The following information is meant to provide a basic overview of home education programs (commonly referred to as “Home Schooling”) for parents. For detailed information about home education program requirements and guidelines, and rights, please visit the PA Department of Education’s Home Education and refer to PDEs Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide.
The decision for parents/guardians to have a home education program is a right, as long as the required documentation is submitted with the notarized affidavit. The district’s approval is not required. Once the required documentation is submitted, the school district may not deny the right to homeschool unless a proper hearing has found the home education program to be out of compliance (PA Department of Education).
Beginning the Program:
- The Affidavit – A notarized affidavit must be submitted to the district superintendent in order to initiate the home education program. The Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide outlines the components that must be included in the affidavit. The South Western School District has developed an elementary and secondary affidavit that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page, or parents may develop/utilize their own form so long as it has the required components and is notarized. Initial affidavits when beginning a home education program may be submitted at any time during the school year, but all subsequent affidavits are due by August 01 on an annual basis.
- Immunization and Health/Medical Records – PA law requires that homeschooled students comply with the requirement to submit evidence of immunization and health records. This can be done by one of three ways: (1) Submitting the actual records to the school district; (2) Submitting a letter from the doctor stating that the legal requirements have been fulfilled or there exists a medical condition that prevents immunization; or (3) Submitting a letter stating that you have a religious objection to either immunization and/or medical examinations.
- Outline of Proposed Education Objectives by Subject Area – Home education supervisors (parent/guardian) must submit an outline each year that provides a list of topics, by subject area, that will be covered. The outline should serve as the “game plan” for the school year. The outline cannot be used to determine whether an appropriate education has taken place. The home education program is not required to follow the same curriculum as the school district.
Tracking the Home Education Program:
- Portfolio – Portfolios are required of homeschooled students in order to document that compulsory attendance laws are observed and that the student has made sustained progress in the overall home education program.
Closing Out a Home Education Program:
- Evaluation – A written evaluation by a qualified evaluator (evaluators must hold a PA teaching certificate). The written evaluation must be submitted to the Superintendent of Schools by June 30 of each year. The evaluation consists of a portfolio review and interview with the student.
Private tutoring is an option for parents as well. Private tutoring involves parents hiring a private tutor who is a PA certified teacher to oversee their child’s educational program. For specific information about the difference between Home-Schooling and Private Tutoring, see PDEs Home Education and Private Tutoring Guide.
Curriculum: Parents have a right to borrow copies of the school district’s planned courses, as well as instructional materials such as textbooks.
Extracurricular Activities: Homeschooled students who are district residents may participate in the school district’s extracurricular activities as long as they meet the eligibility requirements or its equivalent. Homeschooled students participating in district extracurricular activities are subject to the same rules, regulations, and policies governing the activity.
Additional Requirement for Special Education Students: For any students identified as being in need of special education services (not including those identified as gifted), the home education program must address the specific needs of the student and be approved by a teacher with a valid PA special education teaching certificate or a licensed clinical or certified school psychologist.
Information on this page obtained from the PA Department of Education.