There are numerous educational options available to Pennsylvania (PA) parents, including public schools, private schools, private tutoring, and home education programs.
Public schooling options are free of cost to families, including the traditional public school district, charter schools, cyber charter schools, and career and technical schools. Many school districts offer distance education that may include both online and in-person classroom experience.
Another public school option is a charter school authorized by the local school district). Whereas most public schools serve students within a specific district or region, PDE-approved cyber charter school, which is a free online public school that provides everything your child needs to complete their education from home. CharterSchools/CyberCharterListing.
There are many private school options, including schools related to religious institutions. These do not include online or correspondence courses, but rather are actual "brick-and-mortar" buildings where students obtain in-person instruction. Although not all of these schools are licensed, they are recognized by the Commonwealth.
Private and Non-Public Schools
Private tutoring is another option for satisfying compulsory school attendance requirements. For families interested in hiring a private tutor (PA certified teacher) rather than having parent-directed education for their children, we include a section in this guide on
Private Tutoring Programs, along with the related laws and regulations.
A parent or guardian may act as a private tutor for their own children if they are a PA-certified teacher. Background checks and other regulations apply.
Privately tutored students may obtain a
Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma by passing a high school equivalency test or completing 30 college level credits from a United States accredited postsecondary institution.
More information regarding Commonwealth Secondary School diplomas.
Home Education Programs
Home education programs (also known as homeschooling) are programs where the education of the student is directed by the parent or guardian or such person having legal custody of the child or children.
- The supervisor of the home education program must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Examples include a diploma awarded by a home education supervisor after October 31, 2014; a diploma awarded by an approved diploma-granting organization (Act 196 of 2014); or a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma awarded by PDE based on passing a high school equivalency test (i.e., GED® or HiSET®) or completing 30 college level credits from a United States accredited postsecondary institution (22 Pa. Code §4.72).
- All adults living in the home and persons having legal custody of a child or children must not have been convicted of the criminal offenses itemized in
24 P.S. §1-111 (e) within five years immediately preceding the date of the affidavit.
Visit the Home Education Program section for an overview.