How to choose the right homeschooling resources for your family?
People choose to homeschool for many different reasons. The why for each individual homeschooler will help inform decisions about how they want to homeschool. A few of these reasons are listed below:
- Child development / Parent-child relationship
- Special needs
- Vaccine requirements
- Mental health
- Home culture
- Outdoor time / experiential learning style
When choosing resources and support groups, one big why element may lead you to religious homeschooling or secular homeschooling. Many groups identify themselves as one or the other, and this will help parents choose groups and activities that may be more suited to the needs of their family. (When religious affiliation is known, it is indicated on the resource list).
For some families, another helpful factor is knowing whether or not there are vaccine requirements for a certain program or service. (The resource list includes a note if a program has vaccination requirements).
Know the law! There are several ways that parents educate their children at home: through an existing private school, through a public charter or independent study program, and in many instances by opening their own private home-based school and filing the Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education (CDE). Another resource to find out what is required of homeschoolers in California, go to: HSC.org. They host regular information sessions on Zoom titled “Homeschooling 101” and have live PSA filing “parties.”
BOOKS! There are as many ways to homeschool as there are parents. Choosing your own way will be your journey. To be inspired, encouraged, and reassured, as well as to learn more about the research available and the perspectives of experts and veteran homeschoolers, there are hundreds of books. Find them at the library, or use Hoopla or Libby to listen to them for free! If you don’t find the books you’re looking for in our catalog, please request them! We can get you almost any book you are looking for. Here are just a few, applicable to both religious and secular homeschoolers, that may help you get started:
- The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart
- The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment
- Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp
- Learning All the Time by John Holt
CHEAofCA.org (Christian Home Educators Association)
HSC.org (Homeschool Association of California)
SEAhomeschoolers.com (Secular Academic Homeschoolers)
What ARE the resources available to homeschoolers in Carpinteria? There are enrichment programs, charter schools, private tutors, micro-schools, consultants, co-ops, and meet-up groups.
A meet-up group is often mostly social & community-building, both for parents and for children.
A co-op is a group that often focuses academic instruction, either by parents or by a paid teacher. They can meet from once a month to every day. Any group of parents can start a co-op, starting with shared goals. There is often some financial buy-in for co-ops to cover the cost of hired instructors, materials, venue, etc.
Enrichment classes means that the offering does not cover your student under an umbrella program as a student officially registered with a school, meaning that you will still need to file a PSA or have them enrolled in a charter school or other accredited private school in order to meet California state requirements. Enrichment programs can range from 3x/week full-day programs to once a week 30-minute class.
Charter schools differ from school to school, but a common option for homeschoolers in California is an umbrella charter, where there is no physical attendance required. This option allows families to have access to funds that would otherwise be going to a public school (+/- $2k), to pay for curricula and supplies at home and for enrichment opportunities such as music lessons, private tutors, classes, and workshops. Any charter school based in your county or any adjoining county is applicable.
Alternative schooling is education that diverges from that offered by conventional schools. This includes micro-schools, hybrid schools, cottage schools, online schools, and home schools. Many of these are full-time. Sometimes children who attend full-time or almost full-time programs that fit into this category are still referred to as being “homeschooled.”
Homeschool Conferences are a great way to get inspired and meet other homeschooling families, as well as get introduced to new research, tools, and perspectives. Some conferences to explore:
- Wild + Free conference in San Luis Obispo (April) – Moms only
- Homeschool Connections Conference in Solvang (March) – Family conference
- HSC State conference in San Jose (July) – Family conference
Here is an incomplete list of in-person resources for the Carpinteria area (please let us know if we missed one):
- Classical Conversations Group: A Christian homeschool curriculum and support group for classical and biblical education. Regular meetings and in-person engagement. Groups in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. Christian group.
- Clay Education (Carpinteria): offers homeschool coaching and tutoring, providing support to families looking for dynamic, customized education for their children, and homeschool culture consultation for their families. Tutoring for elementary through high school subjects, including foreign language. First consultation is free up to one hour. No religious affiliation.
- Heartland Charter School (county-wide): one of many Charter schools offering umbrella school and education stipend options for homeschoolers in Carpinteria. No in-person attendance required. Work samples and standardized state testing required. No religious affiliation.
- Lantern’s Global in (SB, Carpinteria, Ventura): offering homeschool enrichment programs for children from preschool on. Programs include: outdoor preschool program (Terrain), Spanish-immersion elementary age enrichment program (El Jardin), academic tutoring program (Farm to Table), theater productions (Theater at the Farm), and marine biology ocean study program (Tides).
- Miss Hannah’s Cottage Academy (Carpinteria): Academic enrichment program with varying programs for boys and girls from 9am-2pm. Starting at $175/month for 1 day/week. Call or text Miss Hannah for more information: (805) 886-5761. No religious affiliation, despite the fact that it operates out of a Baptist church.
- Wild + Free Homeschool Meet-Up Group (Carpinteria): Secular/inclusive homeschool support and play group, meets weekly on Tuesdays. All ages welcome. Find the group on the Wild + Free website. No religious affiliation.
SANTA BARBARA AND VENTURA COUNTIES
- Home-based Partnership at the Santa Barbara Charter School (Goleta): a tuition-free, in-person homeschooling enrichment program for TK-8th grade. No religious affiliation. Up-to-date vaccinations required.
- Hands On Learning Academy (HOLA) (Goleta): in-person STEM enrichment classes for homeschooled children ages K-12th, including sewing, theater, and science classes. No religious affiliation
- Montecito Academy (Summerland): offers an academic homeschool enrichment program for K-8th graders in the form of a combination of private and group classes by teachers that are specialists in their fields. No religious affiliation.
- Nature Rangers (Santa Barbara): Wilderness homeschool enrichment program focusing on place-based experiential learning for Tk-4th graders. 1, 2, 3, or 4 days per week, starting at $300 per month for 1 day/week. (Up to 2 days per week for Charter funds). No religious affiliation.
- Peace In A Pod (Santa Barbara): full-time Montessori micro-school serving K-6th grade, 5-days/week (3-day option for Kindergarten), 9am-2pm, sliding scale. No religious affiliation.
- Rock, Tree, Sky Self-Directed Learning Center (Ojai): Serving Pre-K through 12th grade, Rock, Tree, Sky provides a space where learners are free to explore their innate curiosities, grow their confidence in their personal agency, and develop healthy, loving relationships. Full day is 9am-3pm, starting at $272 monthly for 1 day/week. No religious affiliation.
- Santa Barbara Free School (Santa Barbara): full time self-directed learning micro-school for high-school aged students (10am-4pm M-F).
- Scholé Group Homeschool Co-op (Santa Barbara): A Christian homeschool co-op focusing on classical education. More information at museioneducation.com. Christian group.
- True North Self-Directed Learning Center (Goleta): K-8th+ enrichment program offering opportunities including horsemanship, Spanish, acting, dance, arts + crafts, videography, reading + writing, choreography, culinary pursuits, and more. No religious affiliation.
- Wilderness Youth Project (Goleta): offering Mockingbirds, a daytime program for homeschoolers grades 1-6 for exploration and discovery of the natural world while integrating play and knowledge of the variety of Santa Barbara ecosystems, 9am-1pm one day/week. No religious affiliation.
- Homeschool Association of California: a state-wide organization support the full spectrum of homeschoolers, offering instruction on legal filings as well as support from veteran homeschoolers on their Homeschool Questions support line: 1-800-HSC-4440