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…