By Howard and Susan Richman - PHAA

Page created by Bradley Hale
PA Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency
   105 Richman LN, Kittanning, PA 16201

                              By Howard and Susan Richman
                                          Updated July 2019
                                     copyright Howard & Susan Richman

A warm thank you to Barb Snider for the use of her objectives, and to all the homeschoolers whose work is
featured in the section on portfolios. The picture on the cover is by Molly Richman.
Table     of Contents
                                                                 Table of Contents
     How the Law Came to Be                                      Introduction............................................................... 3
    “The President of the Senate said, ‘Sen. Loeper moves        1. Filing Your Affidavit............................................. 4
that the Senate will concur on the amendments placed by          1.1 Who Must File...................................................... 4
the House in Senate Bill 154. On the motion ... the Clerk        1.2 How to File............................................................ 4
will call the roll.’                                             Affidavit form ............................................................. 5
    Clerk: Afflerbach.
                                                                 2. Resources for Writing Objectives ...................... 7
    Sen. Afflerbach: Aye.
    President: Are there negative votes? Are there negative      2.1 Susan Richman’s Objectives............................... 7
votes on the motion to concur with the House amendments?         2.2 Barb Snider’s Objectives ..................................... 7
The clerk will now proceed with the roll call. ... The vote of   2.3 Another Set of Objectives .................................... 8
concurrence is ayes 49, nays 0, the majority having voted        2.4 High School English Goals................................... 9
in the affirmative. The amendments are concurred with and        2.5 Distance Courses, Co-ops, Private Teachers....... 9
the House shall certify.                                         2.6 Internet Sources .................................................. 9
    Gallery [seats up in a balcony which look down on the        3. Extra Requirement for Handicapped Children.10
senate floor]: One second pause, and then applause. It took
                                                                 3.1 Sample Approval Letter ..................................... 10
us a second to realize what had just happened.
    Sen. Loeper: We have with us a group of Parent Educators     4. Keeping a Portfolio ............................................ 11
of Pennsylvania, parent educators from all across Pennsyl-       4.1 Daily Log ............................................................ 11
vania. We have sixty plus in the gallery, and we’d like to       4.2 Portfolio Album ................................................... 12
welcome you to the gallery, and we’re glad you enjoyed your
legislative success.                                             5. Testing ................................................................ 17
    At this point the homeschoolers who were filling the         5.1 Testing Options .................................................. 17
gallery stood up and applauded. The senators, several at         5.2 Sources for Private Testing ................................ 17
first, and then all of them, stood facing the gallery, and ap-   5.3 PSSA Testing ..................................................... 17
plauded us.                                                      6. Evaluations
    A few minutes later Don Wolf, a reporter, told Bob Fin-      6.1 Qualifications of Evaluators ............................... 18
ley, ‘I have covered the capitol for a long time, but I have
                                                                 6.2 Choosing an Evaluator ...................................... 18
never before seen the senators give a standing ovation to
the gallery!’”                                                   6.3 Evaluation Procedures ....................................... 19
               -From “Story of a Bill”, by Howard Richman        6.4 Evaluator’s Roles ............................................... 19
                                                                 6.5 The Written Evaluation ....................................... 19
    And so our homeschooling law finally passed in the Sen-      Sample contract between parent & evaluator........... 20
ate in October 1988, after four and a half strenuous years of    7. Graduation .......................................................... 21
lobbying-- years begun with the premature hopes that our         7.1 Getting a Diploma.............................................. 21
legislative effort would be quick and simple.                    7.2 Parent-Issued Diploma ..................................... 21
    Before the law passed, Pennsylvania prosecuted more
                                                                 7.3 Organization Diploma ....................................... 21
homeschoolers than any other state. School district super-
intendents decided whether or not to allow homeschooling         7.4 PHAA Diploma ................................................. 21
in their school districts, and many did not.                     8. Taking Part in Extracurriculars ......................... 22
    After 1988, prosecution of homeschoolers almost com-         8.1 Public School Sports and Activities.................... 22
pletely stopped. Homeschoolers set their own objectives,         8.2 Homeschool Extra-Curriculars .......................... 22
kept portfolios, and arranged for end of year evaluations
of their programs, often by former-teachers who were also        9. Legal Procedures ............................................... 23
homeschooling parents. Superintendents could challenge the       9.1 What You Do When You Move........................... 23
evaluators’ determinations, but rarely did.                      9.2 The June 30 Deadline ....................................... 23
    In November 2005, Senate Bill 361 gave homeschool-           9.3 Mid-Year Evaluation Requests ......................... 23
ers access to public school sports and other extra-curricular    9.4 Due Process Hearings & Appeals .................... 23
activities on the same basis as public school sttudents.         9.5 Child Dependency Prosecutitions .................... 23
    In October 2014, House Bill 1013 removed the power
of the school superintendents to challenge the evaluators’       10. Health Services Requirements........................ 24
determinations and recognized diplomas awarded by par-           10.1 Checkups at School.......................................... 24
ents, while continuing to recognize the diplomas awarded         10.2 Doing It Yourself ............................................... 24
by homeschool diploma organizations.                             10.3 Religious Exemption ........................................ 24
    The homeschool law has changed over time, but it has         11. Using Requirements to Gain Perspective...... 25
remained a law in which parents can homeschool so long as
a teacher or former teacher agrees that they are giving their    12. Text of PA Home Education Law..................... 26
children an appropriate education.                               PHAA Conference................................................... 29
    Under Pennsylvania’s homeschooling law, Act 169 of              homeschoolers can find these free publications.
1988, any parent who has a high school diploma or a GED,                Help from Dept. of Education. If your school district is
and who has not been convicted of a heinous crime within            trying to invent requirements which are not in the law, you can
the last five years, can teach their own children at home. The      contact Suzanne Tallman at the PA Department of Educa-
purpose of this guide is to take you through the steps of the       tion (email: or call: 717-
homeschooling law so that you can successfully comply with          214-8212). Sometimes the PDE will suggest that you go along
it. Each chapter begins with the relevant portion of the law.       with the school district, if they think the matter is trivial. More
    File Your Affidavit. Your first step: to file a notarized af-   often they will have you ask your school district to call them
fidavit with your local school district. Information about how      so that they can explain the law to the your district. The PDE
to file that affidavit is included in Chapter 1. You must attach    staff has been working with homeschooling issues for many
a list of the objectives to your affidavit. Chapter 2 is full of    years and is very knowledgeable and helpful.
resources which may help you to write your own objectives.              Any Questions? Parents are welcome to post questions
Parents of handicapped children must attach a letter from a         to the homeschooling community on the public message board
special education teacher or a psychologist. Chapter 3 has          at
information on this extra requirement.
    Keeping a Portfolio. Once you have sent in your affida-             Changes as of November 2014
vit, you must start keeping a portfolio which shows that each           House Bill 1013 made several changes in the home-
child is receiving an “appropriate education.” In other words,          school law, as reflected in this guide:
it needs to show that each child is being taught the required           1. You no longer turn in your portfolio to your
subjects for the required time and is making sustained prog-
                                                                        school district. Instead, by June 30 you just turn in
ress in the overall program. Information about ways to keep a
                                                                        the evaluation letter written by your evaluator.
portfolio is included in Chapter 4. If you have a child who is
in the 3rd, 5th, or 8th grade, you will have to arrange for him         2. You no longer turn in your test scores. If you test-
or her to take a standardized achievement test administered             ed your children, your test scores go into your portfo-
by someone other than his or her parent. Your child’s scores            lio which is not turned in to your superintendent, just
for the standardized achievement test would be included in              to your evaluator.
your portfolio. See Chapter 5 for information about your                3. Expanded evaluator responsibilities. The evalua-
testing options.                                                        tor can be held responsible if a judge later finds that
    Evaluations. At the end of the year (and very occasionally          you did not give your child an appropriate education
during the year) you must get a non-public school teacher, a            or it comes out in court that you did not test, keep a
Pennsylvania certified teacher, or a licensed psychologist of           log, or keep a portfolio.
your choice to certify that an appropriate education is taking          4. You and your evaluator can give a recognized di-
place for each child in your home education program. This
                                                                        ploma. If your student meets the requirements of the
teacher or psychologist will review the portfolio, interview
                                                                        home education law, you and your evaluator can give
your child, and then write a written evaluation which certifies
that an appropriate education is taking place for the child. To         your student a diploma on a form to be made available
find out more about evaluations, go to Chapter 6.                       on the PA Department of Education’s website. That di-
    Other Procedures. Are you moving from one school                    ploma will be recognized for state scholarship grants
district to another in Pennsylvania? Did you get a letter from          for higher education and other legal purposes.
your school district requesting your documentation midyear?             5. Homeschool Diploma Organizations are More
Did your school district write you a letter saying that you             Secure. Homeschool organization diplomas, once
were not giving your children an appropriate education? If              recognized only by policy, are now recognized by
so, see Chapter 7.                                                      law. These organizations will continue to award rec-
    Health Services. Homeschooled children must receive the             ognized diplomas, maintain standards, keep records,
same health checkups as are required for children in public             mail transcripts, and verify graduation.
and private schools. See Chapter 8 for a complete listing.
                                                                        6. School Superintendent investigation can go no
    Online Guide. Free copies of this guide are available for
                                                                        further than evaluator. If a school superintendent
free download from PHAA ( While you
are there, you might want to also download our free 32 page             has a reason to believe that you are not giving your
Guide to PA Home­schoolers Diploma to find out about our                child an education, his or her investigation can go no
standards and requirements. If you have an organization or              further than your evaluator.
a newsletter, you may want to link to our site so that other
1. Filing Your Affidavit
     A notarized affidavit of the parent or        a brief note from the parent noting that an               or ethical conviction similar to a
guardian or other person having legal cus-         8 year old who is filed as a third grader has             religious belief.
tody of the child or children, filed prior to      already completed 2nd grade work at home.           If your child is deemed to have a medical
the commencement of the home education                   3. Objectives. Make a list of objectives      problem which may contraindicate immuni-
program and annually thereafter on August 1        for each child by subject area. Be sure to in-      zation, get a physician to write a note saying
with the superintendent of the school district     clude at least one objective for each required      that immunization might be detrimental to
of residence and which sets forth: the name        subject. Your list of objectives may not be         the health of your child, and attach that note
of the supervisor of the home education pro-       rejected by the school district so long as you      to your affidavit.
gram who shall be responsible for the provi-       list at least one objective for each required             5. Medical Checkups. You have sworn
sion of instruction; the name and age of each      subject. Attach the list with a staple or a paper   in your affidavit that a Comprehensive Health
child who shall participate in the home edu-       clip to the notarized affidavit. See Chapter 2      Record is being kept for your child. This
cation program; the address and telephone          for help with writing your objectives.              means that either you or a school nurse has a
number of the home education program site;               4. Immunizations. Each time you file an       file folder where the health records (for the re-
that such subjects as required by law are          affidavit, you must attach evidence that your
offered in the English language, including                                                             quirements described in Chapter 8) are kept.
                                                   child has been immunized against:                         In addition, many school superinten-
an outline of proposed education objectives
by subject area; evidence that the child has       • chickenpox (2 doses)                              dents interpret the language of the law to
been immunized in accordance with the pro-         • diphtheria, tetanus & pertussis (4 doses)         mean that you need to attach evidence to your
visions of section 1303(a) and has received        • hepatitis B (3 doses)                             affidavit that you have been complying with
the health and medical services required for       • measles, mumps and rubella (2 doses)              the health and medical services requirements.
students of the child’s age or grade level in      • polio (4 doses)                                   This may one day be tested in court. In order
Article XIV; and that the home education           Also, additional vaccines are required for          to avoid a problem we recommend that you
program shall comply with the provisions of        entry into 7th grade:                               attach to your affidavit receipts from dentists
this section and that the notarized affidavit                                                          or doctors, filled-in copies of the medical or
shall be satis­factory evidence thereof.... The    • tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis                 dental forms included in Chapter 8, or even
affidavit shall contain a certification to be      • meningococcal vaccine                             a note saying that you have scheduled an
signed by the supervisor that the supervisor,      Also for entry into 12th grade, students need       appointment with a doctor, dentist, or school
all adults living in the home and persons          another dose of meningococcal vaccine. (A           nurse. The PA Department of Education has
having legal custody of a child or children        dose received at 16 years of age or older will      confirmed that districts do have the right to
in a home education program have not been          count as the 12th grade dose.)                      see this sort of evidence, although HSLDA
convicted of the criminal offenses enumer-               [Note: if your child has had chicken pox,     contests this.
ated in subsection (e) of section 111 within       you do not have to vaccinate for chicken pox              6. Optional. Attach a written request
five years immediately preceding the date of                                                           that the school district lend you text books,
the affidavit. — Act 169 of 1988                   if you include a statement that your child has
                                                   already had the disease.]                           planned courses, and/or other materials.
      The day after you file your affidavit you          Title 28 section 23.82 of the Pennsylva-      Then, call the school district and set up an
can begin homeschooling legally in Penn-           nia Code describes a number of alternative          appointment where you could pick up those
sylvania. You can file your first affidavit at     ways to present immunization records:               materials. The school districts must lend
any time, but after that you must file a new             Any written document showing the              you materials if you request them. Since the
affidavit each year by August 1.                         date of immunization — that is,               school districts are lending you materials,
      Most people send their affidavits to the           baby book, Health Passport, family            not giving them to you, you must return them
local superintendent by certified mail. The              Bible, other states official immu-            when you are done with them. This means
return receipt from the post office proves               nization documents, International             that they do not have to give you paper, work-
that the superintendent received the affidavit.          Health Certificate, immigration               books, or other consumable materials which
Other people take the affidavit to the school            records, physician record, school             you would not return. Very few districts will
district and get a receipt in person from the            health records, and other similar             have any extra teacher guide materials to
school superintendent’s secretary.                       documents or history.                         lend, as they only purchase enough for their
                                                                                                       own teachers.
            1.1 Who Must File                      For example, the Private Physician’s Report               7. Handicapped Children. Parents
    You do not need to file an affidavit for any   form included at the end of Chapter 8 could         whose children have been classified as handi-
child who has not yet reached the compulsory       be attached.                                        capped (special education other than gifted)
attendance age. In Pennsylvania, this means              Some parents whose children have              must include a letter with their affidavit from
that you do not have to file for children who      already been in school will attach a note:          a special education teacher or a psychologist.
are under 8 (this age changes to 6 starting        “Immunization records were presented to the         See details in Chapter 3.
with the 2020-2021 school year) unless that        XYZ School District when the child attended               If you want your handicapped child to
child has already attended school in first         Kindergarten at ABC Elementary School.”             participate in a school’s special education
grade or above, or you have filed for the child    People who have already filed one home              program, attach a written request that your
in the past. (Kindergarten does not count as       education affidavit with the school district        child be permitted to participate in the school
school attendance.)                                will sometimes attach a note: “Immunization         district’s or local intermediate unit’s special
     There is one exception to the age of eight.   records were presented with the initial home        education program. If you and the school
If you live in Philadelphia County, you have       education affidavit filed in 1997.”                 district or intermediate unit can work it out,
to begin to file when the child turns 6.                 If you do not believe in immunizations,       your child can participate at a public school
              1.2 How to File                      just simply attach a statement in writing           or a private school licensed to provide special
     1. Notarize Affidavit. Fill out the af-       signed by you, the parent or guardian, saying       education services.
fidavit form and get it notarized. You can         that you object to such immunization. Title               9. Send by Certified Mail. Mail the af-
photocopy and fill out the two page affidavit      28 section 23.84 of the Pennsylvania Code           fidavit to the school district by certified mail
form included on the next pages.                   specifies this religious exemption:                 return receipt requested. You probably won’t
     2. Recommended but not Required.                    Children need not be immunized                hear anything back from the school district.
Include the children’s grade level on the part           if the parent, guardian, or emanci-           Your receipt from the post office is evidence
of the form that requires the child’s name               pated child objects in writing to the         that they received it.
and age if you are indeed sure of their grade            immunization on religious grounds                   10. Keep a Copy. Make a photocopy of
level. Some districts may appreciate at least            or on the basis of a strong moral             everything to keep for your records.

The compulsory education section of the Pennsylvania school code states:

It is the policy of the Commonwealth to preserve the primary right of the parent or parents, or
person or persons in loco parentis to a child, to choose the education and training for such child.

           						                                         ) SS:
COUNTY OF _____________________)

Before me the undersigned notary public, this day personally appeared

_______________________________, being first duly sworn on oath, deposes and says:

I attest that I am a parent or guardian or other person having legal custody of the child or children
listed below, that I am responsible for the provision of instruction in his/her/their home education
program in which the following courses are offered in the English language for a minimum of one
hundred eighty (180) days of instruction or a minimum of nine hundred (900) hours of instruction
at the elementary school level or nine hundred ninety (990) hours of instruction at the secondary
school level, and that the home education program is otherwise in compliance with the provisions
of the Public School Code:

At the ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL the following courses shall be taught: English, to include
spelling, reading, and writing; arithmetic; science; geography; history of the United States and
Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers
and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education; music; and art.

At the SECONDARY SCHOOL LEVEL the following courses shall be taught: English, to include
language, literature, speech and composition; science; geography; social studies, to include civ-
ics, world history, history of the United States and Pennsylvania; mathematics, to include general
mathematics, algebra, and geometry; art; music; physical education; health; and safety educa-
tion, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires. Other
courses may be included at the discretion of the supervisor.

I also attest that each child in the home education program has received the health and medical
services required by Article XIV of the Public School Code and that a comprehensive health record
is being maintained for each child. I also attest that I have a high school diploma or its equivalent,
and that all adults living in the home and persons having legal custody of a child or children in
the home education program have not been convicted, within five years immediately preceding
the date of the affidavit, of the criminal offenses enumerated in subsection (E) of section 111 of
the school code. These offenses relate to criminal homicide, aggravated assault, kidnapping,
unlawful restraint, rape, statutory rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault,
indecent exposure, concealing a death of child born out of wedlock, endangering welfare of chil-
dren, dealing in infant children, corruption of minors, and sexual abuse of children. They also
include felony offenses relating to prostitution and related offenses, and felony offenses relating
to obscene and other sexual materials.
Attached is:

1. An outline of proposed education objectives by subject area.

2. Evidence that each child has been immunized or has a religious or medical exemption from

3. Evidence of supervisor’s graduation from High School or College or attainment of a General
Equivalency Diploma (GED).

4. If a child in the home education program has been identified pursuant to the provisions of the
education of the handicapped act as needing special education services, excluding those stu-
dents identified as gifted or talented, then also attached is written notification of approval from a
Pennsylvania-certified special education teacher, or a licensed clinical psychologist, or a certified
school psychologist that this program addresses the specific needs of the student.

Name of Supervisor of Home Education Program _______________________________________

Address of Home Education Program Site ____________________________________________

City _______________________ State _______ Zip ___________ County __________________

Phone Number of Home Education Program Site ___________________________________

Name and Age of Each Child who shall Participate in the Program:


                                       Signature ______________________________________

Subscribed and sworn before me this day _________________________date


                                Notary Public
                                                          File with Superintendent
                                                          School District of Residence
                                                          prior to commencement of the
                                                          Home Education Program and
                                                          annually thereafter on August 1st.
2. Resources for Writing Objectives
                                                 pecially the Stanley Steamer. So the written      area chosen, with a goal being to share his
    [The affidavit includes] an outline of
                                                 objective was, “Christian will increase his       project at a spring History and Science Fair
proposed education objectives by subject
                                                 knowledge of American history, particularly       for Homeschoolers. It is our educational
area. . . . The required outline of proposed
                                                 the period during which the Stanley Steamer       philosophy that these themes should not
education objectives shall not be utilized
                                                 was popular.” This objective allowed              be discreet “packages” of knowledge,
by the superintendent in determining if the
                                                 the family to plan activities like reading        completed and then forgotten, but instead
home education program is out of compli-
                                                 books about the Stanley brothers and about        should be readily related one to another,
ance with this section and section 1327. —
                                                 Theodore Roosevelt and to take advantage          seeing the common links throughout his-
Act 169 of 1988
                                                 of events like a TV biography of Theodore         tory, the overlap of one area with another.
                                                 Roosevelt and a local museum fair that just           PHYSICAL EDUCATION
     When you file your notarized affidavit,
                                                 happened to include a 1915 Stanley Steamer.           —Jesse will continue to take part in
you must attach a list of objectives that you
                                                      Some parents do not list specific texts or   regular daily physical activity aimed at de-
plan to meet over the year. Your list must
                                                 source materials with their objectives—that       veloping aerobic health, adequate muscular
be arranged by subject area. Your affidavit
                                                 will come after the fact in your portfolio.       strength, and flexibility. Our emphasis is
cannot be rejected because of perceived
                                                 Objectives can be written in a broad and          on introducing Jesse to lifelong healthful
inadequacies as long as you have covered
                                                 general enough way to encompass many              activities that people of many ages can
every subject. In other words, you are not
                                                 possible materials.                               take part in.
seeking approval of your particular pro-
                                                      The remainder of this section includes           MUSIC
gram, but rather letting officials know that
                                                 lists of objectives that you might want to            —Jesse will continue to sing with our
you do indeed have plans and directions.
                                                 adapt when you put together your own ob-          family regularly, especially focusing on the
Many parents would want to include goal
                                                 jectives. Don’t feel that you have to reinvent    music of our folk heritage. Whenever pos-
statements about their religious beliefs as
                                                 the educational wheel here; feel free to bor-     sible, songs and music from a time period
they affect particular subject areas, and this
                                                 row when appropriate.                             studied in Social Studies will be listened
is certainly fine, although not required. The
local superintendent cannot try in any way          2.1 Susan Richman’s Objectives                 to and learned, again striving for unity and
to make you exclude religious education.             If you write your objectives in a broad       interdisciplinary work. Jesse will continue
     The sample affidavit included at the        enough way, they will give you the flexibil-      to improve his voice quality and ability
end of Chapter 1 lists the required subject      ity to jump wholeheartedly into unplanned         to sing with good intonation and pitch. A
areas for elementary students (grades 1          projects during the year. Here are a sampling     special emphasis will be on continuing to
through 6) and secondary students (grades        of some of the more flexible objectives that      learn to sing rounds in a large group setting,
7 through 12). It is clear from the practice     Susan included in her list of objectives for      with possible performance possibilities.
of secondary schools that not all subjects are   our son Jesse in various years:                       2.2 Barb Snider’s Objectives
expected every year. For example, algebra            MATH                                              Here are the sixth grade educational
is usually taught one year while geometry            —Jesse will use problem solving math-         objectives written and submitted by home-
is taught another. Since only three years of     ematics skills in daily life applications —       schooler Barb Snider with her affidavit for
mathematics is required for graduation from      when building, estimating distance, using         her daughter Rebecca.
a home education program, it is clear that       money, counting and classifying, map
mathematics only need be taught for three        reading, solving “found” word problems in             ENGLISH, to include spelling reading
of the four high school years. Elementary        newspaper articles, using calculator when         and writing
schools usually teach each required subject      helping at our sales table at conferences, etc.       —Literature based sustained silent
every year, except for PA History which is           ENGLISH                                       reading program—at least 45 minutes daily.
customarily taught in the 4th grade. Parents         —Jesse will focus on an author of choice          —Read aloud to preschoolers.
who use a correspondence school curricu-         and read several works by that author, com-           —Reading from a variety of fiction,
lum with elementary school students will         paring how the works are similar or differ-       nonfiction, history, mythology, folk tales,
often have to supplement the “scope and          ent, how the author changed his approach or       biography, mystery, poetry, plays.
sequence” with objectives for art, music,        developed a consistent style.                         —Improve spelling skills through the
physical education, Pennsylvania history,            GEOGRAPHY                                     use of a spelling list and correction of spell-
fire safety, or other areas which are required       —Jesse will continue to utilize map read-     ing errors made.
by Pennsylvania law, but not provided in the     ing when we are on family trips, demonstrat-          —Improve reference and study skills.
curriculum.                                      ing use of scale, highway codes, direction,           —Learn about the resources and uses
     Some parents get objectives directly        and understanding of how land formations          of the library.
from the materials that they plan to use.        dictate where roadways can be located.                —Improve grammar skills using Learn-
They take chapter titles, and turn them into         SOCIAL STUDIES                                ing Grammar Through Writing.
objectives and study topics.                         —Jesse will be involved in choosing               —Sustained silent writing program—
     Some parents negotiate the written          a series of independent study topics in the       journals, letters, poems, essays, reports, etc.
objectives with their children so that the ob-   Social Studies this year, developing his re-          —Learn to correct her own writing us-
jectives become goals that the children will     search skills and question-raising abilities.     ing Learning Grammar Through Writing.
work toward. For example, when Tom and           Jesse will continue to read and listen to             —Improve grammar skills through
Madalene Murphy wanted to study Ameri-           biographies, historical fiction,, and history/    textbooks, tapes and games.
can history with their son Christian, they       geography books and magazines relating                ARITHMETIC
asked him what parts of American history         to chosen Social Studies themes. Jesse will           —Improve her ability to manipulate
he wanted to concentrate on. Christian was       help to choose the area of focused study.         whole numbers through addition.
fascinated by automobiles and machines, es-      He will help plan projects relating to the
—Improve her ability to use decimals         histories and historical fiction.                 choir participation.
and fractions.                                       —To stimulate her thinking abilities, we          ART
    —Improve her ability to solve word           will use discussion, research and reading to          —Improve her knowledge of art history
problems.                                        compare and contrast different historical fig-    by reading histories of the arts, biographies
    —Improve her ability to understand and       ures, their times, cultures and circumstances     of artists, placement of trends in art on the
use mathematical relationships.                  to come to a better understanding of their        time line mentioned in the section on his-
    —Improve her ability to solve money          place and impact on history.                      tory, and discussions with parents and other
problems.                                            —Learn to use specific history, civics        resource persons.
    —Improve her measurement skills and          and geography texts as needed.                        —Improve her ability to use various
her ability to solve problems involving              —Using field trips, she will be encour-       art mediums such as pen and ink, pencil,
measurements.                                    aged to appreciate and understand the people      watercolor, acrylics, etc.
    —Improve her graph reading ability.          and geography of our country.                         —Learn to appreciate and critique art by
    —Develop her ability to understand and           SAFETY EDUCATION (including                   picture studies, field trips to art museums,
use scale measurements.                          regular and continuous instruction in the         reading and participating in discussions with
    —Continue to use math in practical ap-       dangers and prevention of fires)                  parents and other resource persons.
plications such as the kitchen, the garden,          —Become knowledgeable about bicycle               —Discover and learn crafts of her choos-
the grocery store, traveling, etc.               safety.                                           ing to include bookbinding and others.
    SCIENCE                                          —Become acquainted with and knowl-                —Discover the effect of culture on art
    —To increase her knowledge of the            edgeable about emergency and first aid            and the effect of art on culture through the
scientific process.                              procedures.                                       study of art pieces and reading.
    —To encourage science experimentation            —Become more knowledgeable about                  —Develop a facility with calligraphy.
and child directed learning.                     stranger safety.                                      2.3 Another Set of Objectives
    —To turn everyday experiences into               —Practice escape routes from our home             Here are the second grade educational
science lessons (such as dissecting a non-       in the event of fire.                             objectives written and submitted by another
poisonous snake that found its way into a            —Learn about fire prevention.                 homeschooling family for their son.
local greenhouse).                                   —Become more knowledgeable about                  SPELLING
    —To encourage reading about science          procedures in the event of a fire in the home,        —Begin to write words by their phonetic
and scientists in a wide field of interest.      on her person, on a friend.                       compositions, word families, and common
    —To encourage a love and respect for             —Become more knowledgeable about              spelling patterns.
nature and an understanding of natural           street and traffic safety.                            —Begin to write sight words from
processes.                                           HEALTH AND PHYSIOLOGY                         memory.
    —To increase knowledge of nature                 —Increase her knowledge of the human              READING
through the use of guide books and resource      body and its systems.                                 —Read easy readers.
persons.                                             —Improve her understanding of per-                —Listen to fine literature on a variety
    —To learn the use of science textbooks       sonal hygiene, what it is, why it is necessary.   of topics.
and other resources when needed.                     —Improve her understanding of dental              —Discuss author’s voice, style differ-
    GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY, CIVICS                   hygiene, what it is and why it is necessary.      ences among different authors, tone, plot
    —To develop a concept of history as a            —Learn about health maintenance.              structure, characterization, use of language,
continuum, through the use of a time line            —Increase her knowledge of good nutri-        and our reactions and responses to the piece
notebook used from year to year, learning        tion and other areas affecting good health.       of literature.
about world history, United States history,          PHYSICAL EDUCATION                                —Beginning use of reference materials.
and Pennsylvania history.                            —Continue to encourage gross and fine         and listen to quality informational readings.
    —To develop an appreciation of Penn-         motor skill development.                          Begin learning to use digital skills to gather
sylvania’s heritage through the understand-          —Begin to develop an interest in, and         information.
ing of Pennsylvania history and geography.       facility with activities that will serve to             WRITING
This will necessarily include the use of         provide opportunities to be physically and            —Refine manuscript writing.
books, magazines, maps, local resource per-      aerobically fit through her adult life.               —Capitalization and punctuation.
sons, the library, travel, and other resources       —Become acquainted with various team              —Compose letters and stories.
as we discover them.                             sports including the rules to play by, good           —Keep a journal.
    —Continue to develop her interest in         sportsmanship, and skills necessary to par-           ARITHMETIC
all kinds of history through the use of read-    ticipate in the sports.                               —Addition and subtraction facts.
ing materials on World, United States, and           —Continue to develop her ability with             —Place value through hundreds.
Pennsylvania history and maps of the World,      various individual activities such as bike            —Introduction to multiplication.
United States, and Pennsylvania.                 riding, running, gymnastics, jumping, etc.            —Telling time.
    —Continue to develop her interest in             MUSIC                                             —Use of calendar.
Pennsylvania and United States history               —Continue with Suzuki piano lessons.              —Count by twos, fives and tens.
through field trips.                                 —Continue to become acquainted with               —Handling of money (coins).
    —Continue to develop her map and             music history.                                        —One-step problem solving.
globe use skills, especially of the United           —Increase her music appreciation by               —Introduction to metric measurement.
States, Pennsylvania, the Far East, Franklin     listening to classical, baroque, opera, folk,         —Identifying and creating geometric
County and local cities and towns.               and hymn music.                                   shapes.
    —Further develop her interest in history         —Increase her appreciation of music by            —Logic.
and acquaint her with those of import in his-    attending concerts and visiting musicians.            SCIENCE
tory. She will read a variety of biographies,        —Develop her singing ability through              —Small animals of North America.
—How plants grow and get food.            in church and in concerts.                                 2.6 Internet Sources
    —Pollination.                                 —Learn songs of worship.                          Another good place to find written objec-
    —Basic food groups and nutrition.             ART                                          tives that might be useful is on the Internet.
    —Dinosaurs and origins.                       —Use of various media for creative vi-       Check out the following sites for suggestions
    —Native plants of Pennsylvania and        sual expression including plasticine, various    from various organizations:
their uses.                                   paints, magic markers, pencils, cloth, wood, This is the PA
    —Prominent names in science.              oil pastels, mosaics, glue, crayons.             Dept of Education website, which you can
    —Bees.                                        —Attend art lessons at local museum.         search to find the Academic Standards for
    GEOGRAPHY                                     —Observe and discuss prominent art           PA public school students. Interestingly
    —Map making of the neighborhood.          works exhibited at the local museum.             enough, at every grade level it is strongly
    —Communities in other lands.                  —Picture book observations.                  recommended that students read at least 25
    —Personal, live observations of city,         —Art of historic cultures (Egyptian,         books, just what is required for the PHAA
country, beach, mountains.                    American Indian).                                diploma program!
    HISTORY                                       —Clean up and respect of materials.               Within the PA Dept of Ed website, you
    —Civil War.                                   2.4 High School English Goals                can also access the Assessment Anchors
    —Valley Forge during the American              Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accredi-         that have been developed to guide the PSSA
Revolution.                                   tation Agency (PHAA) has requirements            (Pennsylvania System of School Assess-
    —Bio’s of prominent individuals.          for a high school English course which go        ment) testing program. To find these, first
    —Bible.                                   beyond the requirements of the home educa-       ‘google’ pssa testing pennsylvania and
    —American Indians.                        tion law. Those pursuing our diploma option      choose the PDE site from the choices-- then
    —Pioneers.                                may want to include these requirements in        scroll down to ‘Assessment Anchors’. These
    —Pilgrims to the New World.               their listed objectives:                         are currently available for mathematics,
    —Ancient Egypt.                               —Read 25 books or a literature anthol-       reading, and science. These have objectives
    CIVICS                                    ogy and 15 books.                                as well as sample test items related to those
    —Follow current events on a national          —Read at least 3 classics.                   objectives. Especially useful for those fami-
and state level.                                  —Write at least 4 compositions.              lies opting to take part in the PSSA testing
    —Holidays and festivals.                      —Write a composition that is at least        program.
    —Patriotism.                              2500 words long (approx. 10 pages).                   For the high school level, some families
    —What people do (jobs).                       —Keep rough drafts of compositions           may be interested in using goals set by the
    —Prayer for self, others, government      which show that punctuation, usage, and/         new Keystone Exam program from the
leaders.                                      or grammatical errors were corrected in          PDE “Standards Aligned System.” This
    —Apply the Golden Rule.                   the process of writing these compositions        program of state-developed high school
    SAFETY ED. AND FIRE SAFETY                or work through over 1/4 of a language or        level exams for public school students will
    —Kitchen safety and fire instruction.     grammar textbook or log at least 45 daily en-    be fully in place for the graduating class
    —Fireplace safety and fire instruction.   tries of work in language or grammar study.      of 2015-- right now ‘anchor assessments
    —Safety during physically active play         —Give at least one speech during the         and eligible content’ for English literature
and in sports.                                year to a group outside of the immediate         study, several math courses (algebra I and
    —Crossing streets.                        family.                                          II, geometry), and biology and chemistry are
    HEALTH AND PHYSIOLOGY                                                                      available online. See for
    —Dental care.                             2.5 Distance Courses, Co-op Classes,
                                                                                               info (click on ‘fair assessments’-- and then
    —Personal care and use of health care               Private Teachers                       on ‘Keystone Exams’). Homeschoolers will
workers.                                      Many homeschool students are taking dis-         not have to take part in this exam program,
    —Major systems of the body (circula-      tance courses in some subject areas, often       but the guidelines could be useful in writing
tory, digestive, respiratory and nervous).    via the Internet, and objectives for these       course objectives.
    —Proper balance of activities.            courses are usually provided by the distance This site
    —Prominent names in health care.          program. For exanmple, many high school          is produced by the Mid-Continent Regional
    —Olympics.                                homeschoolers in Pennsylvania take part in       Educational Laboratory, and has the most
    —Dangers of alcohol abuse.                some of the Advanced Placement (AP) On-          comprehensive listing of standards in all
    —Sexuality and reproductive systems.      line Test Preparation classes that are offered   subject areas, using guidelines from all of
    PHYSICAL EDUCATION                        from Pennsylvania Homeschoolers-- the            the national standards groups. Goes beyond
    —Active, outdoor play including games,    class description found on our website could     basic subjects to also include foreign lan-
riding bicycle, soccer.                       be used in writing your objectives for the       guages, arts, and fitness. Well worth taking a
    —Develop lifetime sport of golf.          course, and the teacher may also provide fur-    look at, and includes thoughtful articles and
    —Swimming regularly in summer.            ther learning objectives to families if asked.   more. Also has links to online activities that
    —Hiking, indoor hockey and other ac-                                                       are engaging for all ages and subject areas.
                                                  Likewise, if your child is taking a class
tive pastimes.
                                              through a homeschool co-op program that
                                              meets weekly, the teacher could help provide
    —Listening to various styles of music.
                                              you with class objectives. If you have an
    —Using music for play and creative
                                              outside private teacher or tutor for a par-
personal expression.
                                              ticular course, that person could help with
    —Experiment with harmonica playing.
                                              objectives for that subject.
    —Singing alone and in groups.
    —Familiarity with US folk songs.
    —Study the use of musical instruments
3. Extra Requirement for Handicapped Children
     Any student who has been identified          teachers and psychologists which we publish        and body awareness. In addition, remedial
pursuant to the provisions of the Education       as part of our list of qualified evaluators in     activities that are timed to include treasure
of the Handicapped Act (Public Law 91-230         each issue of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers.
U.S.C. # 1401 et. seq.) as needing special                                                           hunts, puzzle races, cooking projects, etc.,
education services, excluding those students      As you can see, a lot of time and thought can      can be implemented to increase X’s ability
identified as gifted and/or talented, shall       go into writing an evaluation such as this.        to attend and respond efficiently to general
be in compliance with the requirements of         Parents should realize that they will need to      directions and assignments.
compulsory attendance by participating in         fairly compensate Special Education teach-             Great emphasis will be placed on enhanc-
a home education program, as defined in           ers or psychologists who offer this service        ing X’s ability to communicate verbally more
Section 1327.1, when the program addresses        to them.                                           appropriately and without undue hesitation
the specific needs of the exceptional student
and is approved by a teacher with a valid               3.1 Sample Approval Letter                   or pressured speech. He will be encouraged
certificate from the Commonwealth to teach             Here is a sample approval letter which        to engage in extended forms of verbal com-
special education or a licensed clinical or       combines two letters written by a former           munication, e.g., free verbal interaction, role
certified school psychologist, and written no-    special education teacher. She met with the        playing, round robin stories and recalling
tification of such approval is submitted with     homeschooling mother twice before she              experiences. These will be tape recorded
the notarized affidavit required under Section                                                       and played back to demonstrate to the child
1327.1 (b). The supervisor of a home educa-       wrote the letter, which was filed with the af-
                                                  fidavit. The first time she examined the books     his progress in developing more fluency of
tion program may request that the school
district or intermediate district of residence    and materials that the family was using and        speech.
provide services that address the specific        had a chance to talk with the child informally         Mrs. Y’s program will encourage the
needs of the exceptional student in the home      over snacks. The second time, she privately        child to read for pleasure and thereby gain
education program. When the provision of          discussed the family’s educational objectives      confidence in using this skill as a primary
services is agreed to by both the supervisor      with the mother while their children played.       learning tool. As an incentive, X has his
and the school district or intermediate unit,                                                        own library cards at both the XYZ library
all services shall be provided in the public                                                         and the ABC Library, and visits the librar-
schools or in a private school licensed to        Dr. Z, Superintendent
provide such programs and services. — Act         Dear Dr. Z:                                        ies frequently to borrow books and attend
169 of 1988                                           I have been asked by Mrs. Y to review          various events. In addition, Mrs. Y will
     Nothing in this section shall be construed   her home schooling program for her son X.          continue to work on word attack skills and
to affect Federal or State law relating to spe-   The following is a list of my credentials and      phonics as well as comprehension skills, e.g.,
cial education for students with disabilities     my background in special education: BS in          cause-and-effect relationships, folklore to
in home education programs. -- Act 196 of                                                            discuss abstraction and logical and illogical
2014.                                             elementary/special education from XYZ Uni-
                                                  versity; MS in special education from XYZ          happenings.
                                                  University; Certified in special education in          The program will meet the child’s needs
     Parents whose children have been of-
                                                  the state of Pennsylvania; Taught four years       for positive social interaction by continuing
ficially labeled as handicapped (mentally
                                                  for ABC Intermediate Unit; Taught one year         his involvement in a church-related youth ac-
retarded, learning disabled, socially and
                                                  for DEF Intermediate Unit.                         tivity, as well as by attending Sunday School.
emotionally disturbed, visually impaired,
                                                      Having reviewed the home schooling             The professional involvement with youth on
hearing impaired, physically handicapped,
                                                  program of Mrs. Y for her son X, it is my          the part of the child’s stepfather, a clergyman,
or speech and language impaired) must get
                                                  opinion that the program is appropriate and        occasions additional outings that provide
a Pennsylvania certified special education
                                                  meets the child’s needs.                           loving acceptance by his peers. He will also
teacher or a certified school psychologist or
                                                      Mrs. Y will use textbooks and other mate-      meet regularly with other home education
a licensed clinical psychologist to approve
                                                  rials that are on X’s instructional level rather   students for special activities and field trips.
their home education program and should
                                                  than his frustration level. When employing             Mrs. Y is aware of the need to work with
attach the written approval to the notarized
                                                  texts with more advanced vocabulary, she           X in problem areas, such as distractibility,
affidavit. Generally, only children who have
                                                  can take time to explain as necessary, thus        auditory memory, categorization, and per-
been in school get labeled as handicapped.
                                                  enabling X to study materials more appropri-       severance. The tutoring situation is ideal
You would know if your child had been la-
                                                  ate for his age level.                             for allowing an overlap of school work and
beled because you would have been asked
                                                      Because of his limited attention span and      home life in addressing these problems on
to sign a form agreeing to the label so that
                                                  language processing difficulties, X can learn      an ongoing basis.
your child could receive special education
                                                  more readily during short periods of time              It is my opinion that the home education
                                                  having small amounts of material presented         program for X will result in good progress
     If you want your child to participate in
                                                  with immediate feedback and frequent rein-         both academically and in building self-
special education classes in a public or pri-
                                                  forcement. Mrs. Y has structured her daily         esteem.
vate school, then the new law specifies that
                                                  teaching schedule accordingly and, if neces-           I have requested a copy of my teaching
you can make that arrangement.
                                                  sary, can interrupt a lesson to intersperse with   certificate with a name change from the
     The main problem for parents of handi-
                                                  short periods of physical activities.              Bureau of Teacher Certification in Harris-
capped children will be to find a special
                                                      During these times, she can include gross      burg and will send you a copy as soon as I
education teacher or licensed psychologist
                                                  and fine motor activities, e.g. charades, obsta-   receive it.
who will approve their program. We have
                                                  cle courses, Twister, to increase coordination         Sincerely yours,
an updated list of friendly special education
4. Keeping a Portfolio
    In order to demonstrate that appropriate education is occur-         on their logs-- but we personally just count a 7-day week as 5 days
ring, the supervisor of the home education program shall provide         of credit (makes it much easier to count up, and we’re not in a race
and maintain on file the following documentation for each student        to finish our 180!). You might also want to include a one page,
enrolled in the home education program:                                  yearlong calendar in the front of your log or portfolio album that
    (1) A portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall        has your days of instruction circled — this would be a very quick
consist of a log, made contemporaneously with the instruction,           way to show both your evaluator and your superintendent that you
which designates by title the reading materials used, samples of         put in your 180 days.
any writings, work sheets, workbooks or creative materials used or            We have certainly heard some grumbling from some homeschool-
developed by the student. — Act 169 of 1988                              ers worried about how much time keeping a log will take. Some
                                                                         people worry that they are expected to follow their child around,
    In order to prove that you are educating your child you must         spiral notebook in hand, and write down every word uttered, every
keep a portfolio of his or her work. At the end of the year you will     learning discovery or question raised. Obviously more than a simple
have this portfolio reviewed by a private teacher or psychologist        check mark that indicates “attendance” is required, but daily sum-
who will write an evaluation of your child’s progress. Then you          mary notes can certainly be brief jottings, not fully developed essays!
will take or mail the portfolio and written evaluation to your school    If it takes you longer to keep your log than to actually work with
superintendent no later than June 30. He will return it to you after     your children, then figure you’re doing something wrong. Experiment
photocopying what he wants to keep for his records.                      around until you find a way that seems complete enough without be-
    Your portfolio must show that you are giving your child an           ing an undo burden. When students are in charge of filling out their
“appropriate education,” which means that your child is receiving        own logs, it’s of course important for parents to remember to remind
instruction in the required subjects for the required time and is dem-   them about this task-- and have a way that is easy to update if a few
onstrating sustained progress in the overall program.                    days or a week have gone by without noting anything. Whatever
    We recommend that you keep your portfolio in two parts — a           form you use, it should get a bit faster with experience.
daily log and a portfolio album.                                              What format can your log take? Some people use teacher’s plan-
                                                                         ning books which feature a grid with subjects or time-slots across the
                          4.1 Daily Log                                  top and days of the week down the side. We sell The Home Schoolers’
    According to the Office of Chief Counsel at the PA Department of     Journal, one such planning book, which many people have found to
Education, your daily log “must identify specific dates of instruction   be helpful and flexible, and many appreciate the features such as the
and the materials used on each date, because the log by definition       booklist chart, field trip summary pages, and more. Other people use
is a ‘day to day’ record.”                                               spiral notebooks, Daytimers, or big block calendars. Still others use
    Some parents keep a single daily log for all of their home-          individually developed photocopied forms which they will later bind
educated children. Others keep separate daily logs for each child.       together into a notebook or place in their portfolio album. There are
Many home-educated children keep their own daily logs-- and we           many online computer options now available also.
definitely recommend this. Whichever way you choose, make sure                A number of families use a checkoff system for their daily logs.
that you list by title the reading materials used, and show that you     The parents or children write down the planned assignments ahead
are teaching for the proper amount of time:                              of time on the assignment sheet or in the notebook or planning book,
          1. Elementary Level (grades 1-6) — 180 days or                 and then the children check off the assignments as soon as they are
          900 hours per year.                                            completed. If a planned assignment is not accomplished, it is simply
          2. Secondary Level (grades 7-12) — 180 days or                 not checked off. This system not only helps the families plan their
          990 hours per year.                                            homeschooling day, but it also helps the children know what they
    You have a choice about whether to document hours or days in         need to accomplish.
your log. Most parents find days easier, though some find it simple           A number of families have involved their children in the keeping
to jot down hours at the end of each day, especially with older stu-     of their own daily logs. Here are three examples:
dents. You do not need to only consider official “book work” as your
homeschool time, but can certainly consider all in-depth discussions,        1. Emily Murphy (age 16) kept her daily log in a “Daytimer”
project times, field trips, sporting events, educational videos, and     book. Each morning Emily wrote her goals for the day on the left
outside classes that your child might participate in.                    hand page and then, throughout the day, she checked them off as
    You don’t have to teach every subject every day. If you don’t        she finished each item. On the facing page she recorded anything
show much documentation of the required subjects in your log, you        extra that was interesting. Following are her entries for a particular
should balance it by documenting them fairly completely in your          day in March, 1989. On the left hand page under the Daytimer’s
portfolio album. In general we recommend that those who keep very        heading, “TO BE DONE TODAY,” Emily has written the following
scanty logs should keep very complete portfolio albums, and those        objectives by subject areas (history, French, literature, geometry, and
who keep very scanty portfolio albums should keep detailed logs.         chemistry). Seven of the thirteen objectives were checked off on
    Another thing to remember is that you are not held to the public     this particular day: [Note: the Presidents were done as part of a big
school calendar. Many homeschoolers have important activities go-        project where Emily completed a huge, and very attractive poster
ing on during the summer months, and you can feel free to document       giving information on all U.S. Presidents.]
those days also, perhaps gaining extra “vacation” days in December.          His Get 8 more Presidents done P
We also keep track of important things that we do on the weekends                  Do questions on 22 ___
— when we read and discuss a major news story, or when the kids                    Do test ___
spend an hour or more playing a geography game on Saturday, or                Fre Listen to tape P
take part in our monthly square dance, they get can easily enter it               Review Unit II P
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