Archive of the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers® Newsletter
Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, edited by Howard and Susan Richman, was published for over 25 years from 1982 until 2007. It began as the Western PA Homeschoolers newsletter but changed its name in 1986 went it went state-wide. It was full of personal stories by homeschooling parents and children, reviews of homeschooling resources, and updates about legal issues surrounding homeschooling in Pennsylvania. Our newsletter was the place to look for news, reassurance and inspiration. Hint: If you want to read the front page of an early issue, click on it. That will open it up as a pdf file.
Issue 16 (Spring, 1986) discusses regulations proposed by the PA Department of Education for the existing law and Parent Educators of PA's proposal to add accountability to our proposed home education law. Here are two pages.
Issue 17 (Late Summer, 1986) announces that our newsletter has gone state-wide. Our newsletter's name changes from Western PA Homeschoolers to Pennsylvania Homeschoolers!. Here is the first page which also includes the text of the regulations proposed by the PA Department of Education for the existing law.
Issue 18 (Winter, 1987) announced the failure of our first homeschool bill but the passage of a Christian School bill with some strong parent rights language. Also the Home School Legal Defense Association files a class-action law suit to get the PA Home Education Law declared to be unconstitutional. Here are three of the pages from this issue.
Issue 20 (Summer, 1987) tells about homeschoolers in the news. Here is the first page. This issue also included the same account of that legislative breakfast which later appeared in Chapter 3 of Story of a Bill: Legalizing Homeschooling in Pennsylvania by Howard Richman.
Issue 22 (Winter, 1987-1988) announces, "Hearings a Great Success!!!" Here is the first page. This issue also included the same account of those hearings that later appeared in Chapter 3 of Story of a Bill: Legalizing Homeschooling in Pennsylvania by Howard Richman.
Issue 24 (Summer 1988) reported the victory in the House Education Committee for the home education bill and told the story of our legislative breakfast. The same accounts later appeared in Chapter 4 of Story of a Bill: Legalizing Homeschooling in Pennsylvania by Howard Richman.
Issue 31 (Spring 1990) announced a lobbying day in Harrisburg to thank the legislators for passing the home education law. It also announced the the HSLDA was filing a class-action suit in Pittsburgh against the Superintendent for going beyond the requirements of the home education law.
Issue 34 (Winter 1991) reported the tongue lashing given to Pittsburgh School Superintendent Wallace by a judge for trying to make requirements of homeschoolers which are not in the law. Also in the first three pages of this issue appeared an article by Howard, "Can Learner-Directed Families Keep Good Portfolios" as well as a report that the PA Department of Education had decided that homeschool organizations should give diplomas under the PA homeschool law.
Issue 39 (Spring 1992) reported the victory in court in Deely v. Wallace of a homeschool family (the Deely's) whose superintendent (Wallace of Pittsburgh) had told them that they could not begin homeschooling midyear.
Issue 40 (Summer 1992) reported the decision by the PA Department of Education to recognize diplomas awarded by home education organizations in PA.. Also included was the report of a study by Howard Richman and Jay Snyder, Reading: What works well at home.
Issue 41 (Fall 1992) reported the successful effort to save the college football scholarship of Jason Taylor, a homeschool graduate who went on to a successful professional football career with the Miami Dolphins.
Issue 43 (Spring 1993) reported a compromise on the compulsory school age which was offered to homeschoolers by the PA Department of Education and announced that two new home education organizations had been added to the list whose diplomas are recognized by the PA Department of Education.
Issue 46 (Winter, February, 1994) featured the first ever report of what homeschool graduates do soon after graduation and discussed two situations, one of them a due process hearing, in which parents were told to put their children in school.
Issue 53 (Winter 1995-1996) reported the successful Homeschool Excellence Day in the Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda and the legislative breakfast in which homeschooled hgih school students and graduates spoke to the legislators. On the second page is a report of a meeting after the breakfast during which the homeschoolers there decided not to persue legislative change but instead set up a liaison committee to work with the PA Department of Education.
Issue 54 (Spring 1996) reported the successful effort of homeschoolers to get the Department of Education to withdraw a circular that would have, in effect, lowered the beginning compulsory school age by several months. On the second page was a report that Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency had just incorporated and an article about an agreement that opened the Navy to homeschoolers.
Issue 55 (Summer 1996) reported the launching of PA Homeschoolers Internet courses to help homeschoolers who want to prepare for Advanced Placement exams that can give college credit to those high school students who pass them.
Issue 57 (Winter 1996-1997) was headlined School Sports in Play about policies being discussed by school boards permitting or excluding homeschoolers from participating in public school sports. It also included an article Homeschooling Under a Private School Umbrella about families in PA who homeschool under a church-school umbrella.
Issue 58 (Spring 1997) was headlined Homeschoolers Hammer on Vo Tech Door about homeschoolers who are participating half-time in public school vocational educational programs. It also included an article Accountability and Homeschooling about ways we can improve our homeschool programs by making ourselves accountable.
Issue 59 (Summer 1997) was headlined Team Effort Wins School Sports Access in Easton about the successful lobbying effort by homeschoolers to win access to public school sports in Northampton County. It also included an article From Homeschool Grad to Successful College Freshman about the transition from homeschooling into college.
Issue 60 (Fall 1997) was headlined Principals Lobby to Tighten Homescholing Law about a movement by the public school principals to tighten up the homeschool law with higher parental qualifications, home visits, and review of curriculum by school officials. It also included an article Thinking About a Correspondence Course about the correspondence courses available from Keystone National High School.
Issue 61 (Winter 1997-1998) was headlined Homeschool Dad gets Key Position at PA Dept. of Ed. about Biagio Musto, a homeschool dad at the PA Department of Education. It also included a research report, "What PHAA's Class of '96 did First Semester after Graduation" by Howard & Jesse Richman and an article Homeschool Mom Finally Joins Children in Completing Presidential Fitness Award by Phyllis Palladin about the advantages of exercising with your children.
Issue 62 (Spring 1998) was headlined First PA Homeschooler Accepted at Harvard about Noah Snyder, the first PHAA graduate accepted at Harvard. It also included a favorite article by Susan Richman Homeschooling -- It's Really a Lot Like Housework?.
Issue 63 (Summer 1998) was headlined Threatening Bills Tamed in Harrisburg about bills in Harrisburg that could have affected homeschooling adversely. It also included an article Penn State Distance Education about college courses that are available to homeschooled students and graduates.
Issue 64 (Fall 1998) was headlined Homeschool Diploma Organizations Graduate about the new written policy adopted by the Ridge Administration which continues the Casey administration recognition of diplomas granted by homeschool organizations. It also included an article Time to Think About College Board Testing about the SAT and PSAT tests that college-bound high school students take.
Issue 65 (Winter 1998-1999) was headlined Military Salutes Homeschoolers! about the Defense Authorization Bill that just passed which opens the military to homeschoolers and some of the homeschoolers who have already persued military positions. It also included an article Take the Chance: Apply to PA Governor's School about homeschool participation in challenging and free summer programs provided by the PA Department of Education.
Issue 66 (Spring 1999) was headlined What do Homeschoolers do after Graduation giving the results of the largest survey of homeschool graduates so far. It also included an article by Susan Richman Finding Memories in a 5 year old's wonderings about Math about the exciting early steps into math of a young boy.
Issue 67 (Summer 1999) was headlined Homeschool the Safe Alternative about the alternative that homeschooling offers to the peer group culture. It also included an article Pennsylvania Geography Bee: Homeschoolers Place Well about the annual state-wide geography bee in Harrisburg.
Issue 68 (Fall 1999) was headlined Homeschool Sports Join AAU about a leap forward in the development of homeschool sports in Pennsylvania. It also included an article Consider Debating about new opportunities that were just starting for homeschool debating in Pennsylvania.
Issue 69 (Winter 1999-2000) was headlined PA Homeschoolers Score Well on 1999 SAT's comparing the scores reported by the College Board for PA Homeschoolers and school students. It also included an article Thinking About Transferring to Public High School which discussed some of the obstacles for those who try to reenter public school in the middle of high school.
Issue 70 (Spring 2000) was headlined Misleading Report Circulated at State Capitol about a research paper entitled "Quality Control of Home Schooling in Pennsylvania" that could leave legislators with many misimpressions about home education in Pennsylvania. It also included an article Homeschoolers Meet to Discuss Legislation about the original meeting which eventually led to HB 2560 and an article by Susan Starting in on Portfolios -- Now about getting started with portfolios before the spring rush.
Issue 71 (Summer 2000) was headlined Possible Homeschool Bills Proliferate about possible bills that are being discussed within the homeschool community. It also included an article Abi Stafford Living Ballet Dream about a homeschooled senior who has already begun to succeed with her ballet career.
Issue 72 (Fall 2000) was headlined Public Charter School Enrolling Homeschoolers about Pennsylvania's first public homeschooling option. It also included an article Hope for the 'Organizationally Challenged' by Susan Richman.
Issue 73 (Winter 2001) had two headlines. The one on the left was Excellence Day Success: PA Dept. of Ed. Congratulates Homeschoolers about Homeschool Excellence Day, 2000. It also included an article Homeschooling in Thailand... A World Away by Jennifer Tibbets.
Issue 74 (Spring 2001)was headlined Homeschool Population up again in PA! an article which discussed recent statistics which appear to show that more homeschoolers continue homeschooling in high school in PA than in other states. It also included an article Becoming a Grandmother by Susan and an alert by Howard about new PA bills that might affect homeschooling.
Issue 75 (Summer 2001)was headlined Dept of Ed: PHAA Grads can Teach Own an article which discussed an April 3, 2001, letter from the PA Department of Education to Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency. It also included an article Debate? Who?? Me?? by Tiffany Thompson about her experiences participating in Communicators for Christ debate tournaments..
Issue 76 (Fall 2001) was headlined Anti-Cyber-Charter Bill Fails in Senate an article by Howard which discussed the failure of a Pennsylvania Senate bill that would have killed the new cyber-charter school option. It also included Mentoring Other Homeschoolers --> Paying it Forward! by Susan about homeschoolers who are helping other homeschoolers.
Issue 77 (Winter 2001-2002) was headlined Homeschoolers Serving America an article by Howard about homeschoolers who are serving as EMT's, fireman, and members of our armed forces. It also included Legislative Challenges an article by Howard about our challenge to preserve the three aspects of our law that give Pennsylvania homeschoolers options not available in ohter states and Reflections on Homeschooling after September 11 an article about incorporating crrent events into our studies.
Issue 78 (Spring 2002) was headlined TEACH Cyber-Charter on Verge of Collapse an article by Howard which discussed the rise and possible fall of the largest of Pennsylvania's new cyber-charter schools. It also included Homeschool Kids and Plagiarism by Susan about how homeschoolers can teach their children to avoid plagiarism.
Issue 79 (Summer 2002) was headlined Fizzle in the Forum an article by Howard which discussed the PA House Education Committee's informational hearing into House Bill 2560, a bill that would rewrite Pennsylvania's home education law. It also included Reflections on Evaluations and the Law by Susan about the unintended good consequences of Pennsylvania's current home education law.
Issue 80 (Fall 2002) was headlined Proponents say HB 2560 has run out of Time an article by Howard about the current status of the bill that would rewrite Pennsylvania's home education law. It also included articles about the bill by independent homeschooling leaders Debra Bell, Nancy Emerson, Jean Snyder, and Donald Joye as well as Howard's The Benevolent Bureaucrat Theory about how HB 2560 would be interpreted by bureaucrats. Also included in the newsletter was a delightful piece by Carol Lugg Lessons in the Garden about an educational time in the garden with her son.
The special one page November 14, 2003, issue announced the demise of House Bill 2560, which was opposed by PHAA. It discussed lessons that could be learned from the bill which, instead of solving problems, caused division.
Issue 81 (Winter 2002-2003) was headlined Homeschoolers Saved from Bad Bill! an article by Howard telling the story of the House Education Committee meeting where the homeschool law rewrite died. Also included in the newsletter was a humorous piece by Carol Lugg I Hate Being a Homeschool Mom about a visit to a water park with her children.
Issue 82 (Spring 2003) was headlined HSLDA Opens New Graduation Option an article by Howard telling about the successful lobbying effort in Washington by the HSLDA allowing homeschoolers to self-certify completion of high school at home in order to get federal government grants. Also included was an article by Howard, Diploma Options Currently used by Homeschoolers in PA, which estimated the number of homeschoolers in Pennsylvania using each diploma option. Also included was an article by Susan, Finally Done with Being Disorganized: www.Flylady.net to the Rescue! about a new website that really helps.
Issue 83 (Summer 2003) was headlined Sarah Pearce leaves homeschool position at PDE an article by Howard honoring Sarah Pearce for her contributions as homeschool liaison at the Pennsylvania Department of Education and telling about the people who will take over answering homeschooling questions. Also included was an article by Susan, Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Pedometers! about using pedometers to enhance your physical education program and your own physical health.
Issue 84 (Fall 2003) was headlined Hearings Held on Compulsory School Age Expansion an article by Susan about the June 18, 2003, informational meeting held by the House Education Committee to discuss a bill that would expand the compulsory school age (currently 8-17) to 6-18. Also included was an article by Howard, PA House Passes School Sports Bill which both reported the progress of a bill and also quoted the effective speech given by Mary Innes which won school sports in her school district. The issue also included an article by Susan,Gaining Perspective in a 5K Race about setting personal goals.
Issue 85 (Winter 2003-4) was headlined Due Process Compromise in Norwin SD an article about the due process hearing in the Norwin School District which shows the hearing from both the district's point of view and also the family's point of view. It also included Homeschoolers Score High on the TerraNova 2nd Edition, an article by Howard with lots of graphs showing how homeschoolers did overall in our fall 2003 testing service across Pennsylvania. Also included was an article by Susan,So You've Heard Something about the New SAT about the changes in the College Board's SAT I test that will begin with the March 2005 test administration.
Issue 86 (Spring 2004) was headlined Homeschool Co-ed Volleyball Makes PA Unique an article by Howard about the homeschool volleyball tournaments in Pennsylvania. It also included Home Education Population Growing, an article by Howard about the growth rates of private home education programs and public cyber-charter schools in Pennsylvania. Also included was an article by Susan about shifting gears in our lives as our children grow up.
Issue 87 (Summer 2004) was headlined Religious Freedom Suits Filed Against PA Home Ed Law an article by Howard about the Religious Freedom Protection Act suits filed by the Home School Legal Defense Association in Pennsylvania. It also included an article by Thomas Speakman about the results of his survey of PHAA's college-bound senior class regarding college choices and homeschooling plans, a humorous review of Wordsmart by homeschool senior Laura Means, and an article by Susan about avoiding problems on field trips.
Issue 88 (Summer 2004) was headlined Religious Freedom Suit Opens with Wide Publicity an article by Howard about the Religious Freedom Protection Act suits filed by the Home School Legal Defense Association in Pennsylvania. It also included an article by Susan Richman entitled "Explore PA History -- with the Internet".
Issue 89 (Winter 2005) was headlined "Homeschool Military Enlistment just got more Difficult" an article by Howard about the change of status for homeschoolers being recruited by the military. It also included an article by Howard entitled "Online Homeschoolers Score High on AP Exams" which reported the Advanced Placement test scores of the students enrolled in PA Homeschoolers online test preparation classes, an article by Howard entitled "Rep. Fleagle begins new attempt to improve PA Home Education Law" about the beginnings of a new legislative effort in Pennsylvania, and an article by Susan Richman entitled "Celebrating Homeschooling Friendships".
Issue 90 (Spring 2005) was headlined "New Bill Aims to Limit Superintendent Oversight" an article by Howard about House Bill 505 which had just been introduced. It also included an article by Howard entitled "Homeschooling in the Media" about the growing appreciation that most homeschoolers do a fine job but that there are a few who homeschool in order to hide abuse and an article by Susan Richman entitled "Reflections on Learning Math ...with my 12th grade daughter.".
Issue 91 (Summer 2005) was headlined "Civil Rights Suit Against Home Education Law Scheduled" an article by Howard about the Civil Rights suit against the homeschool law. It also included an article by Howard entitled "Jonathan Bean Succeeding as an Illustrator" about the successful breakthrough of a homeschool graduate and an article by Susan, prompted by the death of her mother, entitled "Thoughts on Homeschooling Families Dealing with Sad Times.".
Issue 92 (Fall 2005) was headlined "Extra-curriculars Bill Passes House, Ball Lobbed Back to Senate" an article by Howard about the bill that would give homeschoolers access to public school extra-curricular activities. It also included an article by Susan about the proposed PHAA definitions for those Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency students who would like to have the word "Honors" appear as a course title on their high school transcripts. Also included was an article by Danielle Davis, "The Making of Dinner for Dad," about how she put together the cookbook filled with recipes that homeschooled girls like to cook for their dads.
Issue 93 (Winter 2005-2006) was headlined "Governor Signs Equal Access Bill" an article by Howard about the passage of Senate Bill 361, the bill that gives homeschoolers access to public school activities. It also included an article by Peter Hrycenko relating the history of the equal access bill, the remarks delivered by Governor Rendell when he signed the equal access bill, and an article, "In Loving Memory of Michael and Cathryn Borden" by Susan, the homeschooling parents murdered by a homeschooled student in Lititz, Lancaster County..
Issue 94 (Spring 2006) was headlined "Military Ends Recruitment Discrimination" an article by Howard about the provision giving homeschoolers preferred status among those without school diplomas. It also included articles by Howard about PA House Hearings on Cyber-Charter Funding" (including enrollment charts) and the PA House passage of a bill that would reduce superintendent oversight over homeschoolers in PA. There was also an article by Susan "What About a 'Gap Year' Before College, about Hannah's year in Israel.
Issue 95 (Summer 2006) was headlined "Judge Upholds PA Home Education Law: HSLDA Suit Flops in Federal Court" an article by Howard about the initial failure of the Home School Legal Defense Association's challenge to the constitutionality of the PA Home Education Law. It also included an article by Howard, "Bill Introduced to Limit Cyber-Charter Growth" and an article by Susan "Lighting a Fire", about motivating our children.
Issue 96 (Fall 2006) was headlined "New: Artificial Intelligence Tutor for High School Math" an article by Howard about the Cognitive Tutor math courses. It also included an article by Howard, "Lynn Swann would Simplify Property Tax and Limit its Growth", an article by Carol Lugg School sports and Extra-curriculars since the Law Change, and an article by Susan "Lessons learned from knotweed and wild raspberries" about taking out the weeds and appreciating opportunities in our homeschooling.
Issue 97 (Winter 2006-2007) was headlined "Neely Spence wins Cross Country Championship" an article by Howard about Shippensburg homeschooler Neely Spence. It also included an article by Howard, "Homeschoolers Improve in TerraNova Language Scores as they Get Older" and an article by Susan, "To Use a Calculator or not to use a Calculator -- Is that the Question?".
Issue 98 (Spring 2007) was headlined "Scholarship to Benefit Homeschool Students Endowed at Penn State!" an article by Howard about one of the first scholarships ever endowed just for homeschoolers. It also included an article by Susan, "Advanced Placement Audit Process" about the new requirement imposed by the college board so that Advanced Placement courses can be listed as such on high school transcripts.
Issue 99 (Summer 2007) was headlined "Tributes to DAD! Readers share how dad helps homeschooling" an article with contributions from Laura Heitzer, Suzanne Troll, Ellen Stewart, Eleanor Joyce and kids, Beverly Gray, Pamela Cockley, and Molly Richman Inspektor in honor of father's day. It also included a letter from the editor (Susan) about the new look of this issue and First Steps: Finding the Right Support by Patricia Richman about the first steps that we parents take with our children in the early years of homeschooling. (Click here to see the Table of Contents)
Issue 100 (Fall 2007) was headlined "Looking Back on 25 Years of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers" in which Susan Richman reflects on a quarter century of publishing the newsletter. It also included an article by Howard Richman about proposals in Harrisburg to reduce cyber-charter funding and growth, and an article by Patricia Richman "First Steps: More Teachers" considering ways that outside teachers can enrich her homeschooling program. (Click here to see the Table of Contents)
Issue 101 (Winter 2007-2008) was headlined "Fun and Games: How they can help kids learn!" in which Susan Richman describes the ways that game playing can be central to our learning at home. It also included an article by Howard Richman Private Home Ed Levels while Total Home Ed Grows about trends in the numbers of homeschoolers in Pennsylvania, and an article by Patricia Richman "First Steps: Having Fun" considering ways to insure that "fun" has a place in her homeschooling, and an article by Jesse Richman about how Patricia uses the Homeschoolers Journal to be better organized. (Click here to see the Table of Contents)