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Introduction

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.

  1. 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."
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

  1. "Department" was defined as the Department of Education of the Commonwealth.
  2. It added the provision of a high school diploma awarded by a supervisor or by an approved diploma-granting organization, subject to certain requirements.
  3. The school district's responsibility and authority for reviewing the portfolio was removed.
  4. The processes for confirming or questioning whether an appropriate education was occurring were modified.
  5. A process was added for questioning any other issue of noncompliance of the home education program.
  6. It added the court of common pleas to the appeal process.
  7. It provided that a home education program could continue during the time of any appeal.
  8. 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.

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 (a notarized affidavit or unsworn declaration and evidence of medical/dental exams and immunization) is submitted.

Sample Affidavits and Unsworn Declarations

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).

The sample affidavits and unsworn declarations are available on the Home Education and Private Tutoring homepage and at the bottom of the Home Education Program BEC.

Standardized Tests

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)). This list is available in the Home Education Program Basic Education Circular (BEC).

Students with Disabilities

There are additional requirements for homeschooling students who have been identified with a disability per the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 108-446, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.). These are found in the Student with a Disability section. Provision of special education services to home school students is at the discretion of the district.

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.