Home Education Law in PA (HELP)
In-person HELP Seminars are held about four times per year. Click here for a calendar of upcoming events.
Organizer: Nicole Braswell - email@example.com
Speaker: Nikki Donahue - firstname.lastname@example.org
The HELP Seminar covers the particulars of what is required to comply with PA home education law, including the changes made under Act 55 of 2022, as well as how to submit required documents and more.
This seminar is designed for anyone who wants a better understanding of what is (and isn't) required by the PA Home Education law, whether you’re just considering, are new to homeschooling, or have been doing it for years. Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no cost!
Home Educating in PA
Step 1: We highly recommend that each family read the text of the law for themselves.
If you are a PA-certified teacher, you may want to look into this option. It has slightly different requirements than a home education program. Private Tutor law: 22 Pa. Code § 11.31
Step 2: In order to conduct a home education program, there are two qualifications
The supervisor (one parent or legal guardian) must have a high school diploma or equivalent
No one in the home or having custody of the child(ren) has been convicted of certain offenses within 5 years Criminal Offenses that preclude home education: 1949 Act 14, Section 111(e)(1)
Step 3: To begin your program, you will need to submit the following documents to your district superintendent’s office for each child who turns 6 years old on or before September 1st:
This document must include the name of the supervisor (a parent or legal guardian); the name and age of each child (age 6+); the address and telephone number of the home education program site; assurance that such required subjects are offered in the English language; assurance that the child has been immunized in accordance with the law (or claims exemption); and that the child(ren) has/have received the health and medical services required for students of the child's age or grade level. Mandated Health & Medical Services
Educational Objectives (sample) These can be very simple and general!
Immunization record or Exemption letter (example) (Some districts do not insist on this)
If your child has been identified pursuant to the provisions of the Education of the Handicapped Act (Public Law 91-230, 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq.) as needing special education services, excluding those students identified as gifted and/or talented, his/her educational objectives must be approved by a teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist and written notification must be included with the Affidavit or Unsworn Declaration.
ALWAYS keep copies of anything you submit to the school district and GET A RECEIPT!
Step 4: Throughout the school year (legally July 1 through June 30), keep a log of reading materials you use and samples of your child’s work. The law says you must provide 180 days of instruction; however, it does not define “days,” so it is up to you to decide what constitutes a “day” for your family. Here are some helpful homeschooling web sites and resources to get you started! If you have a high school student, please refer to our Homeschooling High School page.
Step 5: If your child is in grades 3, 5, or 8 (or the age equivalents if you do not assign a grade level) they must complete an approved standardized test at some point during the school year. Details on Standardized Testing
Step 6: In the spring, put together a portfolio of records and materials for each child including the log of reading materials, work samples, and testing results (see Step 5).
Step 7: The law requires that your child meet with a qualified or approved evaluator who will talk to them and review their portfolio to determine whether an appropriate education is occurring. The law defines “appropriate education” as “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.” Don’t worry! There are no benchmarks or standards your child must meet and every subject is not required every year. As long as they are learning and progressing, you are in compliance with the law! The evaluation is not a test or assessment but more of a show and tell. Evaluators can be found by asking other homeschoolers for recommendations, on Facebook groups, or here. YHSA members can access a list of local evaluators here. Here is an article about things to consider when Choosing an Evaluator.
Step 8: Submit your evaluator’s letter to your district superintendent’s office by June 30th, either in person or by certified mail (return receipt requested). Some districts allow submissions via email. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself and get a receipt (if not mailing). The affidavit or unsworn declaration and objectives for the next year are not due until August 1; however, many home educators prepare these documents and submit them along with their evaluation so they are only dealing with paperwork once a year!
You can download the 24-page HELP Seminar information packet here.