In what is clearly a victory for homeschooling parents in California and across the country, a California court reversed a lower court decision which had put into question whether homeschooling was a right under the Constitution.

An appeals court in California has ruled that state law does permit homeschooling “as a species of private school education” but that statutory permission for parents to teach their own children could be “overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent.”

The long-awaited case resolves many of the questions that had developed in homeschooling circles across the nation when the same court earlier found that parents had no such rights – statutorily or constitutionally – in California.

The ruling released this morning by the 2nd Appellate District in Los Angeles said the dispute came out of juvenile court proceedings in which court-appointed lawyers for two children demanded “an order that they be sent to private or public school, rather than educated at home by their mother.”

The dependency court did not agree, “primarily based on its view that parents have an absolute constitutional right to homeschool their children,” the appeals court said. The lawyers then advanced their case to the appeals level, which earlier granted the order.

“We filed our original opinion on Feb. 28, 2008, granting the petition on the bases that: (1) California statutory law does not permit homeschooling; and (2) this prohibition does not violate the U.S. Constitution,” the opinion said.

So congrats to all homeschooling parents and children today. A judge decided you have a right to raise your own children! Is anyone else still shuddering just a little that it was even a question? And probably will be again in the near future.