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Compulsory Attendance and 8 Year-Olds

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September 2013

It has long been claimed in Pennsylvania home education circles that compulsory attendance commences at eight years old, but if your child turns eight after the first two weeks of school, a home education program does not need to start until the following fall.  This was a conclusion from the interpretation of two parts of the public school code, Admission of Beginners (24 PS §13-1304) and Definitions of ?compulsory school age? (24 PS §13-1326).

The Admission of Beginners portion of the public school code was the basis for the ?two weeks? timeframe.  Act 24 of 2011, taking effect on July 1, 2011, changed the language of this portion of the code.  The old language (pre-2011) had confined the admission of beginners to the first two weeks of the school term.  The new language (post-2011) requires schools to admit beginners for the first two weeks, but now allows for the admission of beginners all year, at the discretion of the school district.

The bottom line is that once a child turns eight years old, they are of compulsory attendance age.  This means that, if the child is home educated, the supervisor should submit an affidavit and commence a home education program on his eighth birthday, but the school district may have some discretion in enforcing the law.

It is recommended that you go by what is on the PDE website until further notice.

Click here to read a PHEA letter regarding the Court Decision

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