How do I file with the school district if I plan to have my student take 4 ½ years to complete the graduation requirements?
File the required paperwork with the school district, as normal, at the beginning of the senior year. At the end of that year, have the student evaluated and submit the appropriate documentation to the school district.
For the remaining ½ year, the same procedure must be followed. At the end of the ½ year (the completion of the courses / requirements), obtain another evaluation and submit the appropriate documentation to the school district. MDHSA can only award a diploma to students who are in compliance with the home education law. Please remember that, although the student is only working for ½ of a school year, the law requires that the 180 days OR 990 logged hours be met!
MDHSA Note: The PA School Code provides for children to receive a public education through age 21 if school is attended continuously from before age 17. For that reason, home education supervisors should be free to provide the same level of support for their children. The supervisor is not required to list a grade level on the affidavit. If your student would profit from extra years in a home education program, then do not register with MDHSA until 3 years prior to the anticipated graduation date. If high school level coursework was completed for more than fiver years, contact MDHSA at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about how to handle the paperwork. To ensure compliance with the home education law, please have your student take the 8th grade standardized testing somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16.
My student attends a small, licensed, Christian school. However, the college that my student is interested in attending has indicated that there is a question about whether the school’s diploma is acceptable / valid. Why is this so, and is this a problem with the MDHSA diploma?
Many homeschoolers in Pennsylvania do not realize that this topic exists. Pennsylvania provides for a religious education in the PA Public School Code. However, PHEAA and the PDE do not “recognize” those diplomas as “substantially equivalent to a public high school diploma” as they do the MDHSA (and other) high school diploma programs. Many PA students attend private, religious schools and are not afforded the privileges afforded to home-educated students via the state recognized home education diplomas.
The MDHSA diploma is recognized by the PDE as well as PHEAA, and thus does not have the same hindrance as some of the small, private, religious schools.
Can a student attend a private school and participate in the MDHSA Diploma Program?
No. A student can either be educated at home and participate in the MDHSA Diploma Program, or be educated in a school of any nature and receive a diploma from that institution. However, a student may take individual courses at any school of their choice. An affidavit to home educate must be filed, a portfolio maintained, and an evaluation and appropriate paperwork submitted at the end of the year.
We are transferring from homeschool to public school. Do I need to register with a diploma program and obtain an “official” transcript in order to have the homeschool courses “count” and be transferred to the public school system?
No. Home-educated students in Pennsylvania are NOT required to use a diploma program. They are only required by law to have an evaluation at the end of each year. The public school is within the law to accept or reject homeschool courses and credits from the parent-issued transcript.