Unschooling in Pennsylvania

Sheila Baronoski posted an update and clarifiation on poliicies in Pennsylvania on Facebook August 1, 2015, so some of what is elsewhere on the page might not be in effect. FIND LOCALS and ask. Find unschoolers wherever you live, to see how they're managing requirements.

If you unschool or homeschool in Pennsylvania: There are a few things that you should know.

1. You are not required to hand in a parent's homeschool diploma to your school district. Your affidavit is sufficient evidence thereof.

2. The law has changed so that you no longer have to hand in a portfolio to your school district.

3. You are not required to tell the school which grade your child is in. The law states that you need to give them an age.

4. You do still need to have your child evaluated. You do not need a big, thick portfolio for your evaluator. Unless you personally are seeking an evaluator for the purposes of getting help/feedback/advice, and you would do so anyway even if it weren't the law, the evaluator should serve the purpose of meeting the letter of the law and nothing more. Why would you pay someone to judge you? She needs to see samples, nothing more. A page or two per subject, and you don't have to show every single subject.

5. You do not need to show a writing sample. Nor do you need to show pictures of your kids. Why give them anything at all that they could ever possibly use against you? Could they pick apart a messy house, a stain on their shirt, unbrushed hair, even thinking the kid is too skinny or fat? Yes, they could. I wouldn't risk it. Give them what is required and not one iota more.

6. If you unschool, or have very young children who have not started formal, written instruction, you probably will not have any written samples to show. A write-up done by the parent telling the trips and activities is sufficient.

7. Evalutions can be done through email or other online avenues, or over the phone.

8. You don't need a record of what you did every day. You don't need to show them a lesson plan or calendar filled out with what was covered each day.

9. You don't have to do anything until your child is 8.

10. The school district doesn't get to approve you. You don't have to wait for an approval letter. You hand in your affidavit and objectives, and you're a homeschooler.

Did I forget anything else? Probably! I'll edit as I have time!




There are many scare stories in and of Pennsylvania. There are many more unschoolers who have figured out calm, good ways to unschool and comply with the laws. Rather than asking on general unschooling discussions, it's best to learn those things from others in Pennsylvania.

And rather than ask them from the beginning each time, please read through some of the information linked below so that you can ask further questions confidently and calmly. They must be tired of dealing with panicky new unschoolers, too.

It IS doable, and you don't need to be afraid.

Pennsylvania Unschoolers on yahoogroups

Portfolio Help:

Pauline's Guide to Homeschooling in PA: Creating a Homeschooling Portfolio

Emily Schnarr's Site:

ES Educational Services
Emily Schnarr, Homeschool Evaluator
Notes for beginning unschoolers Help for unschoolers Joyce Fetteroll's site