How to Prepare an Affidavit in Less Than 10 Minutes

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The Pennsylvania homeschool law has a bad (but fair) reputation for being demanding and burdensome.

I agree that the PA homeschool law is an unnecessary nuisance and doesn’t add value to the quality of education of homeschooled students.  I also believe that the requirements can be met without worry if you keep things simple and straightforward.

To show you how quickly you can file the initial paperwork once you understand the requirements, I recorded a short video showing you how to prepare an affidavit to begin homeschooling legally in Pennsylvania.

Although the video is about 10 minutes long, commentary and a little explanation takes up more than half of that time.

If you’re just beginning to research homeschooling in Pennsylvania, I recommend the series of video tutorials I created to explain the law and guide parents step-by-step through the legal filing requirements, soup to nuts. You can purchase all 4 modules of the course or purchase each module individually.

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A New Video Tutorial To Guide You Through The PA Homeschool Law!

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PA homeschool law virtual workshop

 

I’m so excited to announce a totally unique way to understand all the legal filing and reporting requirements of the Pennsylvania Homeschool Law.

I created the PA Homeschool Law Virtual Workshop to help parents understand how to comply with the homeschool law and prepare all the necessary paperwork in about 90 minutes. In fact, by the time you complete Modules 1 and 2 (less than 40 minutes) you’ll be ready to file all the forms to commence a home education program in Pennsylvania.

You might be wondering why you would PAY for information that’s available for free on the internet, including on this site. That’s a good question.

The main reason is to save time. If you’re like most people trying to learn about the homeschool law, you’ve already spent more than 90 minutes reading the law and different websites to figure out what you have to do and when. Maybe you’ve emailed me questions or asked people on facebook where to begin.

If you started a thread on facebook, it likely will take you more than 90 minutes to read through and respond to all the answers and they aren’t necessarily consistent or accurate.

The course will answer those basic questions and give you confidence that you’re complying with the law.

Many people have read the ebook “Homeschooling in Pennsylvania: How to Comply With the Law in 8 Easy Steps“(Aff Link) and found it to be helpful. Others still find reading about the law dull and confusing. They just learn better by hearing and seeing.

The format of the video modules in the course is similar to the video I created below to help people understand the elements of an affidavit.

 

In addition to the video modules, the course includes supplemental materials (pdf) that you may print and file or just use as a reference when preparing your own forms.

The introductory price of $19.99 is for a limited time only. [THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED] Although the content of the course won’t likely change (unless the law changes), as people view the modules, I’ll likely edit the presentation to further clarify or explain certain points.

I also plan to create a stand-alone website to deliver this course and others. The site will give buyers access to portal to buy, sell and exchange used curriculum, access to distance evaluators who are committed to conducting inexpensive and efficient evaluations to help parents satisfy the legal obligation and access to a community of like-minded homeschooling parents in Pennsylvania who believe in complying with the law without over-complying.

Purchasing the course now will give you access to the course in the future even if the price goes up and with all the added benefits.

Here’s what people are saying about the course:

“Great and easy to understand!”~ E.S.
“Having you put it into ‘real’ words is such a relief and a huge timesaver….I’ve had a shift from feeling like I’m doing something crazy and I have to prove myself worthy to public school officials, to now feeling like this is a fully sensible thing to do and the laws that seemed overwhelming are actually asking for a few basic pieces of paperwork. Thanks!”~ B.C.
“I think you’ve done a great job presenting this often confusing information and I look forward to viewing the remainder of your workshop. Nice work!”~G.D.

I could go on and on but I won’t. You’ll never see the course priced this low again.

 

 

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Revised PA Homeschool Law Ebook Now Available !

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Homeschooling in Pennsylvania Revised and Updated Act 196 of 2014 cover

 

The revised and updated version of the ebook I wrote to help parents navigate the legal filing requirements of the Pennsylvania homeschool law is now available! You can get a pdf copy or download it at Amazon for your Kindle (or any device with the Kindle App).

The Pennsylvania homeschool law was amended in October 2014 to eliminate portfolio review by superintendents. Although only a few chapters of the ebook relate directly to the portfolio requirements, nearly every chapter made some reference to the practice. I also updated the Appendix to include the text of the law with the amendments.

Although the changes in the law and the publicity surrounding it CLEARLY ELIMINATED PORTFOLIO REVIEWS BY SUPERINTENDENTS, many parents are receiving letters from their school districts directing them to file portfolios. School district personnel should not be requesting or accepting portfolios.

It’s more important than ever for parents to be informed about the legal requirements since district personnel continue to be misinformed about the law.

The original ebook, published in 2013, has gotten great reviews and has been a helpful resource for many parents whether they’re considering homeschooling in Pennsylvania, new to homeschooling or have been at it for a while.

 

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Qualifications of An Evaluator Under PA Homeschool Law

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Minimum qualifications of an evaluator under PA homeschool law

 

Understand the Legal Qualifications for an Evaluator

The changes to the Pennsylvania homeschool law that were effective October 31, 2014 (Act 196 of 2014) eliminated the review of portfolios by superintendents but makes choosing a qualified evaluator more important than ever.

The law still requires the supervisor to file an affidavit and accompanying paperwork before commencement of the home education program. At the end of the school year,  the supervisor must prepare a log, compile samples of work and obtain scores from standardized tests in grades 3, 5 and 8, all of which must be compiled in a portfolio and reviewed by an evaluator no later than June 30.

 

Many parents worry if they don’t use an evaluator recommended or approved by the school district, the evaluation won’t be accepted.

As long as the evaluator meets the eligibility criteria under the homeschool law, a school district has no authority to reject or disapprove of an evaluation or the evaluator of the supervisor’s choice.

The superintendent MUST accept the evaluator’s certification that “an appropriate education has occurred”.

The homeschool law defines both the credentials and experience required by a qualified evaluator. In any case, an evaluation may not be conducted by the homeschooled student’s parent.

1. Who’s Qualified to Conduct an Evaluation?

A licensed clinical or school psychologist, a teacher certified by the state of Pennsylvania or a nonpublic school teacher or administrator may certify that “an appropriate education is occurring” after a review of the portfolio and an interview with the child.

The law provides an extra requirement for nonpublic school teachers and administrators by requiring at least two years of teaching experience in a Pennsylvania public or nonpublic school within the last 10 years.

2. What Experience is Required to Conduct an Evaluation?

The Pennsylvania homeschool law also specifies the experience required to conduct an evaluation for elementary (grades 1-6) and secondary (grades 7-12) levels. This applies to PA certified teachers, nonpublic school teachers and administrators

Elementary Evaluations

A teacher or administrator who evaluates a portfolio at the elementary level (grades kindergarten through six)* shall have at least two years of experience in grading any of the following subjects: English, to include spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; science; geography; history of the United States and Pennsylvania; and civics.

*(Although the exact language in this provision indicates “grades kindergarten through six”, the compulsory attendance age begins at age 8 in Pennsylvania, so most students will not need an evaluation until third grade).

Secondary Evaluations

A teacher or administrator who evaluates a portfolio at the secondary level (grades seven through twelve) shall have at least two years of experience in grading any of the following subjects: English, to include language, literature, speech, reading and composition; science, to include biology, chemistry and physics; geography; social studies, to include economics, civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; foreign language; and mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra, trigonometry, calculus and geometry.

The term “grading” as used in both clauses is also defined and means “evaluation of classwork, homework, quizzes, classwork-based tests and prepared tests related to classwork subject matter”.

3. Exceptions to the Professional Qualifications and Experience

Finally, the law allows a school district to approve persons with other qualifications to conduct an evaluation at the request of the supervisor. The special approval is completely at the discretion of the superintendent of the district of residence.

For example, many experienced homeschooling parents obtain special approval in a school district to provide evaluations for other families. A friend with experience teaching at the college level (full or part time) could qualify for special approval. A district might also accept a person who received teaching certification and experience outside of Pennsylvania.

This provision was drafted broadly enough to encompass a variety of persons, professional credentials and experience and special approval is worth requesting, especially if you’re having difficulty finding an evaluator.

4. Diplomas and the Twelfth Year Evaluator Under the New Law

The Amendments to the Pennsylvania home school law which went into effect on October 31, 2014 (Act 196 of 2014) gives a parent-issued diploma the same rights and privileges as a state-issued or school-issued diploma.

The parent must complete a form created by The Pennsylvania Department of Education (“Department”) which will be available on its website. The diploma form must be signed by an evaluator in the student’s twelfth year who is verifying the student’s suitability for graduation.

The twelfth year evaluator must meet the qualifications and experience required for secondary evaluators as described above but must also certify that the basic graduation requirements have been met.

“The following minimum courses in grades 9 through 12 are established as a minimum requirement for graduation in a home education program:

(1) Four years of English.

(2) Three years of mathematics.

(3) Three years of science.

(4) Three years of social studies.

(5) Two years of arts and humanities.

24 P.S. § 1327.1(d)

The courses to be taught during the secondary years include algebra and geometry. If algebra and/or geometry are covered before 9th grade, the student must still complete three years of mathematics between grades 9 and 12.

The courses to satisfy each of the requirements can be creative and vary from typical courses taught in high school. For example, physics, biology and chemistry are traditionally taught in high school and satisfy the science requirement but other science courses may be designed to accommodate the student’s interests or plans after high school.

Verifying a student’s suitability could be easier for an evaluator who has conducted the student’s evaluations throughout his home high school career but it isn’t required.

“Proof” of meeting the basic graduation requirements will vary widely and will often be dictated by the student’s plans after high school. For example, the course work for a student planning to attend college will likely be different than a student who plans to attend trade school or apprentice for his dad toward Master Plumber certification.

The law gives wide discretion to the supervisor to meet the graduation requirements (course selection, topics and manner/method of covering the chosen topic) and equally wide discretion to the evaluator to verify that the graduation requirements have been met.

The most important consideration is whether the parent and evaluator understand each other’s expectations and preparations before the evaluation takes place. If the parent disagrees with the form of proof that the evaluator might expect, he can find another evaluator. Likewise, the evaluator isn’t obligated to verify the student’s suitability for graduation if she’s dissatisfied with the transcript, materials or explanation provided by the parent.

5. Certified Diploma Programs

The new law also validates diplomas issued by a certified diploma program.

Since each organization has its own criteria for graduation and evaluations, I won’t discuss that here.

I hope this article clears up any questions you have regarding the qualifications and experience required for an evaluator under Pennsylvania homeschool law.

If your evaluator doesn’t already have a form, click the button below to download a simple form that you can submit to the superintendent after the evaluator has completed it.

Send Me An Evaluator Form

 

 

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The Benefits of Homeschooling During the Holidays

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Homeschooling during the holidays in Pennsylvania #holidaycards #photocards #arts

For the nearly 10 years that my children were homeschooled, family and friends were skeptical about our practice of ditching the formal books (except math) from Spaghetti Wednesday (night before Thanksgiving) through the new year. If you’re new to homeschooling, that idea might also horrify you, especially if you recently withdrew your child from traditional school and are in the “school at home” mindset.

Holiday preparations and traditions present limitless opportunities to learn organically in a way that’s effective, relatable, efficient and memorable. There are Christmas around the world displays, excellent books, music, traditions, baking, service and charitable opportunities, you name it. I call it 3-D learning and it beats a textbook any day.

One of the most obvious “schoolish” activities is preparing and sending holiday cards. Actually, had I enlisted the help of the children in this annual chore, I might not have abandoned it when they became reluctant to pose for the Christmas photo. I admit, their rebellion, coincided with my desire to simplify the holidays. As a result, I haven’t sent cards for a couple of years. I miss it and still love receiving greetings for the people who haven’t put me on the naughty list.

Most children are more computer-savvy than adults and my children would have been more than capable of managing the entire operation had I thought of it.

In spite of the fact that my children now attend public, cyber and charter schools, I’m considering reviving the holiday card. I have to admit that I’m slightly intimidated by the quality of the photos that I get but if I can wrangle these children, I think I’ll do it.

Did you know that this Sunday is the busiest holiday card shopping day of the year? I had no idea, so I guess I’m not too late to take advantage of a great offer from Tiny Prints.

For 24 hours only, it’s offering 40% off an order of ANY size plus get free shipping!

I recently ordered personalized stationery from Tiny Prints for myself and the girls (shhh, don’t tell them) and I’m really happy with it. I’m also planning on ordering some photo gifts for my aunt and the grandparents.

If you haven’t designed your holiday cards yet, here’s how to take advantage of this offer:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and select from hundreds of holiday cards.

2. Personalize your card with your pictures, your text, etc.

3. When you checkout, use the promo code TPCARDS40FS to save 40% and get free shipping.

This promotion is only valid from 12:00pm PT on Saturday 12/6 to 12:00pm PT on Sunday 12/7, so act fast!

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It helps defray the cost of running this website which is dedicated to informing parents about the PA homeschool law. Thank you.
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It’s Official! Major Change in PA Homeschool Law!

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New homeschool law in PA for #portfolios #evaluations #pahomeschoollaw

On Friday, October 31, 2014, Governor Corbett signed HB 1013, which took effect immediately.

New Law Eliminates Portfolio Review by Superintendent

The new law, Act 196 of 2014, eliminates the requirement of a portfolio review by superintendents (or any school personnel), gives parent-issued diplomas the same status as a Commonwealth-issued diploma and requires more accountability by a superintendent who questions whether an appropriate education is occurring.

Under the prior law, a portfolio, consisting of a log, samples of work and results of standardized tests in grades 3, 5 and 8, was reviewed by a qualified evaluator during an interview with the student. After the evaluation, the supervisor was then required to submit the portfolio, including the evaluator’s certification of an appropriate education, to the superintendent no later than June 30.

Supervisor Should Not Submit Portfolio Materials to School District

Under the new homeschool law, supervisors are only required to submit the certification by an evaluator that an appropriate education is occurring. The supervisor should not submit (and school district personnel have no authority to request or collect) a log, samples of work or results of standardized tests. Those materials will only be reviewed by the evaluator during the student interview and will be the basis of the certification of an appropriate education. The superintendent must accept the certification.

Superintendent Must Specify Basis That Appropriate Education Not Occurring

If, at any time during the school year, the superintendent has a reasonable belief that an appropriate education is not taking place, he or she must send a certified letter, return receipt requested, to the supervisor which specifies the basis for a reasonable belief, requesting an evaluation. A certification by an evaluator that an appropriate education is occurring must be submitted within 30 days. The superintendent must accept the certification by the evaluator.

Parent-Issued Diploma Equal to State-Issued Diploma

Finally, a diploma issued by the supervisor (parent) after successful completion of a home education program carries the same rights and privileges as a Commonwealth-issued diploma.

A form will be created by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and made available on its website. The form should be signed by the student’s twelfth grade evaluator.

This eliminates the previous requirement for a superintendent’s signature certifying successful completion of a home education program in order to receive certain grants and aid for higher education.

Expect Your School District to Be Unaware of the Changes

Finally, it’s worth noting that school administrators are notoriously misinformed about the requirements of the homeschool law. Do not be surprised and don’t panic if you receive a request for portfolio materials (log, samples and test scores). As always, the best way to combat inappropriate and extra legal requests by uninformed school district personnel is to read and understand the law yourself. You can read the final print version of the bill here.

I strongly urge you NOT to comply with such a request (even though you have prepared those materials for your evaluator). The new law ONLY requires a certification by your evaluator that an appropriate education has taken place.

“Appropriate education” is defined in the statute as follows: “A program consisting of instruction in the required subjects for the time required in this act and in which the student demonstrates sustained progress in the overall program.” That’s it.

I urge you to find an evaluator who adheres to the definition of “appropriate education” when reviewing your student’s work.

If you’re interested in a free, simple form letter that your evaluator may use to certify that an appropriate education has occurred,

Click Here

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