Homeschooling is by far one of the best decisions I’ve made for my family. It has enabled me to become the patient and hands-on parent that I’ve always wanted to become. More importantly, I’m no longer unsure whether my children are getting the education they deserve. The even greater news is, homeschooling in Pittsburgh is not difficult.
The process to homeschool in Pittsburgh (and the state of Pennsylvania) is fairly simple. All that is required to homeschool in Pennsylvania is that the parent responsible for educating the children file an affidavit of their intention to homeschool and a set of educational objectives that vaguely detail what you will learn during the upcoming school year.
Step 1: Legalizing your Homeschool
- The first step is to file your PA Affidavit of Intention to Homeschool & a list of educational objectives. You can download those forms by clicking here. They can be filed as is, or you can change them. Your superintendents office will accept them either way.
- You will need to have your Affidavit of Intention notarized. Call 412.331.1208 for a FREE notary service.
- Your paperwork must be filed with the superintendent of the school district you live in. If you live in Pittsburgh and are in the Pittsburgh Public School District you can file your paperwork at the Student Achievement Center. Here is the address.925 Brushton Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
- If you live in the Pittsburgh Public School District your affidavit and objectives must be filed during the August prior to the school year you’d like to begin homeschooling. You must file one affidavit with each child’s name in the children section, and one set of objectives per child. If not, contact your local superintendent’s office to get the exact date and place to file your paperwork.
Step 2: Unschooling Your Kids & Finding a Curriculum that Works
- You’ve legalized your homeschool now it’s time to take a breather. Relax, this is a big step you have taken and you need to pat yourself on the back. Take a trip with your children, take a drumming class or swim class. In essence, do something fun. Realize that your kids are NOT used to thinking about home as a classroom and neither are you. Allow yourself and your children time to adjust.
- While you are “unschooling” take some time to look for a curriculum. We do not use one curriculum in its entirety. I usually end up taking elements from websites, curriculum, online worksheets and games and all kinds of resources to create a tailor-made lesson agenda that works for our family. Every homeschooler must educate their children specific to their needs. Here are some options:
Curriculum Resources for Pittsburgh Homeschoolers
Step 3: Know Your Homeschooling Rights & Stay Legal
- In the state of Pennsylvania homeschooled children are required to be tested in 3rd, 5th and 8th grade. According to the law:
“In order to demonstrate that appropriate education is occurring, the supervisor of the home education program shall provide and maintain on file the following documentation for each student enrolled in the home education program:…”
“The portfolio shall consist of
a log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used,
samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student
and in grades three, five and eight results of nationally normed standardized achievement tests in reading/language arts and mathematics or the results of Statewide tests administered in these grade levels.”
- Here is a list of the approved test:
- California Achievement Test
~~ Comprehensive Testing Program (CTPIV)
~~ Iowa Test of Basic Skills
~~ Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) <–NEW!
~~ Metropolitan Achievement Test
~~ Peabody Achievement Individual Test – Revised Version
~~ Stanford Achievement Test (not to be confused with the SAT test for college admission)
~~ Terra Nova
~~ Woodcock-Johnson Revised Tests of Achievement III
~~ Woodcock-Johnson IV
~~ Wechsler Individual Achievement Test III (WIAT-III)
- California Achievement Test
- Each year homeschoolers must also develop a portfolio for their children over the course of the school year. Near the end of the school year homeschoolers must have an evaluator look over their child’s portfolio and provide an evaluation form to the Superintendents office during the month of June. (Click here for more information about who can evaluate your child’s portfolio)
- The law states the following people may evaluate your child’s portfolio:
“a licensed clinical or school psychologist“
“a teacher certified by the Commonwealth”
… “The certified teacher shall have experience at the elementary level to evaluate elementary students or at the secondary level to evaluate secondary students.”
“a nonpublic school teacher or administrator.
Any such nonpublic teacher or administrator shall have at least two years of teaching experience in a Pennsylvania public or nonpublic school within the last ten years. Such nonpublic teacher or administrator shall have the required experience at the elementary level to evaluate elementary students or at the secondary level to evaluate secondary students.”
“At the request of the supervisor, persons with other qualifications may conduct the evaluation with the prior consent of the district of residence superintendent.”
“In no event shall the evaluator be the supervisor or their spouse.”
Step 4: Go Outside
- Don’t forget to leave the house. Your first year of homeschooling is not easy, it’s important that you connect with other homeschoolers. Feelings of isolation and kid-fatigue are real, but common. Be sure to join the Pittsburgh Black Homeschooling Co-op. Other organizations that co-op are PALS and Pittsburgh Homeschooling Co-op.
- Here is a list of homeschooling classes in Pittsburgh.
Homeschooling Classes in Pittsburgh
Cyber Schools for Pittsburgh Residents