As it comes close to the end of July, there are homeschoolers across Pennsylvania that already have homeschool days in for the year. The Pennsylvania homeschool year can begin on July first, as long as you have your affidavit and other paperwork handed into the school district.
Note above, that I said ‘handed in’ and NOT ‘approved’. The school district superintendent does not need to approve your plan. You may begin counting days as soon as you have handed in your required paperwork. I do always, however, recommend obtaining a receipt that you did hand that paperwork in. This was the first year that my school district superintendents secretary didn’t shake her head when I handed her my own receipt for her to sign. I always make sure that I have specifically listed each and every document that I have handed in and have a signature to show evidence of doing that should anything turn up missing later.
As you begin the new homeschool year, I urge you to review the law. KNOW the law yourself. Do not depend on others to know it for you. One would hope that you have good resources around you – other homeschool moms/dads, homeschool co-op members, and your evaluator – but do NOT depend on these people to know everything there is to know. Sometimes they have it wrong. Sometimes an entire community has it wrong. So read it yourself and find a truly reliable source that really will know that law inside and out so you aren’t overlooking a necessary component to following the law AND so that you aren’t doing something totally unnecessary.
As a case in point: When I moved to a new community 6 years ago, I was surprised that everyone around me seemed to be studying Pennsylvania history each and every year. This confused me and I double checked. No, Pennsylvania history is not a requirement every year. It simply needs to be covered at some point during the elementary years and again, at some point, during the secondary years. This is true of all of the subjects. None of them NEED to be covered each and every year except for the regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires. Nor do you have to do school subjects on days you have field trips because, no, you do not have to work on all of your subjects every day. However, somehow a lot of people in this community had been given a different impression. Even some evaluators were under that impression…so… please be sure to double check everything you are told for yourself.
For further information regarding the law, please see my previous posts: Pennsylvania Homeschool Law , Pennsylvania Homeschool Law #2, Homeschooling in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Homeschool Graduation Requirements.
So while your homeschool parent friends, co-op leaders and evaluators are usually wonderful sources for curriculum information, sharing ideas, emotional support and yes, even knowledge of the law, double check that information – especially about the law. Do not ASSUME what they say to be true really is.
When I double check the law, the people I always go to as my number one source are the Pennsylvania representatives of HSLDA. HSLDA representatives have always been able to answer my questions, big and small, within a 48 hour time period- usually much quicker. While I understand the cost of being a member can be expensive for some families, I see it as a very worthwhile insurance policy if you are able to afford it. Their website itself offers a ton of information that I can always be sure of the legal accuracy of the information.
What is your favorite source to KNOW THE LAW?
If you have questions about the Pennsylvania homeschool law – or other questions about homeschooling in general, let me know. I’m always looking for subjects to write about!