The opinion holds that homeschooling is not a legal option in California. HSLDA strongly disputes this interpretation of California law. We believe that the court made a mistake when it relied on two decisions reached in the 1950s in order to show that homeschooling is not a legal option.
If the opinion is followed, then California will have the most regressive law in the nation and homeschooling will be effectively banned, because the only legal way to homeschool will be for the parent to hold a teaching certificate.
The court may well be right about the letter of the law, but the administrative interpretation of the law has clearly been more permissive. Whether it will continue to be so is an open question. At the moment, this decision applies only to these particular children; anyone who wants to pull other kids out of a homeschool setting and commit, er, place them in a more formal educational setting would have to seek a court order, citing this decision as a precedent. The state education bureaucracy is under no obligation to prefer the court’s reading of the law’s requirements to its own, though I suppose that it’s possible that they could use this as an excuse to crack down on homeschooling. The state legislature could also weigh in, indicating its preference as to how the law should be understood and administered.
If I had to bet, it would be that the bureaucrats and legislators will, all things being equal, let sleeping dogs lie. The common practice of declaring your home a private school will continue, as will the less common practice of following an independent study program affiliated with an umbrella school or organization.