History of the controversy

For decades the source of debate was focused whether it was legal for parents to withhold their children from school and educate them in a home setting, pitting homeschooling advocates against those in favor of organized public schools.

Since the late 1980s, the focus on the legality of homeschooling in general is no longer in serious debate but legal questions have shifted to whether homeschooling communities can access state school funds, facilities, and resources. There are also legal questions over the degree of control that a state can exercise on homeschooling families regarding areas like curricula and standardized testing.

In 2008 a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that children must be taught by a credentialed tutor or person with a teaching credential. The court stated that "It is clear that the education of the children at their home, whatever the quality of that education, does not qualify for the private full-time day school or credentialed tutor exemptions from compulsory education in a public full-time day school." The California court rejected the parent's reliance on Yoder's holding regarding religious choice. However, in March 2008, the court agreed to rehear the case and vacated its prior decision. In August 2008, the court issued a new decision unanimously reversing its earlier decision and the Court further stated that homeschooling was legal in California.