When homeschooling, parents are responsible by law to provide the state with certain documentation. This page outlines the state’s requirements and provides the necessary forms.
The documentation required to begin (and continue) a home education program includes:
- The affidavit, which must be notarized.
- The immunization record
- The medical record
- An outline of proposed education objectives by subject area (an outline of what you intend to teach for each subject during the year).
The law requires that children begin formal education by the age of 8 years, reached no later than the first two weeks of the school district’s school year. (For example, if school begins on September 1, but a child turns 8 on November 1, that child is not required to begin their formal education until the following year.)
The affidavit covers the school year (July 1-June 30). You must file a notarized affidavit with the Northeast Bradford School District’s Office of the Superintendent no later than August 1 of each school year a child is homeschooled. The exception is the first year a student is homeschooled; that initial year the home education program may begin at any time during the year, as soon as an affidavit and supporting documentation is submitted.
The affidavits and mandatory courses are divided by grade levels:
If you wish to teach year-round, the affidavit may be submitted as early as July 1 so the schooling may begin. The cut-off date for completion of a school year is June 30.
Immunization and Medical Records
Districts are required to ensure student immunization and medical records are current. (See 24 P.S. § 13-1303a.) Home education programs must provide evidence that these requirements are fulfilled. (See 24 P.S. § 14-1419, 24 P.S. § 13-1303.)
The requirement for immunization and medical records for homeschooled students may be satisfied in one of three ways:
- Submit the actual records.
- Submit a letter from the doctor stating that the legal requirements have been fulfilled or there exists a medical condition that prevents immunization.
- Submit a letter stating that you have a religious objection to either immunization and/or medical examinations.
Medical record regulations are defined in 28 Pa Code Chapter 23 (23.1 – 23.11).
Each child of school age must be given the following:
- An annual vision test (028 Pa. Code § 23.4 – Vision screening tests)
- A hearing test (028 Pa. Code 23.5 – Hearing screening tests, 028 Pa. Code § 23.6. threshold hearing tests.) Needed in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 7 and 11
- Dental exam (028 Pa. Code § 23.3 dental examinations.) Needed in K, 3 and 7
Home Education Program Supervisor
The supervisor of the home education program is defined as “the parent or guardian or such person having legal custody of the child or children who shall be responsible for the provision of instruction, provided that such person has a high school diploma or its equivalent.” (See 24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (b) (1).) The home education supervisor is not required to submit or show his/her diploma or its equivalent to the school district in order to supervise a home education program.
Requirement for Students with Special Needs
For any child identified by the provisions of the Education of the Handicapped Act as needing special education services (excluding those identified as gifted and/or talented), the program must address the specific needs of the student. It must be approved by a teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist. This written notification of approval must be submitted with the notarized affidavit. (See 24 P.S. § 13-1327 (d).)
The portfolio is due by the end of each school year (24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (h)), which is June 30. It is required for all homeschooled students for the period of time in which they homeschool.
- Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student.
- The log must demonstrate that the home education program provided a minimum of either: 180 days of instruction or 900 hours of instruction per year at the elementary level and 990 hours per year at the secondary level.
- For students in grades 3, 5 or 8, the results of the statewide tests (PSSA) or other authorized tests (a list of approved tests is listed on the website in the Home Education Program BEC).
- A written evaluation from the Evaluator verifying whether the student has had an appropriate education. It is the responsibility of the parent to pay for any charge by an Evaluator for this service. The evaluation must be based on an interview of the child and a review of the portfolio and accompanying documentation. The evaluation must certify whether or not an appropriate education is occurring and this report from the evaluator must be included in the documentation submitted to the superintendent of schools by June 30.
Qualifications of Evaluators
The following list qualifies as evaluators for home education programs:
- Licensed clinical psychologist
- School psychologist
- Pennsylvania certified teacher with 2 years of grading experience at the level he/she evaluates (K-6 and/or 7-12)
- Nonpublic school teacher or administrator with 2 years of teaching experience in Pennsylvania within the last 10 years at the level he/she evaluates (K-6 and/or 7-12)
- Persons with other applicable qualifications, with the consent of the superintendent of the district of residence
NOTE: The supervisor or the spouse of the supervisor of the home education program is not allowed to be the evaluator for their home education program, regardless of any qualifications. (Please contact the school for a list of evaluators in the area.)
Students above Age 17
Compulsory attendance laws require students to attend school until they are 17 years old; therefore, a portfolio must be submitted to account for all homeschooling up to age 17. If a student ceases to homeschool after they turn 17, the portfolio still must be submitted for the period before the 17th birthday.
It is permissible to document only the work up to the seventeenth birthday, but there are diploma and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) considerations. If a student has not yet completed the home education law’s requirements for graduation, or does not submit the documentation to prove they have completed the requirements, there is no way for the superintendent of schools to sign the PHEAA form. However, if this choice already has been made, the student still can take the GED tests and receive a Commonwealth Secondary School diploma. PHEAA will accept these.
If a student drops out of homeschooling after the age of 17, they may not return to homeschooling.
Kindergarten is not required in Pennsylvania. Parents may choose to submit an affidavit for homeschooling their kindergarten child, but it is not required.
Parents may request to borrow copies of the school district’s own planned courses, textbooks and other curriculum materials appropriate to the student’s age and grade level; these are provided free of charge.
Homeschooled students have the right to participate in the school district’s extracurricular activities, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria or the equivalent and complying with all policies, rules and regulations or the equivalent of the governing organization of the activity.
Diplomas are an important consideration in a home education program. Some parents choose to issue parent-issued diplomas, while others seek a Commonwealth-recognized diploma.
A home education program has certain legal requirements for completing the elementary and secondary levels. There also are requirements for a home education graduation. In order to ensure these requirements are met, and to document the homeschool history, transcripts should be kept by the parent and by the school district.
Additionally, if a home education program moves to another Pennsylvania school district, a letter of transfer is required. Including transcripts in the letter of transfer ensures that credit is given in the new district for work completed in the former district. This may become an issue for graduation.
If the home education student completes the home education graduation requirements but has not affiliated with an authorized diploma-granting organization, the school district is required to submit to PHEAA a certification that the home education program is in compliance with the home education program law.
For any child in a home education program identified by the provisions of the Education of the Handicapped Act as needing special education services (excluding those identified as gifted and/or talented), the program must address the specific needs of the exceptional student and be approved by a teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist. This written notification of approval must be submitted with the notarized affidavit. School districts have the option to provide support for these students.
The Pennsylvania School Code (24 P.S. §13-1327.1(e)(1)) states that the portfolio for home education students in grades 3, 5 and 8 must include the results of the statewide tests for reading/language arts and mathematics or nationally normed standardized achievements tests.
If the supervisor of the home education program requests that the student(s) take the statewide tests administered in these grades, the school district must allow the student to take the test at the school building the home education student normally would attend. If you are planning on testing your child at the district, please notify the district so that arrangements can be made by calling (570) 744-2521, ext. 2214.
The Department of Education has approved the following nationally normed standardized tests for use by home education programs if they choose not to take the statewide tests:
- California Achievement Test
- Comprehensive Testing Program (CTPIV)
- Iowa Test of Basic Skills
- Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
- Metropolitan Achievement Test
- Peabody Achievement Individual Test – Revised Version
- Stanford Achievement Test
- Terra Nova
- Woodcock-Johnson Revised Tests of Achievement III
- Woodcock-Johnson IV
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test III (WIAT-III)
If a home education program is relocating to another Pennsylvania school district, the supervisor needs to request from the Superintendent a letter of transfer for the home education program. The request must be made by registered mail 30 days prior to relocation.
The Superintendent then issues the letter of transfer within 30 days after receipt of the supervisor’s registered mail request.
The supervisor then files the letter of transfer with the Superintendent of the new district of residence.
If a home education program is out of compliance, the Superintendent will inform the home education supervisor and Superintendent of the new district of residence of this status and the reason for denial of the transfer letter.
If a home education program is in hearing procedures, the Superintendent will inform the home education supervisor, hearing examiner and Superintendent of the new district of residence of this status and the reason for denial of the transfer letter.
If the Superintendent is informed of pending proceedings related to a home education program relocating to the district, s/he will continue the home education program until the appeal process is finalized.