In this video, Rosalyn Price English, founder and co-administrator of the Lycoming & Clinton Counties Home Educators Association, welcomes homeschooling families to Central Pennsylvania, walks parents through the steps of completing registration paperwork, and encourages local families with opportunities to connect in with other homeschoolers in our area. (COVID Edition, 2020)
The Basics of Home Education in Pennsylvania
A. REGISTRATION AGE
Home education in the state of Pennsylvania requires that the student be registered with his/her school district.
Children who are 6 years old or older on or before September 1, must be registered as a home educated student if not in a private or public school.
*Caveat: If your child was previously enrolled in a public school (kindergarten etc) before the age of 6, then you must register the child each year regardless of their age.
B. WITHDRAWAL FROM PUBLIC/PRIVATE SCHOOL
Students who were previously enrolled in public or private school must be formally withdrawn.
To complete the withdrawal process, parents or legal guardians (home education supervisor) must send a withdrawal form (sample below) to the principle of the school to which the child is currently enrolled.
The form should be mailed via certified mail with return receipt, or, taken directly to the school office. If delivered in-person to the school office, the school should sign a receipt for the home education supervisor's records.
C. REGISTRATION DOCUMENTATION
New homeschooling students may be registered at any time during the school year. Previously homeschooled students must have their registration documentation submitted to the school district by August 1.
The ONLY documentation required by law to register your child as 'home educated' in the state of Pennsylvania includes:
Affidavit (Must be notarized)*
Immunizations OR Religious/Philosophical Exemption*
*Please see the form examples below. Home Education Supervisors are not required by law to use forms provided by their school district.
D. YEARLY EVALUATIONS
If your child is registered as 'home educated', their yearly evaluation is due to the school district by June 30.
Many home education supervisors provide the school district with their students' next years' registration documentation and that years' evaluation at the same time.
E. SCHOOL DISTRICT COMMUNICATION
By law, all communication and requests from a school district must meet 2 criteria:
1. It must come from the school district’s superintendent’s office, and
2. It must come via certified mail.
ANY REQUEST from a school district that does not come from the superintendent's office AND does not arrive via certified mail is NOT LEGAL. Examples of illegal request formats include phone calls, letters received in the regular postal mail, and/or verbal/in person requests. Remember - unless they provide you with a certified letter via postal mail, the request is not legal and you are not under legal obligation to respond or comply.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Who is the Home Education Supervisor?
Answer: In a home education program, the child is taught by his or her parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian. The person teaching the child is referred to as the “supervisor” of the child's home education program.
Question: What if the school gives me a hard time about pulling my student?
Answer: Homeschooling law protects you as a parent or guardian from having to complete any school forms, participate in guidance counseling or exit interviews, or having to explain yourself. When you file your paperwork, and send it via certified mail return receipt, your return receipt (the green card) is all you need.
That said, it CAN be intimidating the first time you walk through the process. We recommend reaching out to a veteran homeschooling friend to walk you through the process, or contact us and we'll be happy to sit down with you and help you navigate the paperwork.
Many families choose to sign up for a membership to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Your paid membership provides you with an experienced lawyer in the event that you need legal representation. Our organization has a discount code, so be sure to reach out to us prior to paying for a membership so we can share the code with you! More information at: www.hslda.org