Beginning to homeschool requires submitting a packet of paperwork to your local school district each year:
1. AFFIDAVIT – “A home education program is commenced by the submission of a notarized affidavit to the superintendent’s office, in the student’s district of residence, by the home education supervisor (parent, guardian or person having legal custody of the child).
The affidavit covers the school year (July 1 – June 30) and must be submitted to the superintendent’s office no later than August 1 of each school year a child is homeschooled. The exception is the first year a student is homeschooled; that year the home education program may begin at any time, as soon as an affidavit and supporting documentation is submitted.” (PA Dept of Ed Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide 1/28/2016)
Affidavit – You are attesting to being the one who is legally responsible for homeschooling your own children. You are also agreeing to abide by the PA Home Education Law. (Have you read the law? Do you know what you are promising to do?) Check out the law here: https://hslda.org/legal/pennsylvania and here: https://pahomeschoollaw.com/
*The affidavit requires you state your child’s name and AGE – not grade. No need to report the grade level.
Notarized – Your bank may offer free notarizing. UPS stores will notarize for a fee.
Tag and title services should also have a notary on site.
Submitting to Superintendent’s Office of your local school district – Contact the school district Administration Office for the best method of submitting your paperwork. Being 2020, methods have changed. Some school districts are now requesting email or certified mail and no drop-offs.
School year – The homeschool year covers teaching, learning, activities, camps, projects, etc completed from July 1 – June 30 each year.
Brand new to homeschooling? – The affidavit must be filed at the time of your decision to homeschool your child(ren). This can occur at any time throughout the year.
Returning to homeschooling? – Your affidavit is due by or on August 1 each year.
UPDATE from CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of PA):
In April of 2020, in response to the COVID pandemic, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania added the “unsworn declaration” to be used in place of a notarized affidavit (sworn declaration) in many instances, including the homeschool affidavit. According to the statute, an “unsworn declaration” is a declaration in a signed record not given under oath but given under penalty of perjury. CHAP has added a sample unsworn declaration to homeschoolpennsylvania.org that can be used in place of the notarized affidavit.
2. OBJECTIVES – “Outline of Proposed Education Objectives by Subject Area – The outline is like a “game plan” for the coming school year and may be similar to a table of contents. It cannot be used in determining whether an appropriate education has taken place. This is an individualized home education program and is not required to follow the same curriculum order as the school district.
Objectives – In your affidavit you attest that you are including a list of Proposed Objectives. This is not a list of your curriculum or a copy of each book’s Table of Contents.
Proposed – We allll know that life happens. That’s why we use the word, “proposed”. Stay general and broad minded.
Objectives – What do I teach? How do I know what to teach? “At the elementary level, the following courses shall be taught: English, to include spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; science; geography; history of the United States and Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education; music; and art.”
“At the secondary level: English, to include language, literature, speech and composition; science; geography; social studies, to include civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra and geometry; art; music; physical education; health; and safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.”
Special Education – If a current IEP (signed by you since your child’s last birthday), your objectives need to be seen and approved (form below) by a teacher certified in Special Education. …as defined in section 1327.1, when the program addresses the specific needs of the exceptional student and is approved by a teacher with a valid certificate from the Commonwealth to teach special education or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist, and written notification of such approval is submitted with the notarized affidavit required under section 1327.1(b).
Every subject? Every year? – LEGALLY, you are only required to teach 1 subject every year. Find the regular and continuous instruction subject in the lists below. PERSONALLY, a quality home education environment will include a wide exposure to many subjects and a deep exposure to core skills.
Deep exposure to core skills? – Yes! Go deep in the basics of Math and English (all things related to reading (phonics, fluency, comprehension, literary analysis, vocabulary, etc) and writing (grammar, spelling, handwriting, composition, speech, narrations, etc) and much, much more. Daily practice. Regular introduction of new concepts. Constant growth.
Wide exposure to subjects? – Yes! Science, Social Studies, Health, and the Arts, can all be explored at a pace that enables the child to discover and discuss at his/her own pace or each family’s desire.
3. Immunization Record – The PA Department of Health requires a record for every child in PA regardless of school status. With your affidavit you are required to provide evidence that the child has been immunized. Submit a copy of the doctor’s chart of dates or a letter from your physician. OR submit a Letter of Exemption.
4. Medical and Dental Records – According to the PA Department of Health a schedule of examinations must be maintained as you attest to in your affidavit. Private information about your child does not need to be submitted to the school district, simply a notice that your child is under a physician’s care. Most districts accept the Affidavit as “evidence thereof”. A few districts choose this battle. Prayerfully discern if a one page response is appropriate, or wait until you receive certified mail requiring a response. At that point, either comply or consult with www.hslda.org.