Homeschooling Teens & Preteens

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  •  Hello, we are BHS veterans looking for an individualized learning environment for our son to complete high school. He is 19 years old which a cut off age for some schools.  He also has learning differences and is hearing impaired.  He is functioning at about a 9th grade level. The pandemic has impacted placement in private school as there seems to be shortage of teachers to serve students. Fusion and Tilden Academy that do 1:1 tutoring are not able to accept him.  Any other options in the East Bay? Is there a space where students whoa re not at grade level can work 1:1 or in small groups and do high school courses?  I've now bought the Keystone Private school curriculum and having him tutored at home.  It's a bit lonely.  If there are any homeschooling parents, I'd love to learn more about meet ups  and other opportunities especially around themes like science in the East Bay.   Thank you!

    Have you tried Connecting Waters Charter East Bay? My son is 8 and goes to their resource center once a week for in person classes. I see many high school age kids there and in looking at in person class availability many are geared towards high school age. Not sure of the age limit, but since they’re a public charter school they accept iep’s if your son has one.

  • Hello -
    We have made the decision to remove my daughter from school due to extreme societal anxiety issues, which she is working on through therapy.  She wants to focus on taking the CHPSE this fall.

    My understanding is that, because she is in her sophmore year in high school, that she needs to be enrolled somewhere while she prepares.  I have seen recommendations for Berkeley High school's Independent Study program but this would be problematic with her anxiety.  I have no idea how to proceed with possible homeschool options.

    Any advice on how we can pull her out of school but still remain within California's rules about enrolllment?

    Thanks so much.

    Hey there, I did the CHPSE back in the early 90s -- awesome that it's still an option, although I'm sorry to hear your daughter is struggling. I have been homeschooling my younger kids for the past two years, and it's super easy to file to a PSA in California, a private school affidavit. This is how Californians homeschool, when they aren't associated with a charter (a charter involves support and guidance but also several requirements that it sounds like you wouldn't want/need.) For the PSA, you essentially become a tiny private school and can do what you want, with the only real requirements being to file the paperwork and take attendance (and, officially, to offer coursework). Here's the link from the state:

    There are a number of CA homeschool support or legal sites to help you walk through the forms, but they really are quite doable and don't take long. Kudos to you for supporting her in the way that she needs... my own reasons for going that route were different, but it allowed me to test out of the system at 16 and attend community college the following year, followed by transferring to a 4-year school, all intrinsically motivated (unlike high school) and all pretty positive experiences (unlike high school!). Best of luck to you!

    My son was enrolled in a small private school but was completely failing and only taking a few classes.  He took the CHSPE last year.  I don't think they really check.  Just enroll her in public or private school so you have one to list on the application.  Having high school behind him has relieved a lot of his anxiety and he's now taking a few classes at community college.   I felt so bad that he wasn't going to finish HS but it seems to have been the best option for him.  I hope it's as good for your daughter as it was for my son.  Good luck.

    A private school affidavit like the other poster mentioned is really easy to do. I did it for the first time this year during a free seminar out on by a homeschool consultant named Jamie Heston (I think she’s listed on BPN).

    If you’re looking for support/funding, you might check out one of the homeschool charter schools. We did Connecting Waters East Bay, but I’ve also heard good things about Valley View. I believe their requirements at the high school level are more strict, but they provide funding for classes/materials and you’re assigned a teacher to meet with once a month who can help make suggestions/guide you/offer resources. Good luck! It’s great that there are so many options now for kids.

    So sorry your daughter is struggling. Both of my teens have left Berkeley High due to mental health issues and the school environment/administration just being totally not equipped to support them. 

    My older child went into the BUSD Independent Studies program. It was a mixed bag in terms of quality of instruction (but so was Berkeley High ;), but for kids with anxiety and other mental health challenges it is a pretty good program. The caveat is that they really do have to be intrinsically motivated to get their work done. For my child, it actually laid a great foundation for college. And her senior year she had the most amazing math teacher (Corey Wade) who, even though the whole year was remote/online, prepared her so well for college-level Calculus classes.

    The principal at Independent Studies is supportive and understands kids with anxiety and the accommodations they need.

    There is also Tilden Prep, which is a private high school program where kids meet one-on-one with teachers and then do most of their work independently. It is quite expensive though.

    as the previous poster said, homeschooling is your answer here! I did this for my son, same reason. But even before you get the forms submitted and turned in, you can pull her out of school. Just tell them you are homeschooling her.

    No need to register anywhere with a public school, simply create your own private school.  See for an easy explanation of the process.  Welcome to school-free school!

    I am familiar with the CHSPE, as my son took it at 18 in lieu of attending senior year.

    First, has your daughter already turned 16? If so, my understanding is no need to be enrolled in high school.

    If she is not yet 16, consider enrolling her in an independent high school that follows a 1:1 tutoring model. I'm not aware of programs in the East Bay. My son attended Lydian Academy in Menlo Park for a while. The small, nurturing environment kept him going little longer. I imagine a school such as this could do the CHSPE prep with your daughter.

    Good luck.

    My daughter, for whom high school did not work, took the CHSPE summer after sophomore year (2020) but we learned in August she didn't pass all four parts. We were not going to try to make her go back to high school, and so we just completed the shockingly simple affidavit process on the California Department of Education website: I basically registered us as a one-student home school that did not offer a degree, and it seemed all we needed to do was affirm that we would keep attendance records (yep, she was here, every day!). We sent the CDE paperwork to Berkeley High School and BUSD so they would not mark her truant; they did not give us any problems. And then we let her self-educate until she passed the CHSPE, the next time they offered it, and she's now happily enrolled in community college. Good luck!

  • Hi there, I've read through the various spreads on homeschooling/unschooling here on BPN, but haven't found an exact fit to our situation so I thought I would make my own post.

    I have a 17 year old who is very self-driven and enjoys being challenged academically and just isn't getting the in classroom experience from teachers or her peers that she's looking for. We homeschooled through Connecting Waters for part of 9th grade, then decided to try an in-person charter high school which we just haven't been happy with. She hasn't been getting the academic rigor that she is looking for, she's more mature than the other students in her classes, and she really doesn't want to go back to in person learning at that school (or any high school at this point). She's smart and enjoys learning about a wide range of subjects/topics, and is interested in but not super advanced in STEM, so we looking for a program that can support a nice breadth of coursework.

    We're now looking at homeschooling / independent programs that can really support her, allow her to take college courses concurrently, and still be on track to complete all UC requirements if she decides she wants to go straight to a four year university. I know there are options for going the community college > 4 year transfer route, but I don't know if that's the best option for her. We're really looking for a space where she can ideally have some contact with kids her own age, a teacher/teachers who can really give her the focus and personalized attention that she needs (and are subject matter experts) while also having the flexibility of an online/virtual program so that we can travel and build in other enrichment around the "regular" coursework.

    We're not able to afford a private school at this time (think Tilden Academy) and are in Oakland so can't access Berkeley High's program. I've been looking into some general general homeschooling programs like California Connections Academy and smaller localized charter programs across the state, but it's been difficult to get a clear picture of the actual learning experience since there's no physical school space.

    It would be so awesome to hear your personal experiences! Thank you so so much for your suggestions and input!

    No responses received.

  • Hello Everyone,

    We moved to Berkeley from NYC in Jan.  Previously I had been homeschooling our son (Grade 8) in NYC. In Jan we enrolled him in Willard Middle to help him make friends, and prepare him for the fall transition to Berkeley High School.  Now with Covid-19, his school (like most) have transitioned online.  We are unhappy with this online transition, but understand it under the circumstances (the teachers are working so hard ♥️ )- that being said, I would like to be better prepared for the fall.  In the event the students aren't in the high school in a "traditional" way, we were thinking of going back to homeschooling. We were excited for him to have the social aspect of high school, and if that can't happen, we would prefer to take over his education.  Has anyone homeschooled a high schooler before that can give us any advice? Groups? Classes?  In NY, there is much less oversight than in California, so I am not familiar with the idea of working with a charter, etc. Any advice would be appreciated!

    You may want to look into Berkeley High School's Independent Study program as a midway point or segue between homeschooling and the return of live classes at BHS.

    You should check out Berkeley High Independent Study program. 


    We homeschooled our 16 year old daughter for several years. Here is a list of my favorite homeschool resources. Institute for Excellence in Writing, for mathematics, History, Language and any other class., for mathematics, well trained mind, BigHistory Project. 
    If you need any more resources please advise and I can forward what I know to be reputable. 

    Good Luck. 

    I homeschooled my daughter K-8 through Hickman Charter School. She decided to attend the Oakland School for the Arts for High School, so my knowledge about homeschooling high school is not first hand...and now with the Corona Virus much of this may be a moot point anyway. However... I know that many folks, file a Private School Affidavit and then utilize the Community Colleges to supplement their programs. Here's some info about that here  I also knew someone who went to Valley View Charter Prep... Tilden Prep is also a possibility, although they are more pricey. There's also at least one Google Group that focuses on homeschooling high school.. Hope this is helpful, best of luck in continuing your homeschool adventure!

  • Hi all you homeschoolers out there. We are looking into homeschooling our sophmore (currently enrolled in high school in Benicia) through spring when she will take the CHESPE. I'm wondering what we need to do in terms of filing with the state. Curriculum would be a combination of tutoring in math and English, art taught by her father (a working artist/faculty at an art college) and the rest would be an unschooling curriculum. Any advice on how to accomplish this as quickly as possible as we want to begin homeschooling immediately. Thanks!

    Easy!  Welcome to homeschooling.  Here's your quick secular guide to homeschooling in CA:  The quickest path to legal homeschooling with least oversight (and support) is to regiser as a private school:   6 minutes and BOOM you're legal.  Pull her out same day and don't look back!

    We homeschool through a charter school. It's really great. We meet with a supervising teacher once a week (it will go down to once a month after a while) and she helps us with curriculum, materials, etc. She's really helpful. Our son is enrolled in school but we're the teachers. On Wednesdays he attends optional enrichment classes so that he has contact with other students but that isn't required. I find the structure of the charter school to be really helpful. When I used to think about homeschooling, I thought it was only religious whackos who didn't want their kids exposed to reality. I also assumed that very little learning was going on. Now I know better. My son is learning far more at home with us than he ever did sitting in class with 25 other kids. The social anxiety is gone and now he's focused on learning instead of on making it through the day without humiliation.

    I was 100% opposed to home schooling but now I'm a convert. This was absolutely the best decision for our entire family. You can send me a message through my user name if you want to discuss this more. Unfortunately we've moved out of the bay and don't have the name of a similar program back home. But I bet that you can find one through searching Google for personalized educational programs. Good luck!

    Call your district office and enroll in independent study through them.

    you can pull your daughter out of school today!

    there is a form you have to send in to the state (I believe) saying you are homeschooling but they ask for almost no info. Sorry I can't give you more details, since I did it over 10 years ago, but I remember being shocked at how little the govt cares what is happening. You don't have to wait for any approval or certification from the state. And my kid's public high school didn't care either. I just called up, said "he won't be attending anymore since we are homeschooling," and that was that.

  • Dear BPN:

    my wife and I are seriously considering home schooling our 14 year old this coming fall and we'd like to find other families we can meet & talk to and possibly have social activities with in San Francisco with but its been difficult searching on the web as most leads seem to dead-end. We saw an advert on Facebook for an upcoming home school prom but that's about it. Any suggestions, contacts &c are much appreciated. 

    Thank you,


    I invite you or anyone else to call the Homeschool Association of CA, I am the Phone Line Coordinator, for help. 1-888-HSC-4440. You are also welcome to attend one of two free talks I am giving April 26 at 1 and May 10 at 6pm at the San Jose Bascom Library regarding if homeschooling is for you. Feel free to contact me directly as well, I can help you with resources and how to find your people.

    Library info:

    1000 S Bascom Ave
    San Jose, CA  95128

  • Hi everyone. My 15 year old daughter would like to enroll in Berkeley City College and would also like to pursue a high school diploma equivalency. I'm curious to know if any parents have insight into enrolling in city college and getting the GED or CHSPE for their homeschooled teen.



    My 15 yr old just went this route. I’d be happy to walk you through the process but it is dependent on how exactly you’ve been homeschooling. Feel free to contact me directly via my BPN username.

  • I was wondering if there are any homeschool groups that have teenagers in Berkeley or close by. I started homeschooling my 8th grader this year and we are looking for a community to belong to.


    I homeschooled my kids for a few years (in the upper elementary/middle school years). To be honest, the social piece was the part I found most difficult--there simply aren't as many homeschoolers around as the internet would have you believe. But with some searching and a willingness to travel a little, you should be able to find some kindred spirits. There is a group on Facebook called "SF East Bay Homeschool Teens." I also suggest checking out Tri Valley Explorers which is out by Pleasanton There is another group called SF Bay Unschoolers, which has a yahoo group you can look up; they hold park days in Berkeley pretty regularly.

    Best of luck!

    Hi!  We'd love to have you visit us at Alameda Oakland Home Learners.  Check out for a calendar of our park days. We have a little group of middle schoolers, including my sons, ages 11 and 13.  Feel free to contact me directly if you have more questions!



    Hi I have been homeschooling my 12 yo with the support of Valley View Charter school and he attends classes at a wonderful micro school with mixed ages in Albany Called In Addition. Vonnie is the director and can be reached at tel:(510) 693-1959

    My son also enjoys going to Trackers homeschooling classes. Trackers is in Berkeley across from Ashby Bart  there’s lots of various classes and programs  

    Good luck! 

    We are part of a homeschooling charter, the Hickman Charter Annex, which mostly takes place at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. They meet something like 18 Wednesdays/year, nominally for classes (which, at the middle school level, includes an absolutely phenomenal Shakespeare program), though in large part for the social interactions that happen before, during, and after. My 7th-grader has a number of friends from there, and participates in other activities with them outside of Hickman. We've had absolutely no trouble finding enough socialization for her, and Hickman is a big part of her community! Same for my son.

  • Our son is in a private Catholic school that goes thru 8 th grade. We are thinking about alternatives to the public high school in our area (John Swett ) and would love to hear suggestions as to Home schooling for a high school student. He is way above grade level but shy and would probably be better served if he could work at his own pace but still have social interaction with other home schoolers. Any thoughts or suggestions as to where to start looking?

    Hi there,

    Have you considered Tilden Prep? It's a great option for kids who don't fit the mold of a typical brick-and-mortar school, for whatever reason. It's great because kids can work at their own pace but still be in group classes if they wish. There are two campuses: Walnut Creek and Albany: However, it is pricey. We live in BUSD and they offer an Independent Studies program. You might want to see if your school district offers a similar program. Good luck!

  • My daughter is being homeschooled because of a health condition which makes her unable to attend a full or even partial day in traditional high school. She's funny, engaging, artistic, well read, up on things, but home and is pretty isolated.  Are there outings or small get-togethers for homeschooled teens? We're looking to create a small social circle for her now that she's "out of the loop". Thanks for your ideas.

    Go on Yahoo and look up the SF Bay Area Unschoolers. I believe there is a specific group for homeschoolers as well. There are get togethers and in general people who will chime in about activities and provide insights. Definitely some teens in the mix. Good luck!

    I have been a member of a private social network for a few years. It changed it's name from the parent name, Sgrouples, to the present name, www.

    This would be ideal for teens because this network has group chat and private chat, and postings from whomever are the owners or contacts within a private group that anyone can start.  please go to this site and check it out for yourself. Please mention my name, Suzanne Cerny that I have recommended you. I have a site and you are welcome to see it, but it has political content so your teen wouldn't necessarily want to be a part of my site in the beginning. You would have to start your own. Once you and your teen learn how to navigate in this site, it could be very popular with teens everywhere. I'm hoping that there is not an age restriction.

    Hi, I'm the teen librarian at Berkeley Public Library North Branch. We have regularly scheduled events for teens that might be fun for your daughter to join. On Wednesdays we have Teens Make Some Thing! at 230pm where we do some sort of creative craft or maker project, and on Thursdays we have Game On! at 3:30pm where we have teens come to play video games (often Super Smash Brothers 8 player) and board and card games. Your daughter is welcome to join us - I've met several home school students who do hang out at the library, as well. If your daughter prefers a good noisy time, join us for games, if she'd prefer something a bit calmer, our crafts program is fun and friendly. Each program is an hour, and anyone is welcome in the middle school to high school age range. :) 

    We also have special programs on occasion, so be sure to check the library's calendar for those upcoming events. 

  • Long story short- Our middle schooler has reached the point at which we are seriously considering home schooling or un-schooling options. Hates school but is bright and an awesome kid, and I feel the typical school system is killing his love of learning. (FYI- our other 2 children are in public school and thriving, and we are big supporters of public education- but all methods don't work for all kids). With both of us parents working full time (my schedule is flexible, but still 35+ hours each week) make me wonder if this is do-able and I feel overwhlemed by the process. Can you point me in the direction of local resources? If you work, how have you made a schedule for your family that works for your child's needs? We are also taking a look at the Diablo valley school in concord if anyone has recent feedback about that school, or other local private schools with low tuition that may be similar. Thank you BPN. 

    We were in much the same position, and made the switch to homeschooling this year for one of our 3 kids. I was able to cut back on my work hours, but it's certainly doable, depending on your kid. My kid is much happier and definitely learning more. There are so many resources in the Bay Area, you could sign him up for things several days per week if you want, and it would not be like school. Check out Trackers, Curiosity Hacked (CHILL program), Quantum Camp, and Sienna Ranch. If you enroll through a public charter like Connecting Waters or Valley View, you will get funds to pay for these activities. Many activities fill up (lots of homeschoolers in the Bay Area), but you could start with one and add more when space opens up. Good luck! It's easier than you think.

    I recommend you contact your local homeschool group  ie the Oakland Alameda Homeschool Group is good. Go to a park day and start talking to a few of the parents. 

    There are plenty of online info about homeschooling and unschooling and great blogs.

    I have homeschooled for many years. My oldest is 23 yrs and my youngest is 3.5 yrs with 8 kids total and homeschool my step daughters too. 

    If you are first pulling your child out of school your child will need some general down time to decompress. That amount of time varies for each kid in my opinion. Some need a month and some need more. I've read a month per years in school but I don't agree with some a tight amount. That's unschooling right there. Many people wait til end of school year and just let the summer months be the unschooling months. 

    Some kids and parents are done unschooling after a few months and want more structure in their daily lives. Unschooling is not easy and doesn't come too naturally for many parents and kids. 

    You can join a charter school such as Connecting Waters or Valley View. They are independent study charter schools and they offer you finances to buy curriculum and supplies, classes either at their learning center or online or through a vendor, and someone who comes once a month or so to collect samples, attendance, and deliver the supplies to you. In exchange your child would take an annual state test. It's pretty low key and my kids like it. 

    Regarding scheduling: some families are spontaneous everyday and their daily outings provide them the structure. Such as field trips and park days and lessons . When they are at home they can spend the day playing video games or tv or reading books, drawing, painting, crafting, writing, jumping on the trampoline, pet care, household chores, gardening , cooking or baking etc

    Other families may have a little more structure with specific wake up and bedtime and meal times, quiet time ,project time 

    Personally my eyes start crossing if my kids were on tv or video games all day and I go buggy. Other parents it's fine. I could never be an unschooler.

    Some parents are more eclectic blending some unschooling with a few lessons here and there. 

    There is a yahoo group called SF Bay Unschooling (SFBUN) that is a great start to learn about the resources that are out there. They organize (I think annually) information sessions that are very good and will give you an idea of the struggles and rewards of the unschooling life. I think some unschooling families are in your situation, where one parent is flexible and can work around their kid's needs. 

    My daughter (who is in Kindergarten) recently did a visit week at Diablo Valley School. She decided to stay at our local public school, mostly for social reasons, but I was able to see first hand the amazing difference of a Sudbury education and the way that DVS is implementing it. I'm happy to respond in more detail privately and connect you with a current DVS parent. But my experience is relatively limited, I mostly would recommend attending open houses and just talking to the staff and current parents, I have found them to be very open and honest about the challenges and benefits of the school. We still plan to encourage my daughter to consider DVS, although I think it may be more appealing to her when she is older. The hardest part on us would definitely be the commute, we live in Oakland. There area a number of cafes and co-working spaces not too far from the school. If we didn't have family nearby the school, participating in one of those would probably be the only way it would be feasible for us.

    There is also a group trying to start another Sudbury School:

    I am planning on checking out Nea, which seems to share some philosophy as Sudbury Schools, but it is all in the implementation and I don't know enough to recommend it:

    Feel free to contact me via my BPN user name.

    I'd be happy to talk with you about DVS or homeschooling if you have questions. My children were homeschooled for 2 years (after doing 2 years of public school) and now attend DVS.

    Join SFBUN on yahoo groups to start--a great resource loaded with helpful people.

  • I have teens homeschooling with Connecting Waters Charter School and we are seeking other teens for them to socialize with. They will be 15yrs in March. They are twins. They like Twenty One Pilots and Of Monster and Men. One like to play the bass, acoustic and electric guitar and learning drums. The other one plays the piano and learning ukelele. They like to watch New Girl, Mindy Project and WayWard Pines. We live in San Leandro. They are pretty serious with their studies but they are still your average teens. 

    Yes, I think it's difficult to connect homeschooling teens, they all seem to go off in their own directions :) Have you tried LARP? I know there are a number of homeschooled teens who participate...

    Check out Alameda Oakland Home Learners (aohl -  Weekly Thursday afternoons at local Oakland & Alameda parks (& sometimes SL & Berkeley). A fair contingent of teens although some older teens are trying out schooling this fall including my 14 yr/o son, who also is a a 21 PIlots fan (& we live in SLdro).  Also, Berkeley Rep has a fantastic Teen Night, lots of schooled & homeschooled teens getting together for pre-show talk & dinner + Berk Rep show + post-show hot chocolate & talk, all for $10/ticket.  Look at the Teen Council tab on their website; there is a teen night for each of the shows they produce.  On Facebook, look for the SF East Bay Homeschool Teens & ask to join the group.  Feel free to contact me directly to brainstorm other ideas or to get our kids together.  There are definitely other homeschooling teens in our area.

  • Are you looking for nice kids for your 12-13 year old teenager to hang out with? Me too. I have a 13 year old son who I am home schooling due to ADD issues. He spent five years at Waldorf school and really loved it there, but was falling behind in the language arts. We home schooled him for fifth grade and he was able to meet and exceed grade level expectations, however his social skills fell behind those of his peers. We enrolled him in public school for sixth grade and he really hated the social dynamics in which his peers were engaging. Can you believe Yo Mama jokes are still fresh for teenagers? He was unimpressed. He is back at home for 7th grade and quite content with his online learning modules and tutoring. 

    He loves movies, day hikes, building gadgets, playing board games and day dreaming about things he wants to invent. If you are in the East Bay and have a young teen who is looking for a group of nice kids to hang out with in a group setting, let's get our kids together and see if we have a good fit.  


    Hi Luci!

    Have you checked out the homeschooling park days?  We go to Alameda Oakland Home Learners park day (, we have a small group of middle-school aged boys, and you and your son would be welcome!

    There are other groups, too, like the SFBUN group in Berkeley.

You don’t have to wait if you want to homeschool for the remainder of the school year. Because it’s high school they would lose any spring semester credit but you could make this up with online classes now or community college classes later - there are many options. For details about how to go from a ‘regular school’ to a private homeschool mid year look at the HSC  (homeschool association of CA) website. They even have a phone line if you want someone to talk you through it.  

Best of luck!


Have you thought of homeschooling? My daughter did this and had no issues with college acceptances, etc. It is not “odd” any more. In fact, she was able to focus on her passions and became advanced (colleges like that, if that’s a concern). There are many ways to socialize - theatre, music, sports, volunteering. There are online courses and colleges will take high schoolers as special students. IMO, high school is a waste for many young people (it didn’t even exist until the 1920’s). We did homeschool in Maryland. We just had to find out state requirements. Sure Cali is the same. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Exploring homeschooling for 7th grader

Nov 2015

Can anyone share their knowledge or experience with online school? We are exploring online options or potentially homeschooling for a 7th grader - public school is not working out socially (too much bullying and violence) and private is simply not an option.

I do not have experience with, but since you're considering home schooling, do you know about Berkeley Independent Study (BIS)? A BUSD K-12 alternative, BIS offers an assisted home schooling program for K-8 students.

In the Home School program, parents/guardians accompany students to weekly 90-minute meetings with teachers. Assignments follow Common Core standards and BUSD's assessment calendar, while accommodating students' interests and abilities. BIS provides instructional materials, art and garden classes, as well as tutoring. Parents/guardians act as home teachers for all of the K-8 lessons. They need to be available to supervise their child's studies at home for 20-25 hours per week. For some students, this program is an excellent alternative to the regular classroom and home teachers can engage in a collaborative approach to learning for their children. Kamala

Homeschool or right school for gifted girl

Oct 2013

We are in the process of looking for a school (middle school) for our daughter who is gifted with a learning disability. The learning disability was completely overlooked by the private school she attends in Berkeley. For that as well as other reasons we are looking for a school that will really get her as a learner: be able to reach the extremely bright kid while accommodating her issues. She is very sensitive and her self esteem has really suffered so our ideal school would have a great social emotional component. We live in Oakland in a not so good school area but are willing to drive for the right place. Another option we are willing to consider is homeschool. Is there a homeschool group in the area that would be a good fit? We are considering pulling her from school for the rest of this year to focus on remediation as the homework load she is getting from school seems like too much to combine with the remediation. I don't think she would qualify for assistance in a public school setting as she is able to keep up. anon

We were in a similar situation with our son - gifted with learning disabilities and not happy in school. Last spring, we pulled him from his private school. We settled on a hybrid for schooling - part time homeschool and part time in a great ''micro-school'' called One Room.

One Room is based in Oakland and the teacher, Jade Rivera, specializes in teaching gifted kids. Her school runs three days a week (you can select 1-3 days) and has just a handful of kids aged 10-12. She focuses on social-emotional development and provides a choice-based curriculum with a lot of project-based work. She provides a wonderfully supportive, warm environment and yet is firm and keeps kids on track to meet their goals. The school is housed at Kids N' Dance in the Laurel District where there is a gym room and the chance for after school programs.

Jade has a blog that talks about her philosophy and has a tab that talks about One Room.

Roxanne A


Co-op with other parents homeschooling teens?

July 2013


I'm interested in forming a coop with other parents/teachers to home school. Does anyone have any advice or information on this subject. GLM

The best way to find people for co-ops is through homeschool groups like Home Grown Kids and Alameda Oakland Home Learners. If your child might be interested in Science Olympiad we have a team he or she could join. We meet once/week.

I have a lot of homeschool co-op experience. I have 14 and 13 year olds whom I homeschool. Susan R.


Where can homeschooled 13-y-o meet other kids?

Oct 2012


Hi, We are homeschooling our 13 year old son for the first time this year and would like to hear from others about how to address the need for socialization at this age. I'd like to find a way for him to meet kids and make lasting friendships. Any suggestions BPN? Thanks Boring mom:-)

Hi there Boring Mom, There is a thriving, vibrant, homeschool community in the Bay Area. Since you did not mention any religious affiliation I will assume that you are looking for secular, inclusive, homeschool groups; of which there a number in this area. I can speak mostly of Homegrown Kids, since I founded the group in 2001, when my son was two. It's an eclectic group of home educators. We have a lot of 11-14 year old boys, some 13 and 14 year old girls and a larger group of 10 -12 year old girls, plus all ages on down to about two. Those of us with teens place a lot of our focus on teen activities and have been organizing events that include other local groups. I started a Yahoo Group for this purpose. I will email you my resource list. Below is a list of some local groups.

Homegrown Kids (HGK):

Bay Area Homeschool Outings for Teen (BAHoOTs) My new Yahoo Group

San Francisco Bay Area Unschoolers (SFBUN) Yahoo Group:

Alameda Oakland Homelearners (AOHL):

Tri-Valley explorers (TVE): Marianne


Homeschooling Options for 8th Grader

Aug 2011


We're looking for homeschooling options including groups, classes, or even one or two other children for our 8th grade daughter. We're especially interested in group teaching and exchanges for math, science, language (Spanish). We can do English/Grammar/Literature and History. Can you let us know what may be available in the East Bay (Alameda or Contra Costa Counties)? We're also interested in recommendations for any math or science classes/labs that may be available for 8th graders to sign up for. linda

There a quite a few options for homeschooling in the area, in a variety of ways. Your best bet is to start contacting local homeschooling groups like Homegrown Kids or Alameda-Oakland Home Learners and getting to know other homeschoolers. For math and science, check out Quantum Camp in Berkeley. Lawerence Hall of Science and the Exploratorium also run homeschool classes. Good luck and welcome to the wonderful adventure that is homeschooling! sam


Homeschooling my 15 year old

May 2011


I am interested in homeschooling my teenage son, who is 15 and has some school anxiety issues. I am interested in any advice or recommendations. For example, are there any charter schools in Alameda County that take homeschooled teens? Has anyone used tutors or started their own school? Has anyone tried online schools? We live in Berkeley. anon

hi - You can homeschool through Berkeley Unified School District Independent Study program. I know of a few good experiences with this. Student sees Indep Studies Program teacher once a week I think. And teacher can modify workload etc to accommodate outside activities. anon

There are a growing number of homeschooling teens and plenty of resources for your son. My son is using and liking Berkeley High's Independent Study program, but a lot of families either homeschool on their own or use the two homeschooling charter schools, FAME, and Connecting Waters Also, a lot of homeschoolers take their math and science with QuantumCamp in downtown Berkeley, and outdoor education with Trackers or starting in the fall with the Yerba Buena Institute

A good email list to be on is High School Without Borders. We are a group of families with homeschooled teens and we help each other set up social events, classes of interest and events, and we also share ideas and resources. This summer we will have game days, swim days, computer days, hiking days and possibly a Shakespeare class and movie night, so there is a lot for your son to plug into. It's a good place to ask about online resources or other homeschooling questions you might have. Feel free to contact me offlist if you're interested. Jennifer

BHS Independent Studies Program may be a solution for your family. We discovered it as an alternative for our child to achieve a high school diploma after having experience similar to yours. It's one-on-one weekly academic learning meetings, you help your child track their assignments, and they have on-site mentors as well who help track progress. It might be similar to homeschooling. The kids are welcome to participate in BHS team sports as long as GPA is good. You have to really stay involved, their department also processes homeschooling. The only thing I felt was missing was academic advisor-which is a function of the principal. Set an info. meeting up before the end of this school year as they are not there over the summer. Good luck to you! Anon


Homeschooling/unschooling 15-year-old

Nov 2010


I need more info about starting to homeschool/unschool a 15yr old who has stopped attending his public HS two months ago. His reasons are pretty vague. We have had various recommendation from professionals (psychological testing, residential schools, tough love). I've read about homeschooling, researched a few bay area groups. How does one begin? What should the expectations be? How many high school aged kids are there in the area that homeschool/unschool? determined mom

Homeschooling is fine, and there are resources in this area. But you really, really need to know why he hasn't been going to school. Is he being threatened? Is he seriously depressed and doesn't think it's worth the effort? Does he have a substance problem? Is this an ominous sign of new-onset schizophrenia? What about his frustration with a learning problem he doesn't understand? Whatever the answer, it's unlikely to be identified just by homeschooling. Get professionals involved. concerned

My son was in a similar situation last year. He is now thriving at San Francisco Flex Academy near Union Square in San Francisco. It is FREE charter school that works with students at their own pace, through online courses complemented by teachers. The students are required to be there every day, so there is a social life. Their homework is usually done by the time they leave school at 3 p.m. I encourage you to call and visit the school.

There aren't a ton of homeschooled teens in the East Bay but I think it will be a growing group in the next year or two. My son is 14 and we've always homeschooled. He connects with other teens in TrackersBay Scout Team Marine, QuantumCamp, and activities set up by High School Without Borders. In the fall a new homeschooling charter school (K-12, but really focused on high school) will be opening with a learning center in downtown Berkeley.

We don't unschool, but there is an unschooling group called San Francisco Bay Unschoolers Network (SFBUN) and they have some teens. Feel free to contact me if it would be helpful to you. Jennifer


New to Berkeley, homeschooling 12 yr old boy

Nov 2010


We are moving to Berkeley from Marin. We have a 12 yr old son who we have begun homeschooling (fall 2010). He went to several public schools in Marin K-6, but was often under-challenged academically. He is very creative w/ interests in theater, D, math and writing. Since beginning the homeschool adventure we've found it to be very isolating. In Marin ''park days'' were geared more towards younger kids and he has felt out-of-place randomly showing up at parks and trying to make friends. We are trying to figure out the best path to take once we get settled in the east bay. He is enrolled at Berkeley rep but, I would love to hear any ideas about social stuff for artistic-type boys this age. We would like to stick with homeschooling if we can, but might have to consider alternatives. MMG

There are a ton of 11-13 year old homeschooled boys in and around Berkeley. Check out Home Grown Kids or the Berkeley annex of Hickman Charter School. Hickman contracts with CalShakes every year to put on a Shakespeare play, so there must be some theatrically-interested kids in the mix. Also, in addition to Berkeley Rep, Julia Morgan theater might also have a youth program. Jennifer

I don't have any first hand experience with homeschooling but if you have to consider the alternatives I hope you consider one of the many fine schools available in Berkeley (and area) that are excellent for drama, the arts and such. As for public schools, our son goes to MLK Middle School, and loves it. He is in advanced math, having skipped 7th grade math completely. He did this by passing the 7th grade year-end test, that all 6th grade students were administered in June. He is also artistic, and loves the cooking and gardening options at King. There is drama, dance, percussion, band, art, computers, orchestra and chorus, to name a few. There are also writing, journalism and other creative literature options. Our son attended a small private school for six years prior to King, and we thought he'd have a hard time adjusting. But it's been fabulous. He's found 3-4 boys that share his interests and aptitudes, and he studies, plays and does sports with these pals. It's everything we wanted for him. Parent of 7th grader in BUSD

Finding good social activities for your home schooled teen is a pretty big challenge. Your son's interests match the interests of many of the particants in my after school and summer program. Additionally, students in our program often form lasting friendships with each other.

For the last 21 years, the Roleplay Workshop has been providing fun, safe, and supportive programs for youth ages 10 to 18. We use Abantey, a role playing game very similar to D, to teach life skills in a creative setting, promoting self esteem, problem solving, and social skills. Participants work together to solve dilemmas using logic and common sense, while learning math, sciences and ethics along the way.

The program is ultimately about teaching young adults personal responsibility. Our school year programs include after school programs (Monday - Friday, 3:30 - 6:00 pm), weekend programs (Saturdays, 12 - 5 pm), school holiday programs (9 am to 5 pm) and special event programs. Enrollment opens on September 27, 2010. After school programs begin on October 4, 2010. School Holiday programming is available for most public and private school holidays. Contact: Becky Thomas Program Location: 4014 Piedmont Ave.; Oakland Ca Mailing address: 925 39th St.; Oakland, CA. 94608-3860 Phone: 510.654.3582 Email: mail [at] Web: Becky Thomas, Director

If your son is interested in D, Itsyourmove on Telegraph ave has kids D on weekends which my son loves! Most of the boys are in the age range of about 12 to 16ish I think. At least one boy that goes there is homeschooled. You can call them at 547-4386 and their site is Their schedule vary, but its often 12:30-3:30 on Sundays or Saturdays. The DM Will is fantastic with amazing imagination. happy mom from Oakland

There are many, many homeschoolers in this area. Here are two listings of support groups: and For those homeschooling gifted kids and teens, there is San Francisco Bay Area Gifted Homeschoolers, For the math interest, there is a Berkeley math circle,, and for the theater interest, Berkeley Rep, where he's enrolled, is a great place to be. I've been homeschooling my 13yo daughter for 8+ years and her theater/music connections are fulfilled within the larger community, not specifically within the homeschooling community. Good luck! Jennifer

There are several options for you in this area, charter schools, support groups, unschoolers, etc. There is a homeschool craft fair coming up, and you may wish to attend and meet many kids and parents and talk to people. Please email me for details. tp

As a science center offering an array of programs well attended by homeschoolers, QuantumCamp can get you in touch with active homeschool families very quickly. Contact us anytime. Michael


Home school to high school transition

May 2010


American friends have been sailing in Mexico and places south for several years, and their son, just turning 16, would like to enter a Bay Area high school. Because of his unusual education he's more than proficient in some subjects and probably behind in others. He's also spanish- english bilingual. Any ideas how to get him assessed for proper grade placement? Any ideas about high schools/programs (public or private) that would appreciate and support his self-directed in- depth knowledge of computers (he's been the consulting computer tech for all the computer owners in their marina) and other sciences?

Greetings, I would check out Maybeck High School in Berkeley. They are a a small private school with a lot of small group learning experiences. The school culture is one of acceptance. I could see a child as you described needing support in this sort of setting. Ask to speak to Trevor, he is in admissions. Good Luck! anon


Looking for info about homeschooling our 7th grader

Feb 2007


My wife and I are looking for any good information, contacts, and experiences reguarding Homeschooling. We plan to begin with our son (7th grade) immediatly and need any help we can get.

I wrote directly to the family who inquired about homeschooling, but also wanted to post information here. There is a homeschooling support group for every city in the Bay Area. One is Alameda Oakland Homelearners, which meets every Thursday afternoon from 12 to 4 at parks alternating between Alameda and Oakland. We also organize occasional classes and field trips. Anyone interested in homeschooling is welcome at our park days. We have kids of all ages. Our website: A good website for people interested in homeschooling is this one: chaos/ I am always available to answer questions or provide help. Jennifer

A great place to learn about different options and such for homeschooling is at Mothering.commune: there you can read about what other people are doing, what materials to use, etc. It is a great community! Also, search yahoo groups--there are tons of homeschooling groups for all different styles and degrees of learning at home. Good luck and have fun! crunchymama

Hi Dave, In addition to moderating the Marketplace newsletter, I am a homeschooling mom. My kids are younger than yours (they are 6 and 8), so I don't know if I can answer your questions related to older kids and homeschooling. However, I'd like to help you if I can. Feel free to e-mail.

The Homeschooling Association of California has a very informative website. They have one section devoted to new homeschoolers:

There is no homeschooling law in California. The California Education Code states: ''[A]ll children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend a public full-time day school unless otherwise exempted.'' ('48200 )

Homeschooling families in California comply with the compulsory attendance law in one of five ways:

      * They establish a private school in their home ('48222 exemption).     * They enroll their children in a private school that offers an independent study course ('48222 exemption).     * They hold, or employ a private tutor holding, a California teaching credential for the grades and subjects being taught ('48224 exemption).     * They enroll their children in a public school that offers independent study (public school).     * They enroll their children in a public charter school that offers independent study, distance learning, or a homeschool program (public school). 

For socialization, there are several groups in the Berkeley-Oakland-Richmond area to choose from. Homegrown Kids tends to have younger kids (up to about 8 or 9). Alameda-Oakland Home Learners (AOHL) has both younger and older kids, and Family Village tends to have older kids. This is, of course, a generalization. I would recommend you try a few groups and find one you like.

This is another great resource:

I am a member of a homeschooling e-list, Home-Ed: There are many e-lists devoted to homeschooling, some of which are associated with different homeschool organizations and some that are independent. Your task is to find groups you like :-)

Books: The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child: Your Complete Guide to Getting Off to the Right Start by Linda Dobson Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School by Rebecca Rupp The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, Revised and Updated Edition by Susan Wise Bauer, Jessie Wise I think some of these are available at the Berkeley Library. Good luck! Laurel

Hi David, I see that you have had some helpful responses to your post already. Here\x92s one more. I am a volunteer for the Homeschool Association of California, ( I offer phone and email support to families in West Contra Costa County, and previously for Alameda County. For specific information regarding homeschooling teens, contact Wes Beach at (831) 462-5867. You can read more information about Wes on the HSC website at: I will send a detailed resource list directly to your private email address. Anyone else who needs some questions answered; some homeschool support, and/or would like me to send them an extensive list of homeschool resources, both local and state- wide, please email me at hsinfo [at] Marianne

Oak Meadow Homeschool Program

Jan. 2002

Re: Troubled daughter has stopped going to school (Jan 2002)
For the parent looking for alternative to High School. We enrolled in a Homeschool program called Oak Meadow . We want a well structure program and this one is excellent. You choose your classes with their help and advise, and receive the books and planned lessons on the mail all at once. You can choose to do undependably or with them. They also offer an online school. The curriculum is the same with the difference that the child has one teacher for each subject and has to send his or hers homework every other day via email. It cost considerably more but to us is worthwhile to have the structure, advise and guidance. The children receive grades and credits for all the classes. The enrolled student has access to their library a nd their students chat room, besides being able to work on line with other students from different locations. You can find out about the school (which in California is considered a private school) on their internet site, oak, where you can sample the lessons. Denise G.


Homeschooling Group for 11 y/o Girl?

May 2008


We have 2 daughters, ages 9 and 11. They currently go to a Catholic school, and we are realizing that their current path is not at all what we envision for them. It is really important to us that we raise girls who are not only excellent students (they are), but strong and aware that the world extends beyond Limited Too and Webkinz! Our oldest is in 5th grade,a great kid but a little naive socially, and mucking through the mire of nasty girls who tear each other apart at any opportunity. What we want is to explore home-schooling her, meeting up with other home schooled kids, and supplementing what she is learning with travel to other, less fortunate, but amazing places on our planet. At the same time, we would like to have her enter high school more than well prepared for the academics ahead, as her choice of college is totally wide open. Is there any like-minded group in the Berkeley/Oakland/Lamorinda/Concord area that we can collaborate with? It is so important to us that our girls learn to be strong women who are part of the SOLUTION, not tearing other women apart in this crazy, keep-up-with-the-Joneses society. Why do we do this to each other???!!! Your input is greatly appreciated! Refusing to Play that Game ~

I am part of the wonderful homeschooling community in East Bay, and there are a lot of resources and options available for those interested in this educational path-- check out online for a lot of information and links to other websites. My contact information is listed there, if you want a live person to talk to. Katrina

Homeschooling groups in the area include Alameda Oakland Home Learners Home Grown Kids and Family Village

All three are welcoming and friendly groups. Family Village and HGK meet together at Codornices Park once/month, so if you try that day you will meet members of both groups (see their websites). Although you are welcome to just come to the park, it seems to work better for newcomers if they contact the group and let someone know they are coming. People will look out for you and make sure to greet you if they are expecting you.

Alameda Oakland Home Learners is a somewhat larger group than Home Grown Kids with more preteens/teens. HGK tends to younger kids in regular attendance. However, my experience has been that if you join a group and stick with it, kids your kids' age will show up in not too long.

I hope we see you at the park! s

My daughter (who will be 11 in September) and I are also looking for homeschooling groups, and we would love to talk with you. She is completing 5th grade this year in public school (Madera) in El Cerrito. We are going to homeschool in the Fall. Her younger sister will attend public school (1st grade), but will participate in some of our special projects and travel and outings, as well. lori