Charter schools--home schooling--elementary in (or near) Berkeley

Trying to figure out school options...has anyone tried home schooling for kindergarten in Berkeley? My main concerns are socializing--and I don't feel any need to be my child's only teacher. If anyone has any current resources or general advice, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

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I suggest you reach out to AOHL, or Alameda-Oakland Home Learners, and visit their website. They are a great group that meets regularly on Thursday afternoons and would be able to answer any questions you may have. We were one of several Berkeley families who regularly participated. Best of luck!

If you are open to looking at schools, I cannot recommend Aurora highly enough. Both of my children are in elementary school there and have been thriving. It is a small, progressive school with mixed-age classrooms and the pedagogy is really focused on social-emotional development as well as helping each student embrace kind of learner they are. I have watched so many different kinds of kids really thrive there. The community is very open and responsive. The teachers and administrators are so skilled and available. I feel very grateful to everyone there and it has been just wonderful to watch my children develop in themselves. They love school and they love learning - how great is that?! I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about the school.

Hello! Welcome to the awesome, exhausting thrill ride of homeschooling!

I am sure you'll get a ton of replies about this. You might want to join SFBUN (unschoolers, but homeschool friendly). Also, there's the HSC (HomeSchool Association of California) on facebook and other parts of the internet. These are two groups, but there are many, many others. I don't know which homeschool-friendly charters serve the East Bay, but there are probably at least a couple.

My daughter (age 5) attends the Trackers Bay homeschool day on Mondays. It's right near the Ashby BART station. She loves it. I believe that at least one charter might consider Trackers Bay a vendor? 

And if you mean socializing like mixing socially--many local homeschool groups have regular park days, field trips and get-togethers. If you mean socializing like growing up able to move acceptably through society--you'll probably find that is an enormous non-issue when homeschooling.

I am sure that other responses will be far more informative than mine. I just wanted to chime in to let you know that it's not uncommon to homeschool in Berkeley. You are not alone!

I homeschooled my daughter K-8, she's in a brick and mortar high school now. We used Hickman Charter. I was a nervous nelly in the beginning and liked the idea of the support system of a charter. Hickman has a resource center in downtown Oakland on 9th Street. You meet with a teacher/ advisor (an EC) about every six weeks, but there is a lot of lattitude about what/ how you teach, because homeschooling is really about customizing the education to your child's needs, interests etc.... For instance we used community classes and outside tutors a fair amount in order to flesh out our "school". Hickman also has some arrangements with some local groups, such as Kids N Clay, which we took full advantage of. The ECs at Hickman are amazing folks!!! They have lots of experience with homeschooling/ education and helpful advice about parenting in general when/ if you need it. Hickman also has a day of workshop type classes every Wednesday up at Live Oak Park in Berkeley, which is good for the socializing factor. The yearly Shakespeare play is something of an institution. 

Plus of course, for more socializing, there are groups like SFBUN and Oakland's AOHL for park day get togethers...There is also Connecting Waters Charter, but since we never used them, I can't really speak to their program.

I worried a lot, when we were starting out, and the more experienced homeschoolers all told me to relax and just follow my daughter's lead, which is what I did... so now I'm passing on the same sage advice :))


We homeschooled for a few years in the middle/upper elementary years. My kids are both now back in school.

The good news is that there are definitely other folks out there homeschooling. The challenge is that they can be hard to find. The bad news is that you may find you have to schlep all around the east bay to find enough social opportunities to meet your needs.

Some resources:
SF Bay unschoolers hold a lot of park days in Berkeley:

Another Park Day group:

In Addition Education Center is a small resource center for homeschoolers where you can drop your child off a few days a week:

Trackers Outdoor Education program is quite popular:

Good luck. I think it's easier when kids are small. 

Hi! Look into Berkeley Independent Study, on Derby st. My middle school sons go there but you can do any grade K-12 and you meet with a teacher once a week and there is art class and garden class with other kids. It is a great little community!