With all the new social distancing implementations I am finding more and more of my friends opting to homeschool rather than send their child to public school this year. So, this post is for you my dear mama.
First off, congratulations! I know this may not be the terms under which you want to jump into an adventure like this but trust me you CAN do it! Homeschooling is this wonderful bundle of joy, learning and daily graces with each other. You are already fully equipped for the task because you are their parent and you care more than anyone else in the world. You don’t need to be an expert, your willingness to learn along side them is enough.
While you could honestly homeschool with your general knowledge and a library card there are a few legal hoops you have to jump through to comply with PA Homeschool Laws. Unfortunately, PA is not the most relaxed state to homeschool in but it’s really not difficult either!
First off, you’ll have to file an affidavit by August 1st. An affidavit is just a fancy way of saying you are legally supervising your child’s education. The document will need to be notarized by a licensed PA notary, you can usually find one at your local post office, your bank or even a car dealership. Just be sure to call ahead to see if they are available.
Along with your affidavit you need to submit your child’s immunization records OR your religious exemption from them.
Lastly, you will need to submit a list of objectives outlining what material you will cover. This can be very basic and honestly, the more vague you keep it the better! Just be sure that you make a point to show you are covering the state mandated subjects. Keep in mind you don’t have to cover all these subjects every day! It’s your homeschool and you can do whatever you want with it. I’ll attach a copy of my AmblesideOnline’s Year 1 student’s objectives to give you a basic idea.
That’s it! Be sure to send all three forms to your school districts superintendent office. I highly recommend sending it via certified mail as proof that you sent it. Keep a copy of all documents and the mail receipt for your records.
If all this legal mumbo jumbo is kind of making you nervous you could always do what I did this year and purchase a HSLDA membership for your family. There, they have all the legal documents you will need and will be your legal representation if you should need it during the course of the year. They are fantastic and were a huge help as I was gathering all my information for my first time filing for homeschool this year too.
Wishing you the absolute best this year! If you want you can follow me on Instagram at Threelittleacornsacademy or on Facebook. There, I like to share more of our homeschool journey and helpful tips I’ve learned along the way.
2 thoughts on “Homeschooling in Pennsylvania”
Do you know if the August 1 deadline is in any way being extended to accommodate the uncertainty surrounding the various schools’ plans to deal with COVID? There are so many parents who will not be able to decide whether they definitely need to homeschool until they know for sure what their particular school will be doing in light of the virus. I definitely need and want my children to be in school for the social development aspect, but I don’t want them to add to the problem when it comes to crowded classrooms, overloaded teachers and staff, and potential spread of deadly germs.
Sadly, our district never does anything until the last possible second, so I trust that a final decision about something so fluid as COVID will not be any more timely.
So what if I plan to send my kiddos to school but change my mind based on the school’s final decision after August 1? Will my kids be forced to attend anyway? What if we decide that school sounds like it will work and my kids give it a try, but one or both of my special needs kids simply can’t handle going with the restrictions in place so I need to homeschool partway through the year? Would we be better to assume that we’re going to homeschool and then try to get the kids back into regular school if it looks like everything will be okay?
Thanks for your comment Bekki! Unfortunately, I am not sure of all of the technicalities to answer you correctly. COVID really threw a wrench in a lot of our systems in place. I would recommend you reach out to HSLDA (link is in the post) or you can check out CHAP. They are also a great resource and they stay very up to date with PA Homeschool compliance laws. You can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianHomeschoolPA
Although, if you’re really concerned about socializing there are a ton of homeschool co-ops you can get involved with. You might even find they get more friend time homeschooling rather than public school! CHAP just posted a great list of CO-OPs by county. You can also find that here: https://chaponline.com/find-support-groups/?fbclid=IwAR0SunLjU90WAxk_IiiRm-J7zI6BAHJ3XoxYlGYxXITPOtykoolxqiYp1v4
Best Wishes on your decision my friend!