Homeschooling In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a big, beautiful state with hills, valleys, forests, cities, fields, small towns, tourist attractions, farms, and rural getaways all mixed in. Our homeschoolers are no different!
You will meet traditional-at-home schoolers, online homeschoolers, on-your-own homeschoolers, co-op homeschoolers, unschoolers…the flavors of homeschooler are endless. We have support groups, enrichment co-ops, academic co-ops, a mix-of-enrichment-and-academic co-ops, and accredited co-ops. There are online groups, in person once-a-week groups, once-a-month groups, bi-weekly groups, field trip groups, you name it. Our homeschooling options are as varied as the chocolate candies that Hershey makes.
Activities In Pennsylvania?
Why would you homeschool in Pennsylvania? It is part of the cradle of the beginning of our wonderful country, the United States of America! There is so much history in Pennsylvania. You could spend your child’s entire schooling career and not see all there is to see in this amazing state.
There is Revolutionary history in Philadelphia, Civil War history in Gettysburg, Steel industry history in Pittsburgh. Also, there are art museums, historical museums, military museums, hands-on museums, living history museums, science museums – a never ending supply of field trips lies within the borders of this state. Many libraries have family passes that you can check out so you can attend museums for free.
If museums aren’t your thing, how about parks? State parks abound, and many have programs for your student to attend for free! And musical theater, oh my! Central Pennsylvania boasts amazing theater – Sight and Sound, Dutch Apple Theater, Fulton Opera House, and American Music Theater to name a few, not to mention the many excellent homeschooling drama clubs that put on amazing shows each year.
“Ok, you got me! I’m in! How do I get started?” Getting started with homeschooling in Pennsylvania does require some paperwork, but it’s not as daunting as it may seem. Once you get the ball rolling, keeping your finger on the requirements is pretty easy.
Basically, Pennsylvanians do two things to begin homeschooling: First, file an affidavit and objectives with the local school district in which you live, and second keep up with your normal medical and dental care of your children. Information on affidavits and objectives is right on the front page of homeschoolpennsylvania.org under the PA Homeschool Law section. If that doesn’t answer your questions, simply go to chaponline.com and select Contact to fill out our contact form for help.
Once you’ve filed your affidavit, you are all set! As mentioned earlier, the learning opportunities are endless. CHAP hosts a curriculum and speaker convention every year – our next one is June 12 & 13, 2020. You can pick and choose different curriculums or buy an all-in-one set to help you get your feet wet. A simple internet search will open the doors for you to search for and find curriculum.
Support groups and co-ops are helpful to give children – and moms – the connections with others that we desire to have. In Pennsylvania, children are to log 180 days of learning for one school year. Keeping a little calendar with check marks is a handy way to keep track of those days. Also keep a book list, or log, of all the books and online resources you use throughout the year. This will be helpful to the evaluator at the end of the year.
Evaluator? What’s that? It is a person who is certified to teach in the state of Pennsylvania or a licensed clinical or school psychologist. Each homeschooler who is of the compulsory age (currently 8, possibly changing to 6 in the 2020-21 school year) needs to be evaluated near the end of the school year. This person will then write an evaluation for you that you hand in to your school district at the end of the school year. Please check out the PA Homeschool Law section at homeschoolpennsylvania.org for more information.
Sounds like a lot, I know. Getting started is always a little bit bumpy, but as you ask around to other local homeschoolers and read through the above mentioned websites, you can get all those holes filled in and get the ball rolling.
As far as what is required to teach my student? You can also find these requirements on homeschoolpennsylvania.org. The Pennsylvania homeschool law is very general, just listing basic topics to cover, not specific courses (such as biology). One is free to cover topics in a variety of ways that were mentioned earlier – at home, online, at co-op or at a college as a dual enrolled student. There is great flexibility in the homeschool law. Read it and become familiar with it so you are comfortable with it. Educate yourself so you can feel prepared.
CHAP, the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania, is here to support Pennsylvanians – and our neighbors – in their homeschooling journeys. Our desire is to equip, connects, encourage, and protect homeschoolers. CHAP has your back with helpful information and forms for getting started on your homeschool journey.
The keys to homeschooling in the Keystone state can be found on our websites: homeschoolpennsylvania.org and chaponline.com. Also, you don’t want to miss all the topical help in our Chattin’ with CHAP live video series on Facebook.
Utilize and enjoy your right to homeschool in the Keystone State! There will be no greater adventure for both you and your children. Embrace the freedom and love the growth!
Enjoy reading this series, but want to explore a new state? Here is the full Homeschooling in All 50 State series.
Ginger Wayde is a child of God on a wild ride with her husband of 20 years, Steve. She and Steve have six children ranging in age from 17 to 4. She has been homeschooling for 13 years, learning and growing through every minute of it. When not homeschooling and keeping the house in functional order, Ginger can be heard voice acting or giving announcements at church, co-leading the local homeschool co-op, making live informational homeschooling videos for CHAP, the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania, serving on CHAP’s board, or coaching fastpitch softball for her girls. She’s crazy about Jesus, loves her country, and wouldn’t change a minute of her homeschooling experience.