The duty to comply with compulsory attendance can be triggered two ways:

  1. When a child is age 6 by September 1, he must start complying with compulsory attendance (i.e., homeschool, public school, lawful private school).
  2. If a child is enrolled in a public school kindergarten, he becomes subject to compulsory attendance. But this ends if the child is formally withdrawn from the program, assuming the child has not reached age 6 by September 1, per Pennsylvania Department of Education policy.

Using September 1 as a cutoff date for determining whether a child is subject to compulsory school attendance is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s official guidance on compulsory school attendance. So if a child turns six (6) after September 1, you may wait until the following year to file a homeschool affidavit.

Compulsory attendance ends on the child’s 18th birthday. It ends earlier if the child receives a “certificate of graduation from a regularly accredited, licensed, registered or approved high school.” A diploma issued by a home education program supervisor or state-approved diploma-granting organization would exempt the child, assuming it was issued in compliance with 24 Pennsylvania Statutes §13.1327.1(d.1)(1).

HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Pennsylvania law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.).

These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver's license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.