Pennsylvania Homeschool Laws
Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most highly regulated states for homeschooling in the U.S. However, with those regulations come some of the most generous provisions for state support of homeschoolers including free access to state-sponsored textbooks and materials, the ability to participate in extracurricular school activities, and the option to receive a state-recognized diploma.
Below, you will find information on the specifics of legally homeschooling in Pennsylvania, what records you’ll want to keep, how to obtain an official homeschool diploma, and even how to transfer from homeschool to public school if you need to end your home education period.
- Pennsylvania Homeschool Requirements
- Submitting Your Pennsylvania Homeschool Affadavit
- Homeschool Recordkeeping in Pennsylvania
- Yearly Pennsylvania Homeschool Evaluations
- Pennsylvania Homeschool Graduation Requirements
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Pennsylvania
*This should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
Pennsylvania Homeschool Requirements
All children between the ages of 8 and 16 are required to attend school under Pennsylvania’s compulsory education requirements. Families choosing home education to fulfill those requirements must:
- Be taught by a parent (or legal guardian) with a high school diploma (or equivalent) who has not been convicted of any major criminal offenses in the previous five years.
- Submit a notarized affidavit yearly to the superintendent’s office of the student’s home school district (more info below).
- Have each homeschooled child interviewed and evaluated annually by a state approved home education evaluator.
- Have each homeschooled child take a state-approved standardized test in grades 3,5, and 8
- Comply with immunization requirements.
- Comply with mandatory course requirements, depending on grade level and an agreement that those subjects will be taught in the English language
- Comply with minimum graduation requirements to receive a state-recognized diploma (more info below)
More information relating to the home education rules for Pennsylvania can be found at A2ZHomeschooling.com.
Full Details of Pennsylvania’s Homeschool Laws
Submitting Your Pennsylvania Homeschool Affidavit
The first step to legally homeschooling in Pennsylvania is submitting a notarized home education affidavit to the local school superintendent. You can submit your affidavit to homeschool at any time during the school year, but for all following years, affidavits must be submitted no later than August 1. Normally, affidavits must be submitted for any child age 8 or older, unless that child was previously enrolled in kindergarten or first grade, in which case the affidavit must be submitted regardless of age.
The notarized affidavit for each homeschool child should include:
- Name of the homeschool supervisor and a statement affirming that they have received at least a high school diploma
- Name and age of child
- Homeschool address and phone number
- Affirmation that homeschool instruction will be in the English language
- Affirmation that child has received requisite immunizations (with attached evidence)
- Affirmation that child has received requisite health and medical services (with attached evidence)
- Affirmation that the homeschooler will receive instruction in all required courses for their grade level
- Affirmation that instruction will equal a minimum of 180 school days or 900 hours
- Affirmation that no adult living in the home or in legal custody of the homeschooler has been convicted of the listed criminal offenses in the previous five years
- An attachment of education objectives by subject matter
The Pennsylvania Department of Education makes samples of the affidavits available on their website.
Homeschool Recordkeeping in Pennsylvania
Naturally, in a high-regulation state such as Pennsylvania, education requirements for homeschoolers lead to a need for detailed recordkeeping. The ideal way to track the progress of your student year to year is through use of a homeschool portfolio. Items that parents would want to certainly include in their ongoing portfolio are:
- An attendance log
- A reading log of all books read
- Samples of writings, worksheets, and other creative works completed during the homeschool year
- The results of required standardized tests in grades 3, 5, and 8
- The yearly written student evaluation (see below)
Yearly Pennsylvania Homeschool Evaluations
As part of Pennsylvania’s homeschool requirements, each student must be evaluated annually by an approved home education evaluator. The written evaluation will be based on the evaluator’s interview with the child and the review of their homeschool portfolio.
Ultimately, the evaluation must certify that the student is receiving an appropriate education, which is defined as a program consisting of instruction in the required subjects, a program meeting minimum instructional timetables, and in which the student demonstrates sustained progress. Acceptable evaluators in Pennsylvania can include:
- Licensed clinical psychologist
- school psychologist
- Pennsylvania certified teacher with two years grading experience at the level they evaluate
- Nonpublic school teacher or administrator with two years Pennsylvania teaching experience within the last 10 years at the level they evaluate
- Other qualified persons who have received previous approval from the superintendent
Pennsylvania Homeschool Graduation Requirements
One of the things that makes homeschooling in Pennsylvania unique is that is it one of the rare states that has created a path toward state-recognized homeschool diplomas. The requirements for receiving a state-recognized homeschool diploma in Pennsylvania are:
- Having a submitted affidavit for the 12th grade homeschool year
- Completion of the graduation requirements of the law
- Use of an approved and adequate home education evaluator
- A completed evaluation for the 12th grade year by an approved evaluator and a co-signed diploma by that same evaluator
- Use of a standardized diploma form developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
If you need to end your period of home education in Pennsylvania for any reason, the policies regarding transfer from homeschool to public school will be up to each individual school or school district. Decisions on grade level placement and transfer of credits will vary from school to school, and is at each school’s discretion. Be aware that any school you are transferring to may request to view your student’s portfolio and may even require the student to submit to school-specific placement testing.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Pennsylvania
Have other questions about homeschooling in Pennsylvania? You may find the following pages helpful.