At what age do we file?
PA Homeschool Connection and HSLDA have always maintained that you do *not* need to file for a child who attains age 8 after the start of the school year. The PA Department of Education (PDE) finally agreed with this and now says that unless your child becomes 8 within two weeks of the start of the school year, you may wait until the following school year to file for him or her.
High School Diploma
You do *not* need to attach your high school diploma to your affidavit, and you never did. PDE finally removed that erroneous requirement from its forms in 1997. Their position now is that you only have to attest in the affidavit that you have a diploma. HSLDA's position is that you do not even need to do this much. Either way, a copy of your diploma is NOT needed.
Medicinal and Immunization Evidence
PDE has changed its position on attaching this evidence as well. While they do not agree that a statement in the affidavit saying that the required services have or will be rendered is sufficient, they will accept a statement from a doctor indicating that all required services have been received. PDE does not require the district to maintain actual health records for our children.
So, you can get your Doctor to simply write a note verifying that the required health services were rendered, and the records may remain with the doctor. HSLDA disagrees with this position, saying that the sworn affidavit is 'sufficient evidence thereof'. Either way you go, you do *not* have to give your district your child's actual health and dental records.
The Actual Form
Be careful what the affidavit you intend to sign says. School districts may have items on their affidavit that are not required by law. If you sign it, you must then do whatever it says.
You do not have to use a district supplied form. You may use your own as long as it sets forth everything that the law says it must set forth, which is:
- the name of the supervisor of the home education program
- the name and age of each child in the home education program
- the address and telephone number of the home education program site
- that such subjects as required by law are offered in the English language
- an outline of proposed education objectives by subject area
- evidence that the child has been immunized
- evidence that required health and medical services have been received; that the home education program shall comply with the provisions of this section
- that the notarized affidavit shall be satisfactory evidence thereof
A certification to be signed by the supervisor that the supervisor, all adults living in the home and persons having legal custody of a child or children in a home education program have not been convicted of the criminal offenses enumerated in subsection (e) of section 111 within five years immediately preceding the date of the affidavit.
Based on this information, you can create your own affidavit.
Information about your child on the Affidavit
From reading the above, you can see that we do *not* have to give the district our children's birth dates, grade levels, or social security numbers. It is up to the parent to determine the grade level of the child. We also do *not* have to fill out the school registration form that is used by those who are enrolling their children in the public schools.
More Than One Child on Affidavit?
Yes! There is no need to do separate affidavits for each of your children. In fact, the law says the affidavit shall set forth, "the name and age of each child...". If your district asks for one for each child's file you can suggest that they make a copy of the affidavit.
The law says that the objectives are 'proposed,' as opposed to an iron clad promise to accomplish any of them. We are not bound to meet these objectives, but are free to vary our curriculum as the year progresses. As long as we cover all of the required subject areas, we do not have to stick to what we originally 'proposed.'
The law also says that, "The required outline of proposed educational objectives shall not be utilized by the superintendent in the determining if the home education program is out of compliance with this section and section 1327."
This means several things. First, the district may not 'disapprove' of our objectives. As long as we have an objective for every subject, they have no veto power over our program.
Second, at the year end evaluation, the district has no authority to compare our portfolio to the list of objectives to see if we accomplished them.
Get a Receipt!
It is always wise to get a receipt for your affidavit if you do not send it by certified mail receipt requested. My district lost my affidavit several years ago, and I was very glad to have my receipt handy just in case.....
Reprinted with permission from the PA Homeschool Exchange, a publication of PA Homeschool Connection,