Getting Started

New to Homeschooling?

The following is a brief outline of the requirements of the Pennsylvania homeschool law (ACT 169-1988). This general outline should not be a substitute for reading the requirements in detail in Keys to Homeschooling in the Keystone State, or the law itself.

A. COMPULSORY SCHOOL AGE
In Pennsylvania children are required to attend school between eight and seventeen years of age. In order to continue homeschooling each year, you must file your affidavit by August 1st. If your child has never attended public school in grades one or above ( kindergarten is not considered a grade in Pennsylvania) , you must register with the school district the year he/she turns eight years old. In the past this area has caused confusion as to what must be done when a child turns eight during the school year. Currently, both HSLDA and Pennsylvania Department of Education agree that if a child turns eight after the second week of the school year, then you do not need to file the necessary documents until the beginning of the next school year.

B. AFFIDAVIT

Before you begin homeschooling, you must file a notarized affidavit with the school district in which you live. Attached to the affidavit will be your objectives (an educational plan that lists your objectives for each required subject for each child). You must also document that your child has been immunized and is receiving the health and medical services required by law. Each year that you continue to homeschool, you must file a new affidavit on or before August 1st. If your child requires special education, you must attach a letter from a certified special education teacher or psychologist outlining your plans to provide for your child’s needs.

C. LOG/PORTFOLIO

As you teach your child, you must document instruction by keeping a log of recorded days (180) or hours (900 grades 1-6, 990 grades 7- 12) of teaching, and a portfolio of educational activities. The portfolio should list the titles of reading materials, and include samples of the student’s work such as writings, worksheets, etc., that demonstrate his academic progress.

D. TESTING

Each student in grades 3, 5, and 8 must take a standardized achievement test. A listing of the 10 approved tests is contained in the Keys to Homeschooling in the Keystone State. Some school districts may provide testing for homeschooled students, but they are not required to do so. The test scores must be included in the portfolio submitted at the end of the school year.

E. EVALUATION

Near the end of the school year, parents must have a certified teacher or a non-public school teacher who has taught two of the last ten years, or a licensed psychologist evaluate the student’s work. The evaluator must interview the student and review the log and portfolio to see whether the child has made sustained progress in the overall homeschool program. The evaluator will then write a report certifying that *appropriate education is occurring. This evaluation, along with test scores (grades 3, 5, and 8 only), and the portfolio must then be submitted to the superintendent of your school district no later than June 30. It is wise to contact your evaluator early in the school year to find out what expectations he/she may have of your children.

Click here for a list of evaluators throughout Pennsylvania. Those willing to assist with children having special needs are so noted. (Evaluators must meet State qualifications.)

*Appropriate education shall mean a program consisting of instruction in the required subjects for the time required in this act and in which the student demonstrates sustained progress in the overall program.

From Act 169-1988 Pennsylvania law.