. 

NEW! In 2023, the CDE announced a change in the affidavit filing period, saying that they would be opening their filing system on August 1st “to accommodate new schools and home schools.” This is their solution to the former confusion that happened every year when parents established their private schools and began homeschooling a few months before the October filing period.

The PSA 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 and file your PSA by the time your local school district starts, which will usually be in August.

Step 2. Now that you have a basic idea, it’s time to learn more. Here are some resources. You might want to 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 children from school because they have been enrolled in a new school. It 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, and what grade they were in last year. 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. If you prefer not to go into the school, ask them to mail, fax, or email it to you.

Step 4. At a later date (maybe a week or so or after you file the PSA), 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 and have filed your affidavit, congratulations! It’s time to start homeschooling!

If your child is enrolled in a school, and you decide to withdraw during the school year, you should file your PSA at that time.

Step 6. The link to the PSA and instructions for filing is at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/affidavit.asp. After you fill out the PSA, a link to your copy will be emailed to you. Be sure to save the link, and also print a hard copy for your homeschool binder too. When you withdraw a child, the former school may want to see a copy of your PSA as your verification of enrollment in a new school, and you can email this link to them if they ask.

Step 7. Your files are in order, you have withdrawn your child, requested school records, and you have filed your PSA. Learn more about keeping school records at: https://www.californiahomeschool.net/how-to-homeschool/keeping-private-school-records/

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, visit Cedar Life Academy’s resource page.

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, and my Pinterest Read-Aloud Board. 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 Cedar Life Academy, 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 was 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).


Karen Taylor’s always homeschooled son attended a local community college after graduating from homeschooling. He transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior, and received a PhD in neuroscience from UCSF. She shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog.