There are hyperlinks throughout this
Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide, making it most effectively viewed electronically. Updates to the guide will be made periodically, as need arises.
History of Homeschooling and Private Tutoring in Pennsylvania
In 1988, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 169. This law amended the Pennsylvania School Code in a number of ways.
24 P.S. § 13-1327(a) was modified to add private tutoring as an educational option for complying with compulsory attendance and defined a "properly qualified private tutor."
24 P.S. § 13-1327(d) was added to allow home education programs as an educational option for complying with compulsory attendance. It also required pre-approval of the program for special education students (with the exception of gifted students).
24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 was added to specify the home education program requirements and responsibilities of the parents/legal guardians and of the school district in the family's school district of residence, as added in
24 P.S. § 13-1327(d).
In 2005, Act 67 added a provision as
24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (f.1) to give homeschooled students the right to participate in extracurricular activities in their school district of residence.
Act 196 of 2014 amended
24 P.S. §13-1327.1 in regard to a number of provisions.
- "Department" was defined as the Department of Education of the Commonwealth.
- It added the provision of a high school diploma awarded by a supervisor or by an approved diploma-granting organization, subject to certain requirements.
- The school district's responsibility and authority for reviewing the portfolio was removed.
- The processes for confirming or questioning whether an appropriate education was occurring were modified.
- A process was added for questioning any other issue of noncompliance of the home education program.
- It added the court of common pleas to the appeal process.
- It provided that a home education program could continue during the time of any appeal.
- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect Federal or State law relating to special education for students with disabilities in home education programs.
Act 55 of 2022 amended
24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 regarding enrollment and participation in classes, cocurricular activities and career and technical education (CTE) programs, effective the 2023-24 school year.
- All school districts must have policies and procedures that allow home school students in the district to participate, on the basis as other students enrolled in the district, in the following:
To take advantage in these opportunities, the home education student must:
- Cocurricular activities that merges extracurricular activities with a required academic course, including but not limited to band and orchestra;
- CTE programs; and
- Academic courses equaling up to at least 25% of the school day for full-time students in the district.
Credits taken by dual enrollment count toward mandatory course completion and graduation requirements in the home education program. The School Board may adopt additional policies to implement participation of home education students in cocurricular activities, academic courses, and CTE programs. A school district or CTC may establish policies that prioritize participation in courses or programs with limited seating and enrollment.
- Meet the same eligibility participation criteria and prerequisites (or the equivalent) that apply to full-time district students; and
- Comply with all policies, rules and regulations or their equivalent of the school district.
Homeschooling and Private Tutoring are Rights
The decision to have a home education program (22 Pa. Code § 11.31a) or a private tutoring program (22 Pa. Code § 11.31(b)(1)) is a right; school district permission is not needed to commence either program, as long as the required documentation is submitted.
Standardized Tests and Sample Affidavits/Unsworn Declarations
Standardized tests are required of homeschooled children in grades three, five, and eight without exception. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) provides a list of nationally normed standardized tests, per the law, which may be used by those who do not wish to take advantage of the free PSSA testing at their district schools (24 P.S. § 13-1327.1 (e)(1)).
PDE provides sample affidavits and unsworn declarations, which may be used by the supervisor of the home education program for children at the elementary school level (kindergarten through sixth grade) or at the secondary school level (seventh through twelfth grade). Both documents are similar in function and in content; however, the affidavit requires notarization while the unsworn declaration does not. For more information on the differences between each document, please refer to page 21 of this guide. Throughout this guide, both documents will be referred to as "affidavit" or "affidavits."
The sample affidavits are available on PDE website under
Home Education and Private Tutoring and at the bottom of the Home Education Program BEC.
Students with Disabilities
There are additional requirements for homeschooling students who have been identified per the federal
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 108-446, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.) as needing special education services. These are found in the
Student with a Disability section of this document.
Home School Student Diplomas
Some organizations apply to PDE for recognition, using the
Home Education Association Application for Recognition, so that they may evaluate portfolios and issue home education high school diplomas that are recognized by the state. A link to these organizations can be found under the
Applications heading on the
Home Education and Private Tutoring homepage.
Additionally, Act 196 of 2014 provides a process for supervisor-issued high school diplomas to be recognized by the state. The diploma can be downloaded from the same page.
Laws and Regulations
All laws and regulations referenced in this Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide are available online via the hyperlinks.