It is important to know the law when you home school. In YHSA we are privileged to have members who have a deep and abiding interest in the law, and safeguarding our home school freedoms.
Below we have included some basic information and suggestions for learning more. We strongly urge that you do more than read this page! Attend the workshops on Act 169 and consider becoming a member of HSLDA.
Many people are unaware that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Here is some basic information that can help YOU get started.
Yes. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but each state has different regulations, monitoring expectations and "homeschool friendly" outlooks.
In Pennsylvania, compulsory education begins at age 8, at which time students are to be registered with their local school district. An affidavit is filed regarding the qualifications of the teacher (only a high school education is required) and the intent to homeschool.
Early on, homeschoolers in Pennsylvania fought diligently for the right to homeschool, and even today several organizations (like Home School Legal Defense Association) keep watch to guarantee there is no infringement on this right. PA is considered to have one of the tougher set of regulations in the country.
The following subjects are required in Pennsylvania:
Elementary: English, to include spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; science, geography, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education; music; and art.
Secondary: English, to include language, literature, speech and composition; science; geography; social studies, to include civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra and geometry; art; music; physical education; health and safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires. Such courses of study may include, at the discretion of the supervisor of the home education program, economics; biology; chemistry; foreign languages; trigonometry; or other age-appropriate courses as contained in Chapter 4 (Curriculum Requirements) of the State Board of Education.
At the end of each homeschool year, an approved evaluator (a clinical or school psychologist or PA-certified teacher) must evaluate the child for sustained progress, essentially reviewing a portfolio of work, interviewing the child, and in grades 3, 5, and 8 reviewing standardized testing.
A copy of the evaluation, stating whether or not progress has been noted, and the portfolio are then sent to the district superintendent for review.
Please take the time to read the PA Home Education Law for yourself. This is only a brief overview of what you must do to comply with the Pennsylvania Home School Law. YHSA is not in the business of providing legal advice. Please consult a lawyer for complete legal advice.
Other Ways to Learn about the Law
Consider attending one of our Act 169 Orientation Seminars. For dates and times look at the popout links under the main menu item "Home School Workshops."
YHSA Guide to the Law is a comprehensive guide written by YHSA members who, based on their interpretation of the law and experience as homeschoolers, seek to clarify the requirements of the law for others interested in homeschooling their children in PA. Click here to order a printed copy of The Guide or download it for free.
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.