Homeschool Charter Vs. Private School Affadavit - pros and cons?

My 3rd grader is not thriving in the public school system and I need to find alternatives. We live in Richmond.  Private school is not an option so I am reluctantly thinking about homeschooling. From what I understand, if he enrolls in a homeschool charter I would get some funds to use for vendors that offer classes/tutoring. Are there any disadvantages to this versus the other option, which I believe would be to set ourselves up as our own school?  How closely would we have to adhere to a curriculum with the charter option? I have discovered Hickman and Connecting waters. Are there any others I don't know about? I would love to hear from other parents who have gone with either option. Feeling overwhelmed.

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Hi,

Veteran homeschooler with two kids in college here! We always filed the PSA which gives complete freedom to use whatever method of homeschooling or curriculum/resources you like with zero hoop jumping and you decide when to graduate your kid (usually with an eye towards future plans, if four year college, more vigorous and documented, if community college transfer or straight to a trade, way more flexible). A charter offers funds to use in approved curriculum and programs/vendors and provides some scaffolding throughout your homeschool journey, but also comes with requirements and hoop jumping (especially in high school) such as testing, check ins and having your plan for covering the various subjects approved by your educational specialist whom you meet with monthly (with recent regulations increasing this has become more onerous since 2020). You have a lot of freedoms in terms of what you choose, and the final “ok” that what you’re using is sufficient comes from the ES. Plan to attend the Homeschool Association of California’s free 101 session June 1st at 2pm for more info about all legal options and how to go about homeschooling no matter which way you go. Sign up at their website HSC.org/quickguide. 
We took a relaxed approach and even so, both of my kids have 3.9 GPAs in community college and my eldest was accepted to 3 UC’s and will be attending Davis as a junior this fall. My younger child will TAG (transfer admission guarantee) to Davis this September and if accepted, will be a junior in fall of 2023. 

My apologies if you’ve already looked into this and it’s not a good solution, but have you considered transferring to another district? Albany is a nice, small district, it’s been more open to transfer recently, and it’s not far from Richmond. Is it possible your child might thrive in a different public school environment? My kids loved their time at Cornell. If the transfer was approved, your child would be able to stay in Albany through high school, even though they won’t officially promise that in advance. 

Mine are now 15&17.   We now school under a PSA but were with a charter through 8th.  Our first ES was VERY schooly and a poor fit for our eclectic learning style.  We switched and the next ES had been Waldorf-trained and looooved our adventures in learning.  Finding an ES who likes your learning style will be key to liking your charter. That said, state regulations have changed WR charters and I don't think the easy breezy time we had would apply now.  Here's the thing though -- you can quit the charter anytime!  So sign up and see if you find an ES you like and if you like the trade of rules/regulations for money.  If you like it, great!  free money!  If not, quit and file your PSA.  We did a LOT of free learning from the library and local groups.  Yes, money paid for some classes and equipment, but a lot of learning came free.  Enjoy!  it's a great path!

Hello,

I homeschooled my 2 kids for a few years circa 2014-16. We went through an independent study charter school. The school made us do lots of make-work (forms, standardized testing, keeping silly attendance logs). At one point when one of my kids scored poorly on a standardized test the school kept nagging us to do the most god-awful online literacy program. It was all the headache of a brick-and-mortar school without the community of one. The money we got from them didn't feel like it was worth it. 

If I had it do again I'd just take the leap into full independence and go the PSA route. 

Best of luck. Maybe you'll get some good responses from folks who have homeschooled more recently than me.