– Choosing a Charter Home School – Comparing Charters in Southern California

*Update 2020 – We are now with Mission Vista Academy managed under Inspire Charter schools.

Long before we had kids, we knew that when we did we would home school them. This year (2018) we “officially” started homeschooling. When you home school you can file a PSA (Private School Affidavit) or enroll in a tuition free charter school. We decided to go with a charter school, at least for now. Our daughter is 4.5 and enrolled in Inspire Charter School’s expanded TK program (Transitional Kindergarten AKA Preschool) for students who’s 5 th Birth Date falls between December 3, 2018, & February 28, 2019). 

Prior to enrolling,  I researched the different charter schools, and I found there are many to choose from. I spoke to many parents and did my own research online going over the pros & cons of the schools, with my husband. 

Inspire refers to their teachers as an HST (Home School Teacher), other schools may refer to their teachers as ES (Education Specialist), etc… So far we are very happy with our decision to join Inspire Charter School. They have been helpful with any questions we’ve had. Inspire offers many community in person and virtual online events, field trips and other extracurricular opportunities. You only have to meet with your HST once a month (once every LP or learning period) and during this meeting, you only have to provide one sample of school work. You are able to contact your  HST during school hours through phone, text or email… They offer educational funding and any unused funds, roll over to the next year (Note: 2021 Funds no longer roll over). There are a wide variety of vendors who work with Inspire. If there is a local class or program your student is interested in, but they are not a vendor with Inspire, try to convince them to become one, the process is fairly simple for them to add themselves on. 

The main reason we are so happy with Inspire, is our wonderful HST Miss Erin! It was very important to us, that along with the school we chose, that we had a great teacher. She has been extremely helpful, with over 15 years of teaching experience, we couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. She is knowledgeable and quick to answer calls, text messages and e-mails. Even though I always knew I would home school, with this being our first child and the first year we are officially schooling, I knew I would need a good support system, and have been very happy with how supportive Miss Erin has been on our home school journey. My daughter and I both felt a connection to her right away.  I love her teaching style, She is very patient and kind to my daughter and me, and she really enjoys what she does. I love that she understands how we want to school our little one, she is not pushy, she listens and addresses all questions & concerns. 

When your student is enrolled in most charter schools, they will receive funds that may used to purchase educational learning items (each school has their own rules regarding funds and what they may be used for). When you purchase items they fall into two categories consumable and non-consumableConsumables are items that are fully used up or consumed (you get to keep consumables) for example; art supplies, ink, toner, paper, science & crafts kits, classes and field trips, etc (see my post “The Ultimate Consumable Idea List for Charter School Funding” for more info)…. Non- consumables are items that can be reused again and again by other students such as books, games, telescopes, computers etc…  With Inspire Non-consumables will have to be returned when your last enrolled student either graduates or if you decide to pull them out of the school. (see my post “The Ultimate Non-Consumable Idea List for Charter School Funding” for more info). Inspire also has  Lending Libraries where you can borrow educational items for free. The Lending libraries get their items stocked from the non-consumables that have been turned in when the students have finished with them. 

Below is a chart I created of  Charter schools in the Inland Empire of  Southern  California (listed in ABC order). I created this chart while I was in the process of researching charter schools for our own child. I could not find a chart or website anywhere comparing local schools, so I made one myself. I hope this helps you with your decision.

Tip: If you are new to homeschooling and are looking for personalized advice and a support system, a great place to look are in the Facebook groups! You can find general groups for homeschooling, local homeschooling groups or groups for the school you are considering enrolling your child in. There are quite a few groups for Inspire Charter School.

— Note: The information in the chart below is correct to my knowledge… Schools change how they do things all the time, if you see anything on my chart that needs to be updated or perhaps a school that should be added on, please don’t hesitate to let me know so that I can keep this post up to date. 

SchoolGrade levelsHow often are HST meetings?# of work samples Yearly funds per studentOn campus  classes offered?Meet HST – Virtually  or In person Educational supplies mailed toSummer school? 
CavaTK–121x a week5 samples – once a quarter$0YesVirtuallyYour HomeYes for special education students 
CompassTK–122x a month1 sample – per meeting$3000 (k-8)YesVirtuallyYour HomeYes 
Dimensions CollaborativeK-12UnsureUnsureUnsureYesBothUnsure Yes for struggling students 
EliteTK–12UnsureUnsure$2,700 (TK-8), $3,200 (9-12)UnsureVirtuallyUnsureNo 
Excel AcademyTK–12 1x a month (every 20 days)4 samples – per meeting$2,850 and $500 for summerNoIn PersonTeacherYes 
iLeadTK–12 1x a month (every 20 days)2 Samples – per meetingUnsureUnsureVirtuallyUnsureNo 

Mission Vista Academy

(Inspire Schools) 

TK–12 1x a LP learning period) or month (every 20 days)1 sample –  per meeting$2,800 (TK-8),  $3,000 (9-12)NoBothYour HomeNo 
Method K–122-3x a weekUnsureNoNoVirtuallyUnsureNo 
River SpringsK-12 1x a month (every 20 days)6 samples – 2x a year$1250 + a chrome book + $300  redeemed on  school’s siteYesIn PersonBothNo 
Sage OakTK-12 1x a month (every 20 days)1 Sample – per meeting$2,600 (k-8)YesBothTeacherYes 
Sky MountainTK-121x a month (every 20 days)1 Sample -per meeting$2,700 (Tk-8), $3000 (9-12)YesBothUnsureNo 

NOTE: You will notice some of the schools in the chart above say unsure. They were suggested, that I add them to my chart (the info I have is all they provided). I have not yet looked into these schools myself, I will update with the info when I do.

Thank you for reading!

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XOXO, Cameo

*LIST UPDATED 4/28/22*

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This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Carrie

    Hello, I use sage oak so I’d like to update you with the information. We meet in person every 20 days, with 2 virtual ones if needed. You provide 1 sample per subject. They offer drop off enrichment classes. You get $2600 for K-8. Orders are shipped to the EA. Funds to not transfer to the next year. Yes, I believe summer school is offered.

    1. Hello Carrie, Thank you so much for updating me. I amended my post. 🙂 I do appreciate it!

    2. Tanya

      I am considering Sage Oak. Thanks for this info!

      1. I know a couple parents who have their kids in Sage Oak, I’ve heard wonderful reviews!

  2. Chastity

    A wonderful article that I have shared.

  3. jamie

    Are you still with Inspire? I am wondering if meeting requirements have changed this year?

    1. Hi Jamie, Thank you for reading! Yes our daughter is enrolled in Mission Vista Academy which is a school under “Inspire Charter Services” and I updated the changes that I am aware have been implemented.

  4. Adrianna

    This paragraph is actually a pleasant one it helps new net visitors.

  5. Tina

    How has Mission Vista been during covid? Is your daughter getting online lessons that you feel are good?

    1. We love and still recommend Mission Vista Academy… They have been wonderful during COVID, offering fun daily online community connection events and lessons!

  6. Kelsey S.

    Will have to check out the Blossom & Root Curriculum. I like your idea of putting together your own and not buying the standard too… I like that it can be tailored for your child 🙂 And I just love the dollar store!

    1. I hope you enjoy Blossom & Root! Creating our own curriculum worked best for our family <3

  7. Joy Fletcher

    This is why I want my daughter in a charter school program, I like knowing that someone else is kinda keeping up with her work, it takes a little of the anxiety away. And only meeting once a month – that’s just perfect!

    1. I agree our HST is definitely one of the best perks of being with a charter school! 🙂

  8. Brittni

    I like that Method Charter meets often, this is something we are looking for. Or maybe Cava Charter. This is really helpful for us, thanks so much.

  9. Gia Carapelli

    We want to homeschool our kids next year (2020 – 2021), I think the coronavirus hit that was like our wakeup call to finally get serious about it. My daughter is 11 and my son is 15. Both are not crazy about public school. We are in Los Angeles and just heard about charter school programs for homeschoolers through our friend at church. I guess it doesn’t matter much if the school is kinda far if you do virtual meetings?

    Your list has helped get us organized and we appreciate it. We are trying to get this taken care of as soon as possible so they have a spot.

  10. Sarah

    Charter home school programs are AWESOME!!

  11. Allison Hartford

    Can you choose your HST in any of these charter home school programs?

  12. Penelope

    I like that your HST is not pushy, she sounds amazing honestly. I had very pushy, strict teachers in elementary and middle school and they were not fun for sure! I hope to get my daughter enrolled in a homeschool charter program when she gets to elementary school.

    1. Yes, our HST is wonderful. I do think you both will really enjoy the charter school experience 🙂

  13. Lanita Bodily

    This article is great! I was so confused what a charter was or how it works, I thought they cost money!

  14. Nicole

    You made some really good points there. I checked on the net for more info about the issue and found most individuals
    will go along with your views on this web site.

  15. celia

    Remarkable! Its really remarkable article, I have got much clear idea about Charter Schools from this article.

  16. Jess

    I have searched and searched I have not found any other list like this! Appreciate!!

  17. Ernesto

    Hi there thanks for sharing your experience, thus it’s good to read this web site. Nice list you make.

  18. Robert Dycle

    Hi, wow this is so fantastic! Thank you!

  19. Karol

    I was able to find good info from your content.

  20. Amber

    This is great I pray we get in inspire or even sage oak. Has anyone heard anything about Julian?! I’d love more info! Thank you!

  21. Emilia Pendley

    Hello! This post has been extremely helpful. I am pulling my kids out to homeschool them, I discovered Charters through your blog and I am very grateful. This has made planning so much easier. Many thanks

    1. I am so happy to help make this process easier and am excited for your new homeschooling journey!

  22. Kim


    Do kids get to socialize at Mission Vista?
    I think they offer field trips, are siblings allowed? Thanks

  23. Shirley

    I am pulling my kids out of public school because of the curriculum and the upcoming mandatory vaccine. I have never heard of Charter schools, until now. I love this option! Thank you so much for this informative blog! I subscribed!

  24. Tyree

    OMG!! So helpful!!

  25. Rea

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme!

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