Knowing Pennsylvania homeschool laws is essential for those parents who are interested in homeschooling their children in the state. Homeschooling can be a wonderful and enlightening experience for both parent/guardian and children, however, by not following the letter of the law, you could be opening yourself up to a lot of frustrations.
Pennsylvania Homeschool Laws
Pennsylvania families that want to homeschool their children have several options to choose from. First of all, I’m happy to note that the compulsory age for school attendance starts at 8 years old. For those who plan to start schooling at home from the beginning, this affords you a few years of schooling without the compulsory paperwork if you so choose to forego it. Let’s face it, many of us that are driven to homeschool aren’t necessarily thrilled with the idea of having to answer to anyone or even just fill out paperwork. It’s like a little bonus gift, so “Thanks, Pennsylvania!”
Here are your options for schooling from home:
- Private tutoring – schooling at home with a State Licensed Teacher
- Cyber school – there are both private and Charter options. Charter Cyber Schools are State recognized and award diplomas, many private cyber options do not and need to be used within a home education program.
- Umbrella School – this option is overseen by an alternative educational source other than a public or private school, for example, a correspondence course.
A closer look at the homeschool option:
The homeschooling parents need to have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Certain curriculum standards need to be included and you need to fill out an affidavit with your district superintendent by August 1 of each school year. You should also submit your objectives for the year. Track your time throughout the year, including field trips. Each year, by June 30, you need a yearly evaluation with a certified teacher that must be submitted to your local school district. Your portfolio for the year must include your hours/days of instruction (180 days and 900 hours for elementary and 990 for secondary schooling), and evidence of completed work. Your students also need to take standardized tests at grades 3, 5, and 8.
An aside on the affidavit…it is a 2-page form that is simple enough to fill in the blanks and sign, but it still raised my hairs when I read the requirements for physicals and vaccines. Don’t let it scare you, Pennsylvania is one of the most protected States in terms of religious freedom and the affidavit even states the option to include your religious exemption in lieu of vaccine records or exams.
Pennsylvania Homeschool Curriculum
At the elementary school level: spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; science; geography; history of the United States and Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including the dangers and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education (a gym); music; and art.
At the secondary school level: language, literature, speech and composition; science, to include biology and chemistry; geography; social studies, to include civics, economics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; a foreign language; mathematics, to include general mathematics and statistics, algebra and geometry; art; music; physical education; health and physiology; and safety education, including dangers and prevention of fires.
In the end, that’s a lot of meetings, curriculum requirements, and evaluations compared to some states, but it doesn’t seem too daunting and definitely outweighs public school options if you think homeschooling is best for your child.
Pennsylvania Homeschool Vaccine Laws
Parents are required to comply with Pennsylvania vaccine state laws when homeschooling (source). The homeschool parent will need to submit an annual affidavit. Of course, this largely eliminates one of the major reasons that parents opt for homeschooling in any state. However, parents can file for a religious vaccine exemption in Pennslyvania without much of a problem.
Because Pennsylvania homeschool laws require vaccine schedules to be followed and submitted to the school district, Pennsylvania is considered a tougher state for homeschooling. Aside from that, Pennsylvania homeschool laws are not incredibly difficult on the parent looking to make the big change, but they do need to be understood and followed. Go here for more info on how to homeschool. There is more information on Pennsylvania homeschool laws here.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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