State laws change from time to time and though we try to keep the laws up-to-date at all times please check with the department of education for any changes that may have occurred.
There are many reasons to seriously consider homeschooling: you’re in control of what your children are learning, you get to decide how much time you want to spend on different subjects, you can adapt the material to suit your children’s needs, and you don’t have to worry about your children dealing with schoolyard bullies.
Whether you’ve already made this decision or you just plan to, we’re here to show you how to homeschool in PAs. We’ll help you make full use of the educational potential of Pennsylvania, let you in on the Pennsylvania homeschooling requirements, and offer you a diverse range of useful online homeschool resources that will guarantee your homeschooling success. Use the infographic and video below to create a homeschool that thrives.
One of the 13 original founding states, Pennsylvania is famous for the Battle of Gettysburg and for the mighty Appalachians cutting through its middle. If you live here, you’ll find plenty of learning opportunities for you and your children.
There are plenty of state parks in Pennsylvania for you and your family to go hiking or camping. You’ve got the Ricketts Glen State Park, in Benton, the Ohiopyle State Park, in Ohiopyle, and the Leonard Harrison State Park, in Wellsboro. Wildlife lovers can also watch the lions and elephants at the Philadelphia Zoo, and the polar bears at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
History lovers will love exploring the Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center, the Independence Hall, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. With everything from Civil War to railroad history, your children will never get bored!
If art’s what your children like, you can visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the The Barnes Foundation, and the Brandywine River Museum of Art. Pennsylvania also offers some dedicated children’s museums, such as the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, the Hands-on House, in Lancaster, and the Explore & More, in Gettysburg.
Pennsylvania homeschoolers have two choices if you want to homeschool in Pennsylvania: the homeschool statute, and operating as a private tutor.
Before deciding to homeschool, you need to have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. If you want to be your children’s private tutor, you need to have a teaching certificate.
If you go for the first option, you’ve got to file an annual notice to the local superintendent, including basic info about your children – name, date of birth, immunization records etc. You can find more about the PA homeschool affidavit here.
You’ll then have to make sure you provide at least 180 days of instruction, and you need to touch on the main subjects corresponding to the public school curricula. Again, you can find more on that on the link above.
Homeschooled students must be assessed annually, and their progress will be evaluated by a teaching specialist. If their progress is deemed unsatisfactory, you’ll need to undergo additional testing, until your child’s progress is considered adequate. Failure to do so may result in your children being required to join a public school.
The second option doesn’t require any bookkeeping, assessment, or compulsory subjects, but you’ll need to have a teaching certificate, and a clean criminal record.
Part-time enrollment in the local public school, participation in extracurricular activities, and special needs services are all available to homeschooled children.
With all the detailed PA homeschool requirements, and particularly because the assessment process is pretty strict, we’re giving Pennsylvania a D in terms of homeschool friendliness. However, the requirements shouldn’t be too bothersome if you’re determined to give your children the best education possible.
Though the PA homeschool law may feel like a legal maze, you’ll find your way if you’re willing to work hard – and, with such a vibrant homeschool community, you’ve got plenty of help along the way.
Apart from that, the multitude of real-life learning opportunities will make the effort worthwhile – so get in touch with fellow PA homeschoolers today, and get ready for one of the most exciting journeys your family will ever experience!
Here’s a selection of websites and Facebook groups related to homeschooling in PA:
http://www.pahomeschoolers.com/ - this organization provides assessment services and gets you in touch with local homeschool groups
http://www.meetup.com/Schuylkillhomeschoolgroup/?trax_also_in_algorithm2=combo&traxDebug_also_in_algorithm2_picked=combo – this meet-up group is dedicated to homeschoolers in and around Schuylkill county, but it welcomes members throughout the state
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/pa/ - the official HSLDA website is a great place to find legal information and news related to homeschooling in PA