General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is one of the states that has had homeschooling regulated since the 1980s, and now there are numerous laws addressing the homeschooling programs available. The most relevant law for homeschooling is Act 169. The general overview is that children between the ages of 8 and 17 have to comply with the state’s school laws.
The compulsory age to start school is when the child is 6. Additionally, there are numerous educational programs that are available for children in Pennsylvania: public school; private school; parochial school; non-public school; homeschool and a private tutor, which also falls under homeschooling.
Notification of Intent to Homeschool in Pennsylvania
As proclaimed by the relevant laws, any child between the age of 8 and 17 can be homeschooled by a legal parent or guardian. Along with that, private tutoring is considered as an option as well. The most important part of the process is submitting a notarized affidavit as soon as the homeschooling program starts, and every year after that by August 1.
For a quick guide, check out this short video below about Pennsylvania homeschooling:
There are a few things that a notarized affidavit has to contain: the name of the homeschool supervisor and proof of high school diploma; name and age of the school-age child; address and phone number of the parent; proof of received immunizations and health/medical services; affirmation that the homeschooling will be done in English; affirmation that the instruction will be held for at least 180 days each year; affirmation that the required subjects will be instructed; an affirmation that the parent/legal guardian or the private tutor wasn’t convicted of criminal offenses in the past 5 years. The notarized affidavit must be submitted to a local superintendent.
Qualifications Required to Homeschool in Pennsylvania
There are different requirements depending on what kind of homeschooling options are being referred to. For homeschooling, under the homeschool statute, a parent or legal guardian needs to have a high school diploma or an equivalent as well as provide the affirmation that they weren’t convicted of a criminal offense in the past 5 years.
If a parent wants to use a private tutor, the tutor needs to fulfill the above-mentioned requirements, as well as be certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to teach in public schools, and provide a copy of names and addresses of children that are being homeschooled by them to the superintendent.
Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers in Pennsylvania
As for the number of days/hours that are required, Pennsylvania law suggests that at least 180 days of instruction/education must be completed in one year. An affirmation that the homeschooling program will comply with this has to be provided with the notarized affidavit.
What Subjects Need to be Covered in Home Education in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania has to invest additional effort in regulating the subjects that are covered by any homeschooling program. During the elementary level (up to 6th grade), a homeschooler will be instructed on English (spelling, reading, writing), arithmetic, civics, history of the U.S. and Pennsylvania, health and psychology, physical education, music, geography, art, science as well as safety education.
At the secondary-level (7th to 12th grade), the homeschooler will be educated in the subjects of English (literature, speech, language, composition), mathematics, social studies, health, physical education, music, art, geography, science, as well as safety education.
Last but not least, there are specific regulations for complying with high school graduation requirements: 4 credits of English; 3 credits of mathematics; 3 credits of science; 3 credits of social studies; and 2 credits of art and humanities.
What are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers in Pennsylvania?
As in any state that allows homeschooling programs, conscious recordkeeping is a must. It should be kept by a parent/guardian or the private tutor that conducts the homeschooling program. The easiest way to do it is through use of homeschool portfolio which should include an attendance log, list of reading books and used materials, samples and results of conducted tests, writings, as well as a yearly written evaluation of the student’s progress.
The records related to High School education done within a homeschool program should be kept in a file for life.
Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted in Pennsylvania?
One of the most important questions is if a child will be able to enroll part-time in a public school program. The state law of Pennsylvania leaves the regulation of this to each particular district and school. While some schools may allow part-time enrollment, others will deny such an opportunity.
For the schools that allow part-time enrollment, the child will need to provide an application and include a portfolio that provides yearly evidence and progress of what they have covered in the homeschool program. Still, the superintendent of the district has the right to deny a student even if they fulfill the requirements (this has to be done with an advocated reason).
Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities in Pennsylvania?
According to the Pennsylvania annotated statutes, a homeschooled child will be able to participate in any extracurricular activity or event organized by a public school without the need for additional approval from the superintendent. Included in this are school clubs, theaters, ensembles, and different sports competitions. However, the public school has to be in the same district that the homeschooling program is conducted.
To receive more information about the homeschooling laws in the State of Pennsylvania, you may want to visit the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania website.