Homeschooling in Pennsylvania
Saturday, 15 June 2019

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When I first started homeschooling in Pennsylvania, no one had anything good to say about our state homeschool laws; everyone talked about how hard it was! At first, I was really discouraged because we had just moved here. How was I going to handle all that they required? A portfolio? Evaluation? HELP!! It seemed like so much work just to prove to the state that I was giving my children an appropriate education. First of all, the portfolio isn't as scary as it seems. Actually, it can be quite fun, and my children enjoy looking back through it. You are required to show the child’s progress throughout the year in each subject. I love that BJU Press Homeschool Distance Learning gives you everything you need. Let me walk you through some of what is required.

PA requires a notarized affidavit, a list of educational objectives, and reporting when the child is 6 years old.

Before beginning your homeschool journey in PA, you must submit a notarized affidavit to your local school district. After your first year of homeschooling, this must be submitted by August 1 to continue to legally homeschool. You must also submit a list of objectives. Objectives are simply an overview of what your student will be covering that year.

BJU Press teacher’s editions are excellent resources for your objectives. They give you exactly what the child will learn over the course of the year. There is no need for you to have to go page by page through the student book to figure this out. It’s all there for you in the teacher's editions.

PA requires 180 days of education.

PA requires you to teach for 180 days or 900 hours for elementary level, and 180 days or 990 hours at the secondary level. There are no specifications on how many days each subject needs to be taught, or that the teaching must take place in a dedicated space, so Co-op days and Field Trips can be counted as a day of school! PA does have a list of subjects that are required for each level, as well.

BJU Press Homeschool Curriculum is set up to provide 180 days, and includes test days, lab days, and workdays in various subjects, providing time for the student to complete writing assignments, reading, or completing labs. Health is written within the scope and sequence of the science curriculum.

PA requires a daily log.

Your portfolio requires a log of books used in your home education. You can create a schedule and put in what textbooks were used what day, or you can create a log for each book used throughout the year.

The BJU Press Homeschool video courses include a listing of what your child does every day. This makes the requirement of a daily log simple. You can use the daily log in your portfolio, or if you like to do subjects at different paces, then you can write down what they did in a calendar. I love that the preparation of every day of lessons is all written down for me. I never have to spend much time thinking about what we are going to do.

PA requires the portfolio to have student work samples.

Your portfolio will include samples of work throughout the year to show progress in each subject, as well as a record of your 180 days of education, your standardized test results for the year, and your log.

BJU Press Homeschool provides tests and quizzes as well as amazing worktexts. With all of this work, you will have plenty of material to fill a portfolio of work samples. Of course, I always provide something fun from the year as well. Stories the child has written, drawings, photos of projects we have done, etc.... There are endless possibilities for a portfolio. Just remember that this is a "sample of the work." Don't overload your portfolio with everything from the year. If you want to keep everything, do it in a different spot. The evaluator needs to see a sampling of the entire year; they will not have time to look through your whole year.

PA requires standardized testing in grades 3, 5, and 8.

The standardized test must be nationally normed, and a parent or guardian is not allowed to be the test administrator. The results of the standardized test must be included in the portfolio submitted to the evaluator. Upon completion of the evaluation, your evaluator will give you a certification that your student is receiving an education and showing continued progress. A copy of this certification must be turned in to your school district by June 30th.

BJU provides several approved options for testing, and they even have a great online testing service available.

PA requires 180 days of education.

Every year you must turn in your portfolio to a qualified evaluator. The evaluation is supposed to be based on a review of the materials, an interview of the student, and verification that you have met all state requirements and are providing an appropriate education.

Homeschooling PA Mom, this looks like a lot required by our state. I know. I was where you are now thinking, "How am I going to do this? I have several children." BJU really makes the job so much easier. I am able to homeschool 6 children and keep all the records straight. I don't spend hours of time putting the portfolio together. My children and I put it together throughout the year, and they enjoy seeing how much they have learned. We love BJU because of the organization provided to us.

You can find more information regarding how to legally homeschool in PA on the HSLDA website here:

Those of us who live in Pennsylvania have huge advantages that others do not. We live in a state with a lot of our nation’s history. The field trip options are endless. You can see the Liberty Bell, Coal Mining, Steam Trains, Civil War museums and battlefields, Lincoln Train Museum, Gettysburg, Hershey Chocolate Factory, Crayola Factory, Zoos, State Parks galore, and so many other possibilities. Even though we have several things required of us, I feel like we have been given great hands-on opportunities for our children to learn what they have been taught.

PA Homeschool Mom, you can do it!! God has given us a great responsibility in teaching our children. BJU is an excellent curriculum and gives you what you need to confidently teach your child, whether you choose distance learning video courses or parent-led materials. You are in control of the schedule and how you present the material provided. Don't look at these PA requirements as a hardship. Look at them with a new perspective and let BJU Press Homeschool curriculum help you through!

Meet the Author

Melissa Vosburgh - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant