Home Education Programs

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) understands that the mandated closure of Pennsylvania schools due to the COVID-19 response effort may be causing some uncertainty for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, particularly for families that elect to homeschool their children.

Home Education Programs (also known as homeschooling) are programs where the education of a student is directed by a parent, guardian or legal custodian ("homeschool supervisor"), as provided by Section 1327.1 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949, rather than a school entity. Additional guidance is available in the Home Education Program Basic Education Circular on PDE's website.

Below are questions and answers related to the impact of the COVID-19 response effort on homeschool programs and students for the 2019-20 school year. PDE will update this page with additional guidance as needed.

Page last updated: 11:30 am on April 24, 2020

Are homeschooled students required to complete standardized assessments of the parents' choice in grades 3, 5, and 8 given that statewide assessments were waived for public schools? 

The requirement for standardized assessments for homeschooled students is waived for the 2019-20 school year.

Will the homeschool supervisor still be required to submit the annual homeschool evaluation by June 30, 2020?

Homeschool supervisors will not be required to submit homeschool evaluation reports for the 2019-20 school year.

The home education law requires 180 days of instruction. Because this requirement is waived for public schools, is it also waived for students participating in a home education program?

The 180 days of instruction requirement has been waived for homeschooled students.  Homeschool supervisors are strongly encouraged to provide as much instruction as possible before the end of the school year (June 30, 2020).

If a parent/guardian chooses to homeschool a student during COVID-19 school closures, what is the process for submitting the homeschool affidavit?

There is no change in the process to start a home education program. The homeschool supervisor must submit the notarized affidavit and other required documents to the school district before starting a home school program.

If there is an intention to continue to homeschool, the homeschool supervisor must complete a new affidavit for each student for the 2020-21 school year by no later than August 1, 2020. 

How would a parent/guardian who decides to homeschool a student fulfills the requirement of submitting a notarized affidavit during a statewide "stay at home" order or due to lack of access to notaries?

Parents should contact the district of residence to determine the best approach to fulfill this requirement.

To assist with the lack of access to notaries, temporary remote notarization has been authorized for all Pennsylvania notaries public, pursuant to Act 15 of 2020 (S.B. 841).

Should a homeschool supervisor keep a portfolio for the student for the 2019-20 school year?

Yes. A portfolio is the record of a student's progress and achievement. A homeschool supervisor is required to maintain a portfolio of records and materials for the 2019-20 school year pursuant to 24 P.S. § 1327.1(e)(1). However, Act 13 of 2020 waived the requirement to administer and maintain the results of, a nationally normed standardized achievement test or statewide test under 24 P.S. § 1327.1(e)(1) for the 2019-20 school year.

Should the student ever enroll in public school, the school district has the right to place the student in the grade level and courses that the school district deems appropriate.  The portfolio could be shown as evidence of the student's progress which could be helpful in placement decisions. 

Should a homeschool evaluator notate in the 2020-21 school year evaluation submitted to the school district that there was no evaluation in the 2019-20 school year?

Act 13 of 2020 waived the evaluations required under 24 P.S. § 1327.1(e)(2) for all students in a home education program during the 2019-20 school year.

Should the evaluator review the work completed in the 2019-20 school year and notate the progress in the 2020-21 school year evaluation?

A homeschool evaluator is not required to review the work completed during the 2019-20 school year when conducting an evaluation in the 2020-21 school year. However, when submitting the evaluation for the 2020-21 school year, a homeschool evaluator may choose to review 2019-20 school year work as part of certifying that an appropriate education is occurring during the 2020-21 school year.