Considering pulling your kids from public school in favor of homeschool in Amador County? Or maybe you have a child approaching school age and want to know what your options are. Either way, here’s what you need to know about homeschool in Amador County.
What Options Exist for Homeschool in Amador County?
Thankfully, as charter programs grow, there are a handful of options for those families wanting to homeschool in Amador County.
I cover the CA options more in-depth in this post on How to Homeschool in California, but know that there are three primary homeschool options no matter where you live:
- Private homeschooling with no interference/funds from the state (but you must meet state requirements)
- Enrollment in a public school charter program (homeschool option) and receive funds for materials/curriculum and meet with a credentialed teacher regularly
- Online public school, which is free and doesn’t offer funds (most work occurs online)
How to Establish a Private Homeschool in Amador County
If you want to homeschool in Amador County (or anywhere in California), you can do so independently. Many families choose the private homeschool option to preserve their religious beliefs/teachings. But any family can file to homeschool privately. Here’s how.
California Private School Affidavit
The California Department of Education requires homeschool families who don’t opt for a charter or other public school option to file a Private School Affidavit (PSA) each fall.
You can fill out a PSA online (or send in a paper copy), and the filing dates are October 1st through October 15th.
The dates can be confusing for families just starting out with schooling. In California, the Department of Education notes,
State law requires that children age six through eighteen attend a public day school.
But if your kiddo turns six after October, you still have to file for that school year. Plus, local schools return to classes mid-August, meaning your child is technically not enrolled in school until you complete the form (which causes anxiety for some families!).
Benefits of a PSA for Homeschool in Amador County
With a PSA, you can teach however you see fit and keep your own records. Technically, you must teach to the state standards, but you can approach that any way you want.
Most families who file a PSA keep attendance records and a portfolio of their children’s work. THat way, if the state ever requests it (rare), you have proof you’ve been “doing school.”
Public Charter Options for Homeschool in Amador County
Here I’ll highlight the charter programs that are most prominent in Amador.
Visions in Education
We started Visions in 2016 and haven’t felt any need to go elsewhere! When we enrolled, there wasn’t a lot of buzz about other programs in Amador. I actually called five other programs before getting a spot with Visions!
Visions offers independent study and university prep for high school kids and home school programs for TK through 12.
With the home school program, you meet with a credentialed teacher (CT) once per learning period (roughly once per month) and receive funding for curriculum, enrichment classes, and other educational resources.
$2,700 for kids in TK-8th grade and $2,900 for grades 9-12.
Visions in Education: 5030 El Camino Ave, Carmichael, CA 95608; 1 (833) 883-1601
I have a few friends who use Inspire Charter Schools and love it.
Recently, Inspire had to shut down many of its enrichment offerings because of specific interpretations of the state law. In my opinion, it was a harmless “violation” (having enrichment centers in school districts where Inspire doesn’t have campuses), but it is what it is!
Inspire has a reputation for flexibility and encouraging parental choice. I have heard that their curriculum ordering process is complex, but I’m sure it depends on how computer savvy you are (or aren’t!).
When we began homeschooling, Inspire wasn’t an option for homeschool in Amador County, so I’m glad it’s available now.
Yes; specific numbers aren’t available publicly on their website.
Inspire Charter Schools: 3840 Rosin Ct #200, Sacramento, CA 95834; (916) 568-9959
Horizon Charter Schools has been around for over 25 years and can easily compete with other local charter programs. The website doesn’t specifically note Amador as a county they serve, but I know local parents who use them.
Like other charter options, Horizons lets parents choose curriculum, enroll in enrichment courses, and participate in field trips.
Yes; $2,600 per elementary student and $2,800 per high school student
Horizon Charter Schools: 2800 Nicolaus Road Suite 100, Lincoln, CA 95648; (916) 408-5200
Mountain Oaks School
Mountain Oaks School has campuses in Ione, San Andreas, and Sonora and is a charter program with independent study and on-site programs. I’ve known about Mountain Oaks for years, but it wasn’t the right fit for us.
A homeschooling mom I met a few years ago had enrolled her kindergartener at Mountain Oaks and enjoyed a Waldorf-type approach to academics.
I know each campus offers on-site classes and enrichment opportunities, but it seems their website doesn’t offer up specifics.
There’s also no information available regarding curriculum (other than a requirement for kids to follow a set digital curriculum if they are first-time Mountain Oaks students or in 3rd, 6th, or 9th grade) or any funds.
I was told, when I called them a few years back with questions, that children who did not have a complete vaccination record were not able to enroll in the program. That could have changed, but if that’s a concern for your family, I’d look elsewhere for schooling options.
To my knowledge, the program doesn’t offer funds but does supply some curriculum and other resources.
Mountain Oaks School main campus: 150 Old Oak Rd., San Andreas, CA 95249; (888) 686-6257
Online Public School in Amador
Online public school options are ideal for tech-savvy families who don’t mind sticking close to the state standards. In general, online schooling involves a specific program (you don’t exactly choose the curriculum) and remote support from a teacher.
You can expect your kiddo to spend a few hours per day at their computer, but there’s also offline activity required.
Public online options include programs like K12 and Connections Academy, and these don’t offer any flexible student spending.
Where to Take Homeschool Enrichment Classes When You Live in Amador County
The good news is, Amador has many enrichment options with individual vendors who accept charter funds. The bad news is, there aren’t any large enrichment centers with multi-day educational programming.
For many homeschoolers, regardless of homeschool style or type, enrichment courses aren’t a priority. For some of us, though, enrichment courses are less about academics and more about our kiddos making friends.
Plus, moms need “socialization” too! But more on that below.
There are a number of Local Enrichment Classes for Gold Country Homeschool Families near us. However, the only ones centrally located for Amador residents are the ACRA site (Jackson) and a new Ione site.
For now, the Ione classes are a bit limited in scope, but they’re provided by Academy Learning Centers (out of Sacramento). The only concrete info I’ve found is on Facebook in local homeschooling groups.
The rest of the classes require at least a 30-minute drive regardless of where you live inside county limits.
How to Meet [Local] Homeschool Families
Since we follow a secular approach in our schooling, the faith-based groups and get-togethers aren’t for my family. I’ve found a handful of groups for moms who homeschool in Amador County and most are very narrowly focused for Christian moms.
For the rest of us, it seems we again need to travel farther out of Amador to find like-minded friends for us and our children. I hope that this blog can help bring together local friends, but in the meantime, here are my suggestions for meeting your tribe!
Check Meetup for Local Homeschool Groups
Meetup is an excellent resource for homeschool families. First, new groups sprout up all the time and second, you don’t have to narrow your search to just homeschool groups.
You can look for moms’ groups, groups based on kids’ hobbies and interests, get-togethers for professional moms in the same industry, and location-based clubs for books, sports, and more.
In our second year homeschooling, I found a group on Meetup and ventured over to Placerville to meet a group of moms I had a lot in common with. We’re going into our fourth year now, and I’m still friends with moms I met in that group! And that’s saying something since I often struggle in social situations these days.
Stick Around While Your Kiddos Take Classes
Some enrichment classes aren’t very inviting toward parents who want to “hang out” while the kids are occupied, but I’ve intentionally chosen class options that welcome parents.
As a result, I’ve met moms while hanging around outside my kids’ classes. It actually shocked me that I made some really good mama friends just by sticking around while our kids were in class.
Whether your kids enjoy gymnastics or it’s something more academic, scope out potential mom friends while you wait! Even better, volunteer to help out in classes or elsewhere on campus. Our school “requires” parent volunteers, so that takes care of that!
Ready to Homeschool in Amador County?
If you’re an Amador parent with misgivings about the public school system, know that there’s an alternative. Actually, many alternatives! Have questions? Want to share about your experience?
Spill in the comments!