PA Home education law
Home educating in PA 101
Home educating for freedom and simplicity
Contacts for more information
Medical exemption form
PHEN membership form
Standardized test suppliers
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Updates to text of document May 2003
PENNSYLVANIA HOME EDUCATION NETWORK INFORMATION SHEET NUMBER 3
952 Peach St.
Ellwood City, PA 16117
HOW TO HOME EDUCATE FOR FREEDOM AND SIMPLICITY IN PENNSYLVANIA
I. Legal Issues
A. Get a copy of the laws
about home educating (from the Network or your legislator) and
B. Choose a method of dealing with government officials.
C. Contact officials only for children:
1. age 8 or older
2. who turn 8 within the first 2 weeks of
your district's "official" start of the school year.
3. who have "attended" public school for 1st
grade or beyond (kindergarten attendance does not count).
D. Do only what the law requires. Do not submit to
extra requirements made by district officials. This will protect you and
other home educators from dangerous precedents. Avoid telephone and personal
contact especially if you feel you may be intimidated.
E. If you are in compliance with the law and receive
a negative contact from district officials do one of the following:
1. Ignore illegal requests.
2. Reply in writing explaining the law.
F. Methods of dealing with school officials
1. Private tutoring
a. Obtain a criminal clearance (form
is available from the state police and may take about 4 weeks to process)
and a copy of the tutor's teaching certificate.
b. Tutor writes a letter to the local
superintendent of schools stating:
1) S/he is a Pennsylvania Certified
teacher and has enclosed a copy of her/his certificate.
2) S/he has obtained a criminal
clearance and has enclosed a copy.
3) S/he will be instructing
children of a single family.
4) S/he will be providing the
majority of instruction to the children for the required time in the English
5) S/he will receive a fee or
other consideration for her/his work.
c. Since this is the only information
required of a private tutor, do not give any further information like
children's names, ages, description of fees, educational plans, etc.
d. The tutor may be either parent or
someone the parent hires.
2. Act 169 (Home Education Program)
a. Make or obtain an "affidavit
packet" that includes: a completed, notarized affidavit
form, a list of objectives,
a medical exemption form (or medical
forms) and file it with the local school superintendent prior to the commencement
of the home education program and annually thereafter on August 1 ( See
the PA home education laws or The
Pennsylvania Home Education Handbook for details).
b. Keep a log (list) for each child:
designating the titles reading materials used.
c. Keep samples of any writings,
worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the child.
d. Find an evaluator. Check the evaluator's
requirements and, if necessary, explain the legal requirements to her/him.
You are not legally required to do more than the law states.
e. If the child is in grades 3, 5,
or 8, you could purchase a test and arrange for someone close to the child
(friend, relative, sibling) to administer the test. Or you could test
a friend's child while she tests your child. You can stay with your child
during the testing.
f. Have your child evaluated. Take
with you: the child, her/his portfolio including the log, samples, and
for grades 3, 5, and 8 test scores. Ask the evaluator to write a short
letter "certifying that an appropriate education has occurred".
g. Mail or take the portfolio including
the evaluation letter to your local school district by June 30.
3. No Contact/ Underground/ Non-Compliant
a. Do not contact school officials.
b. It may be wise to keep records in
case school officials contact you.
II. Educational Issues
A. Read a wide variety of sources, attend Pennsylvania
Home Education Network's series of meetings on the basics of home education,
and talk to other home educators to find out about educational methods
and how children learn.
B. Wait until your child shows readiness before beginning
to teach her/him.
C. Avoid spending money unnecessarily on superfluous
curriculums, books, etc. Use the library and everyday materials around
the home. Give your child educational materials like a globe, art supplies,
chemistry sets, books, etc. as birthday and other gifts.
III. We recommend joining the Pennsylvania Home Education Network
to stay informed about legal developments, and to both create and be involved
in a positive environment for home educators across our state.
Note: These guidelines are not intended as legal advice.