Jump to content


PA homeschool regs? What are they like?

Recommended Posts

You submit a 1 page affidavit each year basically saying that you plan to homeschool and you meet the basic requirements to do so (you aren't a criminal, graduated high school, etc.). It must be notarized.


You meet with an evaluator (of your choice) at the end of the school year and they review your portfolio and write a a letter saying you did or didn't meet the requirements of the law.


You submit the portfolio and letter to the school district.


Kids must be tested in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade (you can pick from a list of tests).


Portfolio basically needs:

samples of work from each subject

log to show you had school for 180 days or 900 hours elementary/990 hours secondary

letter from evaluator

standardized testing on the years you need to test


I have not found it to be difficult to comply with Pa requirements.

AskPauline is a good website for more information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You pick your own evaluator. Ours have always been family friends who homeschool their own kids. (They are also credentialed teachers.)


The laws seem horrid, but in reality, we've never had any problems and it really doesn't take that long. Our school provides us with a paper we fill in and get notarized (one page for all students). We keep tests/papers or projects for the portfolio. By keeping them throughout the year, the portfolio is done at the end of the year. Our evaluators only wanted 10 (or so) samples per subject, so it's close to one per month - hardly much.


It may also pay off when heading to college later as we had one admissions rep tell us that since we were from a regulated state we didn't have to submit anything extra to college for admissions (no course descriptions or anything many talk about on the high school board - just transcript, scores and letters of recommendation like any other ps student). ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds difficult. It's just a minor nuisance (if you push the principle out of your head.)


"Contact" is truly limited to the end of June-ish if you do your review, submit your portfolio, and turn in your nextnyear paperwork in the same week. The rest of the year, you're left alone.


AskPauline is THE best place to start. You'll spend more time reading the site than you'll ever do paperwork.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got all my paperwork from AskPauline's site.


I do not track attendance. I "stole" nancextoo's homeschooling and life statement.


My portfolio is small (the smallest in the pile that i saw!) but it was loved. I had 2 handwriting samples, a colored map, his chpt 3 math test, a list of everything we read, and a TON of pictures.


I go one extra step for ds and do all his paperwork through a sped supervisor. I dont yet know how we're going to handle testing next year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ditto the AskPauline website, it has all the information you'd need. I found all of the samples particularly helpful when it came to portfolios, etc.


Don't be turned off by PA homeschooling laws. I was very intimidated by the PA regulations, but they have not been difficult. Our evaluator is a gem and gave us a lot of helpful feedback. Our meeting with her was very low stress. The portfolio took a bit to put together, but it's a wonderful record of what we accomplished over a year's time. I'm doing a better job of stocking the portfolio as we go, shouldn't take any time at the end of the year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, start with askpauline.com. It's really not that bad (mostly just a few minutes of extra work now and then), but I would look into the particular school district. Some are friendlier to hs'ers than others; ours is very friendly, but there are others near here where the district has been difficult.


We pick the evaluator, so you choose one who fits with your philosophy of education. That has NOT been a big deal at all for us; our evaluator is a friend of ours and is familiar with our children and our educational philosophy anyway, so sitting down with her once a year is not a big deal. The nice thing about being required to do the portfolio is that it makes sure I do it, so that I have it for a keepsake. (My DS1 isn't old enough to require a portfolio/evaluation yet, and, unfortunately, I've not gotten around to making his yet, sigh.)


Testing could be worse. We use the online version from Christian Liberty Press, and it's fairly painless.


The good thing about hs'ing in PA is that most people are very friendly to hs'ers -- plenty of us here, plenty of support groups and activities. The regulations really are not so terrible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your K won't have to report for a couple of years, and your 3rd wouldn't have to report until (usually) the year after they turn 8. (There are a lot of "unless" statements to insert here, but that's the way it usually works out.)


There are many, many homeschooling moms who will do evaluations, or you can get a relative or family friend who qualifies to do it. If you fear the evaluator, you've hired the wrong one - ask around to find someone who you'll be comfortable with.


If you're even remotely WTMish, you should be just fine in terms of samples for the port. Personally, I focus on showing 1) literacy, usually through age/grade-level-appropriate written pieces, often one on something literature-ish, one on something historical, and one on something science-y, and 2) numeracy, usually 3-4 pages of math problems, typically from an "end of year cumulative test" because it includes a variety of problems (done as a worksheet, over a couple of days, not done as test per se); 3) fire safety (see my website for a handy-dandy worksheet); the rest is gravy.


I usually take a day in the spring to pull together what we've generated naturally, then if I see any gaps I want to fill we have plenty of time to come up with something. Examples - please write me something for the portfolio about your favorite book and why you like it (literature) / everything you know about bears (science, bonus art sample if you draw one) / your day at the museum's Civil War battle reenactment (history). Please do these four math pages. Let's use this checklist to check our house for fire hazards. You can see how you could generate a decent port in a week or two from scratch if you needed to, but chances are you'll already have stuff you can pull from.


Testing is easy - mail order a CAT from Seton and have a friend give it to your dc; you can give it to their dc at the same time. Or have a grandparent, sibling, or neighbor give it. As they get older you might want to do group testing, as an introduction exercise with an eye towards taking SATs and such; it's offered fairly widely by various businesses and co-ops.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me echo what the others have said: don't stress over it. I basically throw all of each child's work into a box during the year and pick through that at the end of the year for a portfolio. Last year, the cat peed in one of the boxes...so this year I got nice plastic boxes with LIDS. :D


I was seduced by the cool science stuff offered by a va this year and signed up my kids. They hate it. We are withdrawing after break to go back to straight homeschooling. I have to admit I really missed lesson planning........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. Read the actual law for yourself, and be very careful of people using "accredited diploma programs" as the only way to homeschool in PA.


There is a network of evaluators who do evaluations free as a ministry.


In PA, the parent determines the grade level of the child, and nothing prevents an "ungraded' (multi- or no- grade level program) Also, nothing specifies what a high-school credit is. The law says what subjects must be taught but does not say how or when. Not every subject has to be done every year, except for continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires. :glare: You must list objectives but do not have to meet them. Standardized tests must be given in certain grades but no score can prevent you from continuing to homeschool. In brief- the law is vague, contradictory, or useless.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...