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 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 include other relatives (nephews, nieces, etc.) in their homeschooling program. Let’s see more about these options and how they work.
Homeschooling Options In Pennsylvania
You have four homeschooling options if you decide to provide home education to your child.
Homeschooling Under The Homeschool Statute
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.
Satellite Of A Religious Day School
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.
Satellite Of An Accredited School
You can enroll your child in an extension of a day or boarding school.
Before You Begin Homeschooling In Pennsylvania
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.
Do You Have The Time? Space? Interest?
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.
Elementary students should receive at least 5 hours of instruction every class day to complete 900 hours in 180 days. High school students should have at least 5.5 hours of classes.
Regarding the space your student needs, Pennsylvania has no 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, students can focus on their work.
Many parents in Pennsylvania have chosen to provide home education to their children. Home-based learning is not new in the state and first started in the ’80s.
Pennsylvania Laws For Homeschooling
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 supervisor should do no later than August 1.
- Supervisors must record 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
Costs Of Homeschooling In Pennsylvania
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.
This service is also offered at a price for the test.
Additionally, it will come at a cost if you hire a tutor to help with your child’s education. The home education law requires all parents to pay private tutors for home education, and the tutor determines the price.
Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum
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 for each instruction.
The state standard is to provide 180 days of instruction. You can choose how you give each instruction as a supervisor or tutor. You only need to remember that within those 180 days, you should achieve at least 900 hours of instruction for grades K-6 and 990 hours from 7th grade through graduation.
Recordkeeping And Testing For Homeschooled Students
A tutor needs to record all the work completed by the student throughout the instructions. For instance, besides completing tasks, you can also include pictures of the child completing specific work.
Additionally, students should take standardized tests for grades 3rd, 5th, and 7th. 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 And Public School Access
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
Field Trips For Homeschooled Students
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 others 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 must follow the state’s regulations. The bright side is that Pennsylvania is one of the few states to give a diploma to students who received a home education. It is a huge responsibility, but many parents are into home education in the Keystone state.