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Homeschooling Question - PA

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We are looking at a possible move to PA next summer - I was looking at their homeschooling laws and HOLY COW!!! I am freaking a bit. They are way more strict than WA - here I just have to submit a declaration to the school district and have my kids tested annually (but I don't have to turn the test into anyone, they are for my own record and to assist the school district should I ever decided to place my child in school) We are "required" to teach 11 subjects but I don't have to provide verification, curriculum, learning goals, proof, or anything of the sort to anyone.

We will likely only live in PA a year, maybe 2. What is the easiest way to satisfy state law? What exactly do you turn into your school district? Does it vary from district to district? I read about church schools - that seems simplest are they easy to find? Anybody use online homeschooling programs (not public schools online, but an private homeschooling support program) Does that meet law requirements? Please just share how you interface with your local school district. We will be moving to Carlisle if that helps anyone.

post #2 of 16
It's a lot less complicated than it looks. It shouldn't vary from district to district-- the law is the law-- but I've noticed that PA school districts are somewhat notorious for trying to make you do more than the law requires.

I highly recommend the site askpauline.com. She walks you through the absolute minimum of what the law requires. She even has forms you can print off and just sign.

I know nothing of private homeschooling programs, but I am fairly certain that you, yourself, would still need to do all the stuff required bu law.
post #3 of 16
You could do Clonlara for a year. Then you wouldn't have to do anything because your kids would legally be private school students, not homeschoolers.

I know nothing about Pennsylvania, but that was my plan when I considered moving to a high-regulation state.
post #4 of 16
I don't know too much about homeschooling regulations in PA, but I work for a charter school year.

There seem to be a lot of homeschooling groups around, so I'm sure you'll be able to find support.

If you didn't want to go through the trouble of developing your own curriculum (however, this may be something your really want to do), there are Cyber Charter Schools in PA, they give you the curriculum over the internet and you help your child do the work. This might be an option for you.

Best of luck. I find it incredibly admirable that you home school. I would love to do this for my little one on the way, if we could swing it financially.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Annettemarie - THANK YOU so much for that link - that is what I needed!!!
post #6 of 16
Oh good! I've only been at this for 6 years, but I'd be more than happy to try to answer any questions you might have. Best of luck to you!
post #7 of 16
AskPauline rocks. I have been hs'ing in PA for nine years and I still double check things there.

The reporting is a lot of work and a serious PITA but there are lots of yahoogroups where we touch base on what different districts are doing and how to deal with it. Cyber-charters are an option and lots use them but it wouldn't be my cup of tea. If you have been to AskPauline, you'll know that registration in any other on-line school (like Clonlara) is not acceptable to satisfy the law and you'll be truant.
post #8 of 16
Another homeschooler in PA, here. Unschooler, actually.

This is just our first year reporting but it isn't so bad. It helped to know we would be homeschooling for a few years before needing to report so I could absorb the stuff slowly. ITA with everyone that AskPauline rocks.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much - we are waiting on military orders so I am sure if they come through I will have a bunch more questions. I asked dh if the kids and I could move to another state before the end of the year so we could avoid the end of year reporting I am seriously not happy about that!!
post #10 of 16
Some great answers here. I don't know how old your kids are, but it may help that the compulsory schooling age (and therefore earliest reporting age) is 8. Good luck!
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by lavieenrose View Post
Some great answers here. I don't know how old your kids are, but it may help that the compulsory schooling age (and therefore earliest reporting age) is 8. Good luck!
Unless your child has already completed/been enrolled in Kindergarten, first, or second. They make it all so complicated. Sigh.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
2 of my kids are over 8 - none has ever been enrolled in school in PA or any other state - PA needs a serious overhaul of their homeschool laws!
post #13 of 16
I'm assuming you're moving to the barracks...I live in Carlisle too. If you need any help, I can hook you up with the local homeschooling group. I was homeschooled, and now I work with a group of homeschoolers.

My best advice is to keep everything!
post #14 of 16
BTW, have you checked out PA Dept. of Ed.'s website?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks musicalm - we are moving to Carlisle. I am also already on a local yahoo list so have been watching their postings and activities for a few months now. I am not too worried about networking once we get there, just the letter of the law.

I have started on my objectives for next year already and am making sure that I have all the medical/dental requirements met before we move - June and July are going to be hectic so I am trying to have my beginning of the year packet ready before the move.

Here is a question for you all....I see the deadline for the packet is August 1st. If I have mine submitted by Aug 1st and everything gets approved - can I count everything we did in July as school? I don't think we are going to spend a tremendous amount of time doing school during the move but I have a habit of turning sight seeing into learning opportunities and I do keep reading work and math drill going year round. Would love to bank a few hours if I can.
post #16 of 16
I'm fairly certain you can only start counting days from the date the affidavit is filed, so if you want to count July you technically need to file it at the beginning of July. That said, I once didn't get mine filed til August but counted July and no one said anything.

Don't stress out about objectives-- I've used the same ones every single year and they're the vaguest ones in the universe and no one has every said boo.

Again, definitely check out askpauline.com. The law looks really complicated, but she breaks it down to the absolute bare minimum. There seems to be two schools of thought here in PA. One, which you'll see on PAHomeschoolers, seems to be "give them more than they ask for to show them how great you are!". Another-- which I personally espouse-- is "give them exactly what the law requires and no more, and then go have fun homeschooling and don't stress the details!"
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