Homeschoolers & Public Schools:
Questions we should ask before enacting a policy
denying all services to homeschooled children.

A handout I developed to help convince my school board to preserve the opportunity for homeschooler participation in the Penn Delco, PA school district.

How is the current policy working?

How many homeschoolers are there in the Penn Delco school district? What services have they asked for in recent years? What services has the district provided? How did it work out?

How do other districts handle homeschoolers?

Other districts in Pennsylvania have more flexible policies regarding homeschoolers. Has the board looked at any of these policies? The following districts, among others, have policies that do not rule out allowing homeschoolers to participate in school activities and programs: Adams, Armstrong, Bethel Park, Boyertown, Central Bucks, Chestnut Ridge, Danville Area, Knox, Montoursville, Palisades, Palmyra Area, Perkasie Area, Peters Township, Radnor, Ridley, United, Wallingford-Swarthmore, Williamsport, York City, and Yough.

Will Gifted homeschoolers be able to use district programs?

The proposed policy allows services for Special Ed students. Does this include Gifted students?

How will homeschoolers be designated as Exceptional students?

Currently, in order to be evaluated for Special Ed or Gifted status, a student must be enrolled and attending school during the evaluation process. If the district intends to allow homeschoolers to qualify for services by virtue of being Special Ed (or perhaps Gifted) students, the policy must include a way that homeschoolers can attain this status without being obligated to enroll in school to get it.

How will this policy affect other district programs?

For many years the district has allowed adult members of the community to take classes at Sun Valley High School when space is available. This is a sensible policy, as it costs the district basically nothing and is a benefit to the community. In addition, having the input of non-traditional students, who may have a different perspective on various topics, can enrich the experience of the whole class. People do not have a right to take whatever they want, whenever they want it, but if and when space is available they have been welcome. Why not let high-school-age homeschoolers take advantage of this program?

Have district homeschoolers been specifically asked for their input on this policy?

Since there are only a handful of homeschoolers in Penn Delco, it would not be difficult to ask the Superintendent to send a letter requesting their input. Since most school officials and board members are not very familiar with homeschooling, it is important that this input is obtained before any decision is made.

The current policy gives principals and administrators the option of allowing homeschoolers to participate in selected school activities, but does not give homeschoolers the right to demand such services.

This is a sensible policy. It gives the district the flexibility to decide each case on its own merit, taking into account the school's ability to provide services, the possible impact on other students in the school, and the needs of the homeschooled child.

Since the number of homeschooled students is so small, and most of them do not want or need services from the district, this issue will rarely come up. There is no need to implement such a rigid policy at this time.

Maintaining Penn Delco's current flexible policy benefits both the school district and homeschoolers.