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Required Attendance Age
The state of Pennsylvania requires your child to attend school from the age of 8 to 17 years old. Legal schooling options include the following:
- public school
- private school
- parochial school
- non-public school
- homeschool or
- a private tutor
NOTE: Parents may have their child educated at home by a private tutor (someone with a teaching certificate from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). If you have a teaching certificate then you can also educate your child(ren) at home under the Private Tutor Regulations. The regulations for a private tutor are lower than the homeschool law regulations below.
(see legal references #1 and #2)
Notify The School District
The Pennsylvania Homeschool Law requires you to send a notarized affidavit to your school district superintendent by August 1st every year that you homeschool. Your first affidavit must be sent in before you begin homeschooling.
Affidavit for grades K-6 (form by the PA Department of Education)
Affidavit for grades 7-12 (form by the PA Department of Education)
Sample Affidavit (form by Mason Dixon Homeschoolers Association)
This affidavit will ask for the following information:
- Your name (i.e. the “supervisor” of your child’s education)
- Name and age of each child your will be homeschooling
- Your address and telephone number
- A statement of assurance that you will be teaching each of the required educational subjects (see “required subjects” below)
- An outline of what you plan to teach in each required subject (i.e. education objectives)
- Proof of your child’s immunizations or exemption
- Proof that your child has received the required health and medical services
NOTE: If your child has never been enrolled in a public school then send in your first affidavit around your child’s 8th birthday.
If your child is already enrolled and attending a public school then send in your first affidavit before withdrawing your child and beginning to homeschool (even if your child is younger than 8 years old).
(see legal reference #3: b-1)
If You Need To Withdraw Your Child
If your child is already attending a Pennsylvania public school you must officially withdraw them before beginning to homeschool. Fill out and send in this Pennsylvania Student Withdrawal Letter to your child’s school. Make sure that you also fill out and send in the notarized affidavit (mentioned above).
The Pennsylvania Homeschool Law requires you to have a High School Diploma or it’s equivalent (i.e. a GED) in order to homeschool your child.
(see legal reference #3: a)
Days Of Instruction
The Pennsylvania Homeschool Law requires you to teach 180 days/year or 900 hours/year for grades K-6 and 990 hours/year for grades 7-12. You will not be required to show proof of your child’s attendance to anyone, but it is a good idea to keep it for your records.
(see legal reference #3: c)
The Pennsylvania Homeschool Law requires your child to study the following required subjects as part of their homeschool curriculum:
- English; including spelling, reading and writing
- History of the United States and Pennsylvania
- Safety education; including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires
- Health and physiology
- Physical education
- English (min. of 4 years); including language, literature, speech and composition
- Science (min. of 3 years)
- Social studies (min. of 3 years); including civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania
- Mathematics (min. of 3 years); including general mathematics, algebra and geometry
- Art (min. of 2 years)
- Physical education
- Safety education; including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.
You may also include, but your child is not required to study, the following courses:
- foreign languages
(see legal reference #3: c-1, c-2, and d)
The Pennsylvania Homeschool Law requires you to keep a portfolio and a written academic evaluation for each child that is homeschooled. It is also suggested, but not required, that you keep a record of your child’s attendance throughout the school year.
Each portfolio must contain the following items:
- a list of any reading materials that you used during the year (listed by title)
- samples of your child’s writing
- creative materials used or made by your child
- copies your child’s test scores (only for the years they are required to test, see “testing” below)
The academic evaluation must be preformed by a certified person (see note below) who has at least 2 years of experience in a Pennsylvania public or non-public school within the last 10 years. The certified person must interview your child, look over their portfolio for that year, determine if your child is performing well enough academically, and then give you a written statement about their evaluation.
NOTE: A certified person can be a licensed clinical or school psychologist or a teacher certified by the Commonwealth or a nonpublic school teacher or administrator. You can not evaluate your own children or have your spouse evaluate your children.
(see legal reference #3: e-1 and e-2)
The Pennsylvania Homeschool Law requires homeschool students to participate in testing during their 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade years. During each of these years, your child must take a Nationally Normed Standardized Test that covers reading, language arts, and mathematics. You, the parent, can not administer this test. It must be administered by someone other than you.
(see legal reference #3: e-1)
Immunization Law For Pennsylvania Homeschoolers
The state of Pennsylvania requires all children to receive vaccinations or submit a waiver. This includes children who homeschool. You must attach proof of your child’s immunizations, or a letter of exemption, with your yearly affidavit.
(see legal reference #4)
Helpful Websites For Pennsylvania Homeschoolers
For local support and information visit these Pennsylvania homeschool websites:
- Required Attendance Age: Pennsylvania Code 22-11-13.
- Legal schooling options: Pennsylvania Statutes 24-13-1327.
- Homeschool Regulations: Pennsylvania Statutes 24-13-1327.1
- Immunizations: Pennsylvania Statutes 14-13-1303a.
This summary is for informational purposes only and is not given as legal advice. HomeschoolStateLaws.com does not endorse any of the links or organizations listed above.