Parents in the state of Pennsylvania can choose to educate their children at home. Ever since the pandemic hit, more and more people have been choosing this option for their children. But how can you start homeschooling in the state of Pennsylvania?
To homeschool your children in Pennsylvania, you will need to:
- Have a high school diploma.
- Make sure you complete an affidavit every year by July 31.
- You must provide between 900 and 990 hours of instruction a year.
- Prepare an accordion file organizer, a binder, or any other recordkeeping with the student’s year work.
- Allow your child to undergo an end-of-the-year evaluation before June 30.
There are other homeschool options available. For instance, some people choose to include other relatives (nephews, nieces, etc.) in their homeschooling program. Let’s see more about these options and how they work.
You have four homeschooling options if you decide to provide home education to your child.
In this option, one of the parents chooses to be the supervisor of their children. The supervisor is responsible for following up on the students’ education, progress, and record keeping.
A tutor will receive a payment to provide instruction to a child or children members of a family. The tutor must be a certified teacher who constantly communicates with the superintendent to inform the student’s progress.
Some of the information the private tutor needs to provide to the superintendent include:
- Their criminal background check.
- Students’ basic information.
- Absences and withdrawals from the program.
The organization qualifies as a school as long as they:
- Provide the instruction hours and subjects required by law.
- Report the names and addresses of the children enrolled in the program.
- File an affidavit with the Department of Education.
You can enroll your child in an extension of a day or boarding school.
Up to this point, you know the homeschooling options you have in the Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania. Now, we will see more information you should know before you even start.
Your child must attend 900 hours or 180 days of instruction in every grade throughout elementary school. For high school students, this amount of hours goes up to 990.
It means that elementary students should receive at least 5 hours of instruction every class day to complete 900 hours in 180 days. For high school students, it should be at least 5.5 hours of classes.
When it comes to the space your student needs, Pennsylvania doesn’t have any rules about what it should look like. You will choose a place that can meet your student’s needs.
Some people claim that you should find a spot where your child feels comfortable and materials are easy to access and use. Also, the place should be quiet; thus, the student can focus on what they are doing.
Many parents in Pennsylvania have chosen to provide home education to their children. Home-based learning is not something new in the state and first started somewhere in the ’80s.
The Pennsylvania homeschool law requires:
- The parent, also known as the supervisor, should have a high school diploma.
- Before the school year starts, the supervisor should fill out an affidavit with the superintendent. It is a recurring step supervisors should do no later than August 1.
- Supervisors must keep a record of all of the students’ activities and completed work.
- Students in grades 3rd, 5th, and 8th should receive a test not provided by their supervisors.
- By the end of the school year:
- Every student should undergo an evaluation performed by someone approved by the superintendent.
- Supervisors turn in their evaluation letters so the evaluator can confirm the success of the homeschool program and authorize another year of home education.
For the registration process, the parents must fill out an affidavit. The document contains the following information:
- Supervisors name
- Child information
- The site information of the home education program
- Phone number
- Required subjects
- State each subject
- Ensure instruction is provided in English
- Learning objectives
- Certificate of immunization
- Supervisor’s 5-year background check
Some companies will offer you home education services. If you need help with the curriculum, these companies create them for you for a price.
Prices are not available online unless you want to contact a sales representative.
When it comes to the test, this service is also offered at a price.
Additionally, if you choose to hire a tutor to help with your child’s education, it will come at a cost. The home education law requires all parents to pay private tutors for home education, and the tutor determines the price.
Pennsylvania requires every curriculum to include the following:
For elementary-Level (K–6th grade) students
- English spelling, reading, writing
- History of the U.S. and state history
- Health and physiology
- Physical education
- Safety education, including fire safety.
For secondary-Level (7th–12th grade) students
- English language, literature, speech, composition
- General math
- Social studies
- History of the U.S. and state history
- World history
- Physical education
- Safety education
- Fire safety
Finding a curriculum to meet the needs of the state requirements, the student’s learning style, and the parent’s teaching style can feel overwhelming. Local libraries and often community centers will have valuable resources available for little to no cost. Most companies that work with homeschooling families will offer a free trial before a final decision needs to be made.
To help get you started on your search, here is a list of well-known homeschool programs:
- Alpha Omega Publications (AOP)
- Schoolhouse Teachers
- Khan Academy
- ABC Mouse and Adventure Academy
- Abeka Homeschool
- Supercharged Science
- Curiosity Stream
- Code Advantage
- Hooked on Phonics
While supervisors are required to teach the previously mentioned subjects, they can freely choose the materials, textbooks, field trips, and resources to use for each instruction.
The state standard is to provide 180 days of instruction. As a supervisor or tutor, you can choose how you give each instruction. You only need to keep in mind that within those 180 days, you should achieve at least 900 hours of instruction for grades K-6th and 990 hours from 7th grade through graduation.
It is vital as a tutor to record all the work completed by the student throughout the instructions. For instance, besides all the completed tasks, you can also include pictures of the child completing specific work.
Additionally, for grades 3rd, 5th, and 7th, students should take standardized tests. Supervisors and tutors must keep in their records the results of these tests.
By the end of the year, supervisors and tutors must choose an authorized evaluator to revise the student’s work included in the portfolio.
Homeschooling And Special Education Services
Before you start homeschooling a child with disabilities, a certified teacher must review and approve the education program supervisors, and tutors have selected. Psychologist teachers and clinical psychologists can also support the program.
Homeschooled students can participate in extracurricular activities. The student can enroll in sports, school bands, or any other program the local school district has enabled for homeschooled children.
To graduate from high school, students must receive instruction as detailed below:
- Four years of English
- Three years of math
- Three years of science
- Three years of social studies
- Two years of art and humanities
Some of the field trips available for homeschooled students in Pennsylvania include:
- Hoyt Arts & Education Center
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History
- Fort Ligonier
- Appalachian Trail Museum
- Piper Aviation Museum
- Presque Isle State Park
- Rachel Carson Homestead
- Lake Tobias Wildlife Park
- Lincoln Caverns & Whisper Rocks
- Old Bedford Village
- Ringing Rocks County Park
- Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center
- The Franklin Institute
- Wagner Free Institute of Science
Homeschool Associations, Groups, And Co-Ops
Here’s a list of associations, co-ops, and groups in Pennsylvania to help parents connect with other people who can assist with the process.
- Harrisburg Area Homeschoolers Association
- Christian Homeschool Association, in Palmyra.
- Washington County Homeschoolers Co-op.
- Mason Dixon HomeSchool Association, in Waynesboro.
- New Horizons Homeschool Group, in Dillsburg.
- Excelsior Homeschool Cooperative, in Saylorsburg.
Homeschooling in Pennsylvania is possible; you need to follow the state’s regulations. The bright side is that Pennsylvania is one of the few states that will give a diploma to students who received home education. It is a huge responsibility, but many parents are into home education in the Keystone state.