How to homeschool in highly regulated states such as PA?

by | Homeschooling | 2 comments

My family currently resides in a “free” homeschool state (NJ), but due to circumstances, we may have to move to a state where homeschool laws are very strict (PA, considered the “second worst state” in which to homeschool according to HSLDA). Certain subjects must be taught; children must be given standardized tests; children must be assigned grade levels; tests, quizzes, reports, etc. must be assigned and graded; portfolios must be made and reviewed; children must be evaluated by a “professional”; etc. Of course none of this is free, either. I’m reluctant to call it public school at home, because parents in PA still retain control over the curriculum used. But my daughters and I enjoy a stress-free home education environment where we are, free from grades and tests and the state and full of time together talking and learning. So, I’m wondering what the Trivium looks like in states where homeschool laws are burdensome, especially when the state requires certain subjects be taught and your book recommends certain subjects be delayed. — J.P., NJ


  1. Leslie

    I am not familiar with Trivium, but I have been homeschooling in PA for three years, and I can give you some general info.

    First do not panic. While there are a lot of laws, it is not impossible to follow them and personalize your homeschooling. It is true that certain subjects must be taught, but not every subject every year. Also standardized tests are only required in 3rd, 5th and 8th grade.

    Second, familiarize yourself with the PA homeschooling code. Some school districts try to force families to over comply with the law. When parents counter their illegal requests with the actual law, they often back down. If not, there is the HSLDA to help you.

    Third, find a good evaluator, who knows the law, and doesn’t encourage over compliance. There are many who do not charge a fee for the evaluation.

    Fourth, join a PA homeschooling support group for advice, encouragement and fellowship before you move. Ask about the local districts you might be moving into.

  2. Laurel Harper

    We homeschool in PA using a modified Trivium approach of sorts. As you mentioned, there is a disconnect between what we do, and what the state requires. In order to comply with state regulations, I make sure that I expose my children to the required subjects, but we do not dwell there if it is not in our plan for the year.

    For example, if the requirement is to teach science, but I will not be formally teaching science for another few years, then I may simply have my children read history books about science or scientists from the time period which we are currently studying. We may also make a trip to a science museum during the year, as well. We are thus in compliance with the law, and yet the disruption to our homeschooling year has been minimal.

    Hope this helps!


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