I’m not going to lie, I was a bit intimidated by the thought of completing the PA Homeschool Evaluation. During our year of transitions, it was just one more new thing to add to the pot. Thankfully I was referred to a really awesome evaluator who answered many of my questions prior to our evaluation. Between her advice and input from a friend, I was able to put together completed portfolios for the kids and go in to the evaluation with peace of mind.
According to Pennsylvania Law, the portfolio must demonstrate an “appropriate education,” which is defined as “a program consisting of instruction in the required subjects for the time required” and “the student demonstrates sustained progress in the overall program.”
Required Elementary Subjects
In my overview for the 2019/2020 year, I went through the required subjects and what curricula we would use to cover them. However, here’s the list of what PA requires us to cover in the elementary years.
- English; to include spelling, reading and writing
- History of the US and Pennsylvania
- Safety Education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires
- Health and Physiology
- Physical Education
Thankfully, many of these subjects do not need to be covered every day or even every year. They just need to happen at some point during the elementary years.
For our evaluation, I was required to bring in samples of my children’s work in each subject over the course of the year. I did this by pulling worksheets and tests from the beginning, middle, and end of our school year. For those subjects that didn’t have either of those, I brought in a list of books used, the paper we received during our field trip, and even just explained how certain material was covered.
Although it wasn’t necessary per our evaluator, I did separate each of the worksheets and examples into each subject category.
In PA, we need to demonstrate that we homeschooled for 180 days. Our evaluator gave us examples of three ways we could do so.
- A daily record of what was taught and the books used for each subject area.
- A daily record of the the subject taught and materials listed on a separate page. The subject is just checked off if it was taught that day.
- A calendar to record the days that one homeschooled or a simple chart with 180 boxes to check for each day one home educated. Check off each day one homeschools. Then, attach a book list of the resources used throughout the year.
We chose to use the third option for our homeschool. It allowed me to keep track and accurately demonstrate what was used, while not going crazy with meticulous records.
Here are examples of the log we brought to our evaluation:
For next year I am planning on using this Homeschool Planner that I found on Amazon (affiliate link). It contains a log, so I won’t need to use a separate one.
For those who have children in the 3rd, 5th, or 8th grade, you are required to submit test results (such as the CAT test) during the evaluation. The required testing areas are reading/language arts and math. The evaluator basically just confirms to the state that the tests were taken. Since my kids are not yet in the 3rd grade, we were able to omit this from our portfolio.
The PA Homeschool Evaluation
After getting together my portfolio, the actual evaluation was pretty laid back. She basically just reviewed everything I brought. Then I was also able to ask questions and present any concerns to her that I had. Daniel and Virginia were required to come with me, and she just asked them a few questions about how they were liking school and what their favorite subjects were. When the evaluation was complete, she presented me with a letter that I need to hand into the district by June 30.
Although it’s not required until August, we’ll be handing in the affidavit for next year along with the evalution letter this month.
We just completed our school year last week, and can now enjoy our 7 weeks of summer vacation.
Have a wonderful summer!
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