Home Schooling In Florida – Guide to Florida Home School Requirements

Are you thinking of home schooling your child or children in Florida? Wondering what the requirements are and how to get started? It’s really not as scary as you may think. Florida is actually a pretty easy state to begin home schooling in.

Home education, as defined by Florida law, is “sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy the requirements of Statute 1003.21 and 1002.41.” Florida’s home schooling law is broad giving parents almost unending freedom in educating their children.

Basically there are six requirements that must be met to Florida home school.

1. Notify the District School Superintendent in your county of your intention to home school. The notice of intent must be filed with the superintendent’s office within 30 days of beginning your home school program.

Currently there is no “official form” that is used to supply notice but your written (or typed) letter of intent should include at the bare minimum the following information; Name of child (or children), Birthday of each child named, Address and a Parent’s Signature. It is recommended that you send your letter of intent via certified or priority mail and file the receipt as proof in your child’s portfolio.

2. Maintain a portfolio of records. While there is no proper or “official” way to record your child’s home schooling progress you must maintain a portfolio of records. The portfolio must consist of two main parts; Documented Records and Sample Materials. Documented Records is defined as “A log of educational activities which is made contemporaneously (the documentation should occur at the same time as the instruction) with the instruction and which designates by title any reading materials used.”

Florida home schooling law does not require lessons to be planned or approved in advance. Sample Materials is defined as “Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student.” Showcasing your child’s “sample materials” can be accomplished in various ways. Keep in mind that whichever method you adopt to showcase your sample materials they need to be organized in chronological order for ease in showing educational progress. More elaboration on this topic in the future… hopefully.

3. Keep your portfolio organized and available. Florida home schooling law requires you to make your portfolio “available for inspection by the superintendent or the superintendent’s agent, upon 15 days’ written notice.” The last thing you will want to do is be scrambling around trying to remember what you did when for the last 3 months and what was the name of those books you read again…. The inspection is only to make sure that the portfolio is legal; the superintendent cannot evaluate its contents.

4. Submit your Annual Evaluation. The law requires an annual education evaluation by a Florida-certified teacher of your choosing. You are required to have your child or children tested annually and submit the evaluation to the superintendent’s office no later than one year from your letter of intent date.

Alternatives to having an evaluation performed include; any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher, a state student assessment test, a psychological evaluation or any other method mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.

5. Hang on to those Portfolios, your going to need them. Florida home schooling law dictates that “The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for two years.” Enough said.

6. Submit your Notice of Termination. If you decide to no longer home educate under 1002.41, move from the county, enroll your child in a public or private institution or if your child graduates or completes the Florida home school program you must file a letter of termination with the superintendent. The notice of termination should include the same information as the letter of intent and should be filed within 30 days of the date or termination.

7. Relax. Okay I know we said there were only six requirements but this one is worth mentioning. As long as there have been parents and children, “home schooling” has been happening. Today an estimated 1.6-2.0 million children are being taught at home by their parents. By grade 8, the average home school student performs four grade levels above the national average.

Research has found that most homeschooled students are involved in a wide variety of outside activities, interact with a broad spectrum of people, and make positive contributions to their communities. Experience has shown that homeschoolers are well socialized and able to make lasting friendships across age and cultural divides.

Painless right? We promised it wasn’t that bad and now that you have all of your legal bases covered you can concentrate on enjoying the home schooling experience and enriching the lives of your children through learning. Now all that’s left is to decide on a curriculum… Decisions… Decisions…

5 Points To Take Into Account When Moving Your Child From A Public School And Into A Home School

If you find that your child is struggling in a public school and is becoming more downcast as time goes by then home schooling may be an option which you should look at. However, be prepared for a transition period after removing the child from the public school system before diving into ‘full-time’ home schooling.

If your child is currently in public school then you must begin by determining your state’s home schooling laws. Ensure that you are able to comply with all of your state’s requirements before you take any action. Once you are happy that you can meet all of the requirements of the state you should contact your child’s school and inform them that you are removing. If you do not formally remove your child then this may lead to truancy issues in the future. You should also be ready for them to ask questions and possibly to resist your action.

The process for the withdrawal of your child will depend on where you live however it will frequently mean simply writing a letter to the superintendent of schools. You will need to state that you have elected to home school your child. You will also have to provide proof that you are adhering to the laws of the state and are legally allowed to remove your child from school. If you can quote sections of the state regulations in your letter then this will help to show that you are familiar with the law and with your rights to home school your child.

After you have dealt with the formalities you will then need to think about the following:

1. Your child is no longer a prisoner of the rules of the public school system and will need to be permitted some time to get used to the change. As a result, you should not rush into schooling but should let your child have a bit of time to adjust to this new lifestyle.

2. Permit yourselves a little time to get to know one another. You might think that you know your child however it is quite possible that you do not know him at all. You may discover that there are areas of your child’s character which you never knew existed and he could also discover a few new things about you too.

3. You might notice that your child continues to do a few things which he has become accustomed to doing at school. A few new home school children will raise their hand when they want to ask a question or when they have to use the restroom. It might take a little time but those school habits will eventually disappear.

4. Try to hang on to some of the better habits which he has acquired. If, for instance, your child is in the habit of having spelling tests on a particular day then add this into your home schooling schedule. If you permit him to stop doing all of the things he has grown used to in public school then you might end up with more problems than you solve.

5. Take the time to enjoy the process of home schooling with your child. Electing to home school is of course primarily for the student however it should also be enjoyable for you. Try not to take yourself too seriously and cut yourself some slack and have fun. Perhaps most important of all do not forget why you decided to home school and enjoy the freedom which home schooling affords.

Home School Your Children?

More and more parents are choosing to home school their children. They do so for a variety of reasons. Some feel they can give their children a better education at home, that the uniform teaching methods required for classes of 30 or 40 students do not sufficiently account for each student’s different learning styles and aptitudes.

Others home school for religious reasons, preferring to include religious information in the curriculum, which is not found in public schools. Still others prefer to inform their children about various education topics from their own point of view, rather than what they would receive in public schools. Some parents may be choosing home schooling because they fear for their children’s safety. We do hear many reports of violence in our schools.

Obviously, home schooling is not new. Public schools are really the new kid on the block. According to Patrick Farenga, in his article “A Brief History of Homeschooling,” compulsory education, as we know it, is less than 200 years old. He points out that education used to be handled by parents, the church and the occasional tutor for special subjects. He also mentions that education was intentionally left up to parents by our founding fathers. There is no mention of it in the Declaration, Bill of Rights or the Constitution of the United States.

Farenga dates the current trend toward home schooling from the 1970’s, particularly from a book called “Deschooling Society,” written by Ivan Illich that year. You can find his article at www.hsc.org [http://www.hsc.org/professionals/briefhistory.php], which features many, such articles and resources for home schooling. There is also a page of home schooling jokes. Some of them are hilarious.

If you are considering home schooling your own children, you can find many more resources on the web. There are articles, curriculums, stories from other parents, textbook recommendations, school projects, and more. Home schooling families usually interact with other home schooling families so that children do get social time with other children. They may get together to put on a play, practice music or learn a sport.

It seems like there is a good chance that home schooling is a trend that will only increase over the coming years. Check hslda.org for information on home schooling laws in your home st