In 1988, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169. This law amended the Pennsylvania School Code to allow parents or guardians to homeschool their children as an option to compulsory school attendance. This law specifies the requirements and responsibilities of the parents and the school district where the family lives. (NOTE: a home education program is not considered to be a nonpublic school under the home education law.)
Parents wishing to homeschool in Pennsylvania have four options:
Homeschool under the Pennsylvania Homeschool Statute:
Pennsylvania Statute 24 P.S. Section 13-1327.1 outlines filing requirements for home education programs. Parents or guardians “or other person having legal custody of the child or children” must file a notarized affidavit prior to beginning a home education program and “annually thereafter on August 1,” with the student’s local superintendent of schools. The affidavit should include:
- The name of the supervisor of the home education program who is responsible for providing instruction;
- The name and age of each child participating in the home education program;
- The address and telephone number of the home school program site;
- Verification that the home education program will teach subject “as required by law” in “the English language, including an outline of proposed education objectives by subject area; evidence that the child has been immunized in accordance with the provisions of P.S. Section 1303(a) and has received the health and medical services required for students of the child’s age or grade level;” and
- A statement that “the home education program shall comply with the provisions of [this] section and that the notarized affidavit shall be satisfactory evidence thereof.”
The affidavit should also contain 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 (3) of section 111 within five years immediately preceding the date of the affidavit (24 P.S. Section 13-1327.1).”
The parent or guardian of the child to be enrolled in a home education program who has a high school diploma or its equivalent will be designated as “the supervisor” of the home program and will be held responsible for providing instruction. The “supervisor” will be responsible for maintaining records including: (1) a log of time spent; (2) titles of reading materials and samples of student writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used; (3) results of standardized tests in grades 3, 5 and 8; and (4) an evaluation of the student’s education progress by a licensed clinical or school psychologist or a certified teacher with two years’ experience or a nonpublic school teacher or administrator with two years’ experience in the last ten years.Records should be provided on an annual basis by June 30th, “or as requested in writing.”Instruction must be provided for 180 days at the elementary level and 180 days or 990 hours at the secondary level. Courses provided must be equivalent to those required for public schools in Pennsylvania.
Homeschool using a private tutor:
- The tutor must be a Pennsylvania certified public schools teacher
- The tutor is teaching one or more children from the same family;
- The tutor must provide the majority of the instruction;
- The tutor must receive some fee or “other consideration” for teaching; and
- The tutor is required to file with the superintendent of the local school district a copy of their Pennsylvania teaching certification and, if applicable, a copy of their personal criminal history record.
Enrolling your student in a satellite of a religious day school:
You may enroll your child as a student in a qualified religious day school. To qualify as a day school:
- The principal is required to file with the Department of Education a notarized statement affirming that all required subject will be taught in English, that the school complies with all current laws, and that the school is a non-profit organization.
- The school is required to provide the local school district with the names and addresses of all children 6-18 years of age who are enrolled in the school. This information is required to be provided when the child officially enters the school. Day schools must also report the name of any student withdrawing from the school and the date of their withdrawal. Any child who is absent from school for three days or more without a legal excuse must be reported to the school district.
- All day schools must provide the required hours and days of instruction as well as all required courses
Enrolling your student in an accredited day or boarding school’s licensed satellite school:
If your child is enrolled in an accredited satellite school or boarding school, you may be able to teach your children at home. Check with your local school district for a list of accredited day or boarding schools.
Updated February 2018
Pennsylvania Homeschool State Laws Links:
- Online Private School Accredited in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, Nonpublic/Private Schools
- Pennsylvania Department of Education/Home Education
- Pennsylvania Code
- Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania
- Homeschool Support Groups in Pennsylvania
NOTE: HomeschoolFacts does not endorse any of the links or organizations listed above. All of the information provided is intended for research purposes only and is not given as legal advice. REMEMBER: The most important thing you can do to prepare for homeschooling your child is to become familiar with your state’s laws about homeschooling.