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Since a list of objectives must be filed with the notarized affidavit, I typically prepare it before the affidavit since it can be simple and straightforward.

Objectives PA homeschool lawThe law simply requires “an outline of proposed education objectives by subject area.” It is important to note two things. 1) Your list of objectives may not be rejected by the superintendent. Also, it does not need to be “approved” by school personnel; 2) The list of objectives may not be used by the superintendent when reviewing the portfolio at the end of the year to determine whether the home education program is out of compliance with the law. These two caveats render the objectives legally useless (really, what’s the point?) but the form can serve as a basic planning tool for parents to set some general goals in the beginning of the year and measure accomplishments at the end. Also, it’s required, so no use complaining, right?.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education acknowledges that every subject does not need to be taught every year. As long as each subject in the list of subjects required is covered once during the elementary level and likewise for the list of required subjects for the secondary level. In reality, most home education programs naturally cover all the subjects. For example, a biography about Rachel Carson could very naturally include the subjects of science, history/PA history, art (if the child sketched or studied some of her art), geography, English (if the child narrated or wrote about her life). Further, if you think about high school, most programs of study don’t include all the subjects every year. It wouldn’t be possible. Just be aware that colleges will be interested in the course of study and most likely the content of those courses. Even though all subjects are not required every year, I would include a general bullet point under every subject since most school administrators are unaware of this fact. You’ll just avoid an unnecessary hassle by listing each subject.

It is completely up to you to decide how detailed or general you want your list of objectives to be. I prefer very general objectives. I attach one form for all children in elementary level (3-6) and one for all children at the secondary level (7-12). My district has accepted this method. The law does not require duplicating objectives or preparing one for each child since one affidavit can list all children in the home education program. This method is appropriate if you keep the list of objectives very general.

The subjects required at the elementary school level include:

    1. English, to include spelling, reading and writing;

    2. arithmetic;

    3. science;

    4. geography;

    5. history of the United States and Pennsylvania;

    6. civics;

    7. safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires;

    8. health and physiology; physical education;

    9. music and art.

The subjects required at the secondary level are as follows:

    1. English, to include language, literature, speech and composition;

    2. science;

    3. geography;

    4. social studies, to include civics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania;

    5. mathematics, to include general mathematics, algebra and geometry;

    6. art and music;

    7. physical education;

    8. health;

    9. safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires.

Such courses of study may include, at the discretion of the supervisor of the home education program, economics; biology; chemistry; foreign languages; trigonometry; or other age-appropriate courses as contained in Chapter 5 (Curriculum Requirements) of the State Board of Education.

For a sample of the Educational Objectives that I have used for both elementary and secondary students, click on the “Forms” tab above. While the law only requires at least one objective per subject, I list more for my own use as a guideline. Whatever method you prefer is fine. Feel free to print and attach my form as is or use it as a guide to prepare your own.

Since it’s general, I file the same list of objectives every year.  You’ll notice that I condense subjects like music and art; health, safety and physical education and list history, PA history and civics under the general heading “Social Studies”. As long as you identify each subject as listed in the statute, your objectives will satisfy the legal requirement.

Please don’t stress about this requirement. If you have any questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact me by clicking on the “contact” tab on the top navigation bar.

Written by BethPhillips