Applying to homeschool my child in Berkeley


I’ve just moved to Berkeley from Massachusetts, where I’ve been homeschooling my child for the past year. Prior to that time they were on an IEP. I reached out admissions to try to find out how to register my child as a homeschooler here in Berkeley, and was told that they do not offer that option for students with IEPs. I feel like this can’t be true?! I would appreciate any advice or recommendations of how to proceed from any other homeschooling families. Thank you!

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I used this homeschool program for my child during Covid. 

Welcome to Cali!

It's super easy to homeschool in California. There are two main options -- one is through a charter school, which gives you a bit of funding but also ties you to requirements (some info:…) or you can file a PSA (private school affidavit) which is very simple and essentially makes your home into a tiny private school, giving you complete independence over what you do and how and when (info on that:

We homeschooled for a couple of years using the PSA method. You get total freedom this way, and don't report to anyone, ever. You just need to renew the PSA every year. However, it's wise to keep records of what they worked on (and maybe some work samples) for when/if the kid re-enters conventional school. 

Also: Sorry you got an unhelpful response from the district! IEPs or neurodivergence should have nothing to do with it. I wonder if you're looking for some kind of program that is run by the district, but which you work on independently at home? I'm sure other folks here will have intel on this, as I don't, but if BUSD has an independent-study program and is telling you it's only available for students without an IEP, that sounds suss, as the kids would say. I'd explore further and even look for some advocacy (here, for example: since gaining equal access is the whole point...

If you want an IEP, you’ll need to sign up with a homeschool charter school. In your area look at Connecting Waters or Hickman. Sometimes the local school districts will have a program called ISP. Individual service plan. It’s a small pot of money the districts get to service students with learning challenges in their district. However, the name is a misnomer, they only do a triennial evaluation, and it’s up to the private school you are enrolled in to implement the plan. In California, we either homeschool through public school charter or we homeschool independently through a private school affidavit, creating your own home-based private school. The Homeschool Association of California offers a free Homeschool 101 session and the next one is August 16 at 7 PM. Sign up at

Homeschool charter schools should recognize IEPs. I have heard good things about Hickman.                  Connecting Waters and Valley View might be other options?

My guess is that BUSD misunderstood your question. It is true that they (and most/all other CA districts) only provide IEP services (speech, OT, etc.) for students enrolled in the district, not for students being homeschooled. In California if you homeschool, you typically do it under a private school affidavit or via a homeschool charter. Some districts have independent study programs that are similar, but not the same as, homeschooling--you can ask what BUSD offers to see if that might meet your needs, and if so, students enrolled in those programs do have access to any services specified in their IEPs. But if you are homeschooling on your own without being enrolled in the district, you typically can't also access services via your local district (because the funding tied to your child isn't going to that district). The first step would be to map out what your child needs so that you can determine whether you can provide it at home or whether you need a charter or district partner to meet those needs. Then you can ask more specific questions about what Berkeley can provide and where you need to be enrolled to make that happen. Good luck!