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hamilton142128
12-06-2015, 12:32 PM
Hello all... we are contemplating a move to Pennsylvia (possibly Bucks County area, not sure where exactly yet, but within a 1.5hr commute to NYC). I just looked up homeschooling laws for PA, they seem to be about the same as NY laws (quarterly reports, reviews, a portfolio, etc.) We are weighing the option of moving to CT where there is very little intrusion from the state.

I would love to hear from anyone who is currently homeschooling in PA as to what your experiences are there. Are there areas (like Fairfield Cty in CT) where there are large numbers of homeschoolers? We don't want to move to an area where we are one of the few families homeschooling.

Thanks for your input in advance!

Hamilton

Mrs. Patmore
12-09-2015, 07:53 AM
I am only preparing for kindergarten (over a year away), myself, but another member gave me this link:

AskPauline: Pennsylvania Homeschooling Law Excerpts (http://askpauline.com/hs/hslawtext.html#compattnd)

Pennsylvania is usually considered a stricter state, but I have not heard anyone say it was problematic.

I know one homeschooling family in Exton, and one in Phoenixville.

Norm Deplume
12-09-2015, 09:56 AM
From what friends have said, it sounds like PA is slightly easier than NY, but similar. It all sounds onerous to me, an Illinoisian (where we basically do no reporting at all).

crazymama
12-10-2015, 12:57 PM
PA isn't hard to homeschool in, much easier than NY for sure, no one gets to approve or disapprove us, no quarterly reporting, etc. Askpauline.com is definitely the best place to learn our laws.

I'm in my 10th year homeschooling here. I've never once thought it was hard to comply with the laws, and now they are even easier.

I print a simple affidavit from: PHEN- home education affidavit (http://www.phen.org/affidavit.html)
A list of objectives from: PA Home Education Objectives | Pennsylvania Home Educators Association (http://phea.net/pa-home-education-objectives/)
And include a simple form I created with immunization records and a checklist of required health requirements.

I keep a simple list of books we read, some samples of work, pictures from family outings and activities, and put together a simple portfolio each year. I like to include a written review, but thats more for my own memories ;)

I use an unschool friendly evaluator, we do a distance evaluation, I mail her a copy of our ports on CD, she calls, we all chat a bit, she mails me her letter, I turn it into the school along with the next years affidavit the around the end of June and then we go on with life as usual.

Our laws look scary, but really, they went bad and I kind of like them. They keep me from getting too lazy.

Eta: I don't think much if any of Bucks is going to be 1.5 hours of NYC, not with traffic anyway. You would want to look around Scranton.. The Poconos, Wayne or even Lackawana County, etc.

Merry
12-13-2015, 08:09 AM
I moved to PA from IL this year and it's really not much harder than a no regulation state. it depends on the evaluator you choose. Some people like having an evaluator who is thorough and asks for a lot of examples to keep them on track. My co-op had a evaluation day (free) and each kid had less than a 5 minute evaluation - just to sign the paperwork to stay compliant. There is no requirement to keep a portfolio. And I spend 5 minutes max printing off standard objectives from the Ask Pauline website - all exactly the same except for the child name. My school district accepted them no problem.

I actually like the regulations here a bit more because it allows more options for those who want more support from the school district. In IL the school district would have absolutely nothing to do with us. My kids could not join in any activities with the schools (clubs, sports, plays) and in a rural area there were not many other options for them. Here we are considered members of the school district (by law) and my kids can join in activities. They can also cyber school and get all their teaching materials for free (which we don't do but a nice option for some).

Mrs. Patmore
12-13-2015, 03:16 PM
Is anyone on this thread in the Philly area? We are thinking of moving within that metropolitan area. I am wondering what people do when they (of course, like everyone) would like to be in a nice area, but have no need to pay for a good school district.

crazymama
12-13-2015, 08:20 PM
I'm in the northestish/somewhat centralish part of the state.

ejsmom
12-13-2015, 10:41 PM
Is anyone on this thread in the Philly area? We are thinking of moving within that metropolitan area. I am wondering what people do when they (of course, like everyone) would like to be in a nice area, but have no need to pay for a good school district.

Probably commute. We have friends in Lancaster and Chester Counties that commute into Philly and surrounding areas to work.

Jabberwalker
12-17-2015, 11:36 AM
You might want to consider the NJ suburbs of Philly. NJ is one of the easiest HSing states and the Collingswood area has a lot of homeschoolers. Still a quick drive or train ride to all Philly has to offer.

Mrs. Patmore
12-26-2015, 12:15 AM
Thanks. Jabberwalker, isn't New Jersey, though, a really high tax state? I wouldn't mind living in Collingswood at all, but I thought people paid very high taxes to live there and get the good school system (that I can live without if it saves money).

MyFullHouse
12-26-2015, 07:52 AM
We're (native New Jerseans) in the Poconos. The NYC commute can be just over an hour and a half *without traffic*, but there are very few windows of no traffic. Dh doesn't usually go in daily, or during standard commute times. When he does have to, it can get crazy.

As far as secular homeschooling goes, based on what I read about other areas, this is one of the greatest places for it. We have a very strong network of inclusive groups in the Pocono region, with families of every religious and non-religious background. There's an overlapping, strong network about an hour south of us in the Allentown/Bethlehem area, where we belong to a great, formal, weekly co-op of over 60 families, with a ton of field trip opportunities.

Within those groups, we have many former public school teachers who are qualified to perform annual, painless evaluations at reasonable prices. (I think I've paid as little as $10 and as much as $40 for one child, then most do sibling discounts.) I send in my intent to homeschool with very simple "learning objectives" for each kid, along with my evaluator's "report", every June. Kids need to do a standardized test (many options) in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. No score requirements.

I always dream about going back to NJ, where there are no silly hoops, but the community we've built is too precious to walk away from. And the increase in income and property tax would sink us!

Jabberwalker
01-02-2016, 06:35 PM
Yes, NJ taxes are high, but the Philly suburbs are almost as bad, and you pay Philly wsge tax if you work in the city. NJ rebates it, so it was a wash for us. Full disclosure, we're ditching NJ to move South for a better COL!

MrsB
01-09-2016, 07:42 AM
We just started homeschooling this year in central PA (dauphin cty.) So far so good, although our biggest issue is finding other Secular homeschoolers. Most around us are religious. Im sure as we get into the community more we will meet people. We have had no issues with paperwork so far, but I'm a pretty organized person. We are NY natives who recently moved here for work.