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What Can We Learn From Pennsylvania Homeschoolers?

September 23, 2014

According to, homeschoolers in Pennsylvania may receive high school credit if they do any ONE of the following in a course:

1. Complete two-thirds of a textbook
2. Have 120 daily logged entries
3. Have 120 hours of logged study
4. Complete a 10 page research paper
5. Complete a college course
6. Pass an AP exam


What Can We Learn From Homeschoolers in Pennsylvania?

Do any ONE of the following
You don’t have to do ALL of them. You don’t have to complete a textbook AND write a 10 page paper AND pass an AP exam. In Pennsylvania, you only have to do one of these things to get high school credit. In other states, you may have the freedom to choose other ways of determining credit. Homeschoolers may read the list and think they have to do them ALL, but you don’t – even in Pennsylvania.

Complete two-thirds of a textbook
Wow. That’s not at ALL like finishing the whole book. I try to tell parents that sometimes it’s OK to lighten up, and not finish every last chapter. Most public schools say 75% of the book means you are “done.” Teachers in public schools plan ahead for which chapters they will skip. I always liked to finish things in my homeschool, but that didn’t ALWAYS happen.  Even if you don’t live in Pennsylvania, don’t feel bad if you don’t finish a textbook.

Have 120 daily logged entries
Some experts require 120 hours, some require 150, and some require 180. Instead of being regimented, just guess. Unless your state requires daily logged entries, you don’t have to keep a log of hours and attendance.

Have 120 hours of logged study
Unless your state requires daily logged entries, you don’t have to keep a journal with the number of hours your child has studied. I read one expert who said homeschoolers couldn’t count “homework.” Excuse me? Isn’t almost all homeschool done at home, and is therefore homework? Unless this is a state requirement, you don’t have to keep a log with hours checked off – you can estimate.

Complete a 10 page research paper
In other states, you may decide to award credit for an 8 page paper or a 9 page paper. I liked assigning a written paper for each course because I liked having something to document every class. 10 pages?  Wow!  I’m glad that doesn’t apply to other states.

Complete a college course
If your child knows enough to pass a college course, they know enough to pass the course in high school, right? Dual enrollment means you get credit for high school and credit for college at the same time for the same class.

Pass an AP exam
This is the same idea as the one above. AP tests measure a college amount of knowledge. So do CLEP Exams. If your child passes either, you can give a high school credit.

Remember that state laws vary. I don’t want you to think I’m picking on Pennsylvania. I don’t know PA homeschool law in detail, and I’m not familiar with the website. I just want to encourage others to learn what they can. Some things may not apply to you at all!

Please note: This post was originally published in August 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Do you like getting this sort of help for homeschooling high school? Gold Care Club members get extended answers to their most challenging high school issues.


  1. Karen says:


    This is not the state law for awarding credits in PA. There is no state standard for awarding credits in PA Homeschools. This is merely the requirement for ONE of several (I think there are at least 7) diploma programs available to homeschoolers in PA. We do not have to use any of these programs to homeschool our high school students in PA, they are merely options that many choose to validate their high school course work. They will keep the transcript for you and present you with an “official” transcript and diploma once you have met their requirements for graduation.

    August 17th, 2010 at 6:30 am

  2. Cindy Torres says:

    Those are just the requirements for the diploma you can earn from the PA Homeschoolers organization. So, if you want to get your diploma with them, then these are the rules to follow.

    But like you said, it gives us non-PA people a good idea of what can be counted or credited. In other words, we don’t have to make as bit a deal out of it as we might be!!!

    Cindy T

    August 17th, 2010 at 8:08 am

  3. Lee says:

    Thanks Karen! My comments are about this particular website, not about Pennsylvania homeschool law. It’s certainly interesting reading, and ALL homeschoolers can learn something from it.

    August 17th, 2010 at 8:19 am

  4. Audrey says:

    As a PA resident, I will defend PA Homeschoolers. Remember this is just one of several diploma programs in the state. Unlike other states, PA is one of the tougher home school regulated states. In order to receive a diploma, this is what PA Dept of Education says:

    “How does a homeschooled child receive a high school diploma?

    School districts do not issue diplomas to students in home education programs. Other diplomas are available:

    A student may fulfill the necessary requirements of a home school organization to receive a home school diploma. The list of organizations recognized by PDE to issue diplomas is here: Home Education Organizations Serving PA Families =|

    A student may successfully complete the GED test and receive the Commonwealth Secondary Diploma. Information is here: GED®/Learner Information

    A student may successfully complete 1 year or 30 semester hours at an accredited postsecondary institution and submit that information to PDE and receive a Commonwealth Secondary Diploma. See the regulation:

    Although not a high school diploma, for PHEAA grant and loan purposes, a student may request the Superintendent of his or her school district of residence to sign a PHEAA form or a letter on school district letterhead indicating the student has completed the requirements in the home education law for graduation per 24 P.S. Sec. 13-1327.1(d). ”

    Some parents love the option to seek guidance from an organization that supports homeschooling and provides a framework for high school. I do not know anyone personally who has chosen the ;ast option of “obtaining the signature of a superintendent”.

    Sometimes standards for high school are not set high enough and PA Homeschoolers, along with other organizations just sets the bar so our parents and students have some direction.

    Many parents only chose to homeschool for elementary and middle. Some just for elementary. They are afraid to home school high school. PA Homeschoolers and other groups give them guidance, just as you do for your state and those who read your support on the web.

    PA Homeschoolers have been instrumental in law changes that have helped homeschoolers in PA!

    August 18th, 2010 at 4:41 am

  5. Lee says:

    Thanks Audrey! I appreciate you for taking the time and spelling that out.

    August 18th, 2010 at 7:11 am

  6. Dottie says:

    I enjoyed this article. It gives me a few new ideas on how to assess my children entering high school next year. I knew about the 75% textbook completion and dual enrollment. For me, the article offers options and another way of looking at things. After homeschooling for 20 years, I need to have some new ideas coming my way.
    I also didn’t see this article as negative toward PA home education. I saw it as pointing out that it’s easy to homeschool high school in PA. 120 days/hours is relatively easy to do in any area of study. As is a 10 page paper if you have been learning how to write papers all along. Thanks for the article.

    May 31st, 2013 at 3:44 am

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