9 Simple Rules for Homeschooling
Being a parent can be tough! However, being a student’s principal, school counselor, teacher, custodian, cafeteria worker, and bus driver can be just as tough. When you choose to homeschool your child in the state of Florida, you are taking on many additional hats and full control of your child’s education.
Do you know the “8 simple rules” of homeschooling in Florida?
1. Register with your county home education office.
While home education is a parent-directed education option that meets the requirement for school attendance, you must register your student with your county of residence to follow state laws. All students in Florida must be in school until the age of 16 and your student must be registered with a school of record. This can be a homeschool program, public or private school. Becoming a home education student is simple; parents must send in a Notice of Intent within 30 days of starting Home Education. Many counties have their own form that parents can choose to use, or they can send in a letter with the student’s full name, birthdate, address, and parent’s signature.
2. Choose a curriculum to use with your student.
There are hundreds of curriculum options that parents can choose from! From textbook-based curriculum, co-cop formats, dual enrollment, and FLVS Flex courses, your student’s education is guided by you! If this intimidates you, many families choose to utilize FLVS Flex courses for their curriculum as FLVS offers a fully-accredited, public school curriculum taught by Florida certified teachers. Your students will meet all Florida state standards, have official transcripts from FLVS, and a team of school counselors to help guide you in this educational adventure.
3. Student scholarship recipients
Scholarship recipients enrolled in FLVS courses are responsible for tuition and direct payment to FLVS if scholarship funds are depleted. By law, charges will apply to courses the student is enrolled in and/or registered for at the time the scholarship becomes effective, including any courses started before but completed after the scholarship’s effective date.
Please visit the School Choice Scholarships website for more information and frequently asked questions.
4. Maintain a portfolio of educational records.
Even for parents who choose FLVS Flex courses for a student’s curriculum, the home education parent oversees his or her student’s educational records. With FLVS Flex, this is easy! To maintain a portfolio for FLVS courses taken, simply:
- Make sure you save samples of the work you turn in. It doesn’t have to be everything, just samples of written assignments and tests for each module.
- Before you take the midterm and final exams, print / copy the grade book and save it in a file.
- Save the Final Grade Report you receive via email at the end of the segment.
A home education parent must be able to provide this portfolio for inspection to the school district superintendent within 15 days of written notice. While they don’t often ask to see this, it’s important to stay on top of your student’s records. This portfolio must be kept for two years.
5. Submit annual evaluations within one year of registering.
Annual Evaluations must be submitted on or before the anniversary of registering as a home education student. While every county can be a bit different about what they would like to have submitted, many home ed offices accept the FLVS transcript. Official FLVS transcripts can be requested from the FLVS website or an unofficial transcript can be printed directly from a student/parent’s account.
Per the Florida Department of Education (DOE) website, here are the ways that an Annual Evaluation can be met:
- A Florida certified teacher chosen by the parent may evaluate the child’s progress based on a review of the portfolio and discussion with the student.
- The student may take any nationally-normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher.
- The student may take a state student assessment test at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district.
- The student maybe evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license pursuant to section 490.003 (7) or (8), F.S.
- The student may be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.
Many home ed offices allow the FLVS transcript for the annual evaluation!
6. Be an active part of your student’s education.
While we want all students to be self-motivated and able to work on their own, this is only the case for some. When parents choose FLVS Flex courses, they choose to abide by the FLVS handbook. With Flex courses, students must submit 3-4 assignments per course per week, maintain contact with their teachers, and abide by all academic integrity standards. As a parent, you can help organize your student for success! Check into your parent account weekly to review your student’s gradebook and view emails from their teachers. When students have a team of adults behind them, they are more likely to be successful.
7. Understand homeschool laws and plan for the future.
Home education students in the state of Florida do not receive a traditional diploma. Instead, homeschool parents can issue a diploma and complete a homeschool affidavit in front of a notary to legalize their student’s graduation. While home education students are not required to take state standardized testing, they should still plan to plan to take the Algebra I End-of-Course Exam (EOC) and 10th grade English Language Arts (ELA) if they are going back to public school. Students can also work to earn a concordant scores on these tests as well. The DOE website also provides information on the graduation requirements for Florida’s statewide assessments. With official FLVS transcripts, test scores (SAT/ACT/PERT) and the homeschool affidavit, students can go onto college, earn Bright Futures Scholarships, etc.! As every college/university is a bit different, it’s important that parents and students research what is needed for admission to the school of their dreams.
8. Reach out for support.
Are you thinking of having your homeschool student return to a public school and want to make sure they are on track for an easy transition? While home ed students are not required to take state standardized testing, they should still plan to plan to take the Algebra I End-of-Course Exam (EOC) and 10th grade Florida Standards Assessment for English Language Arts (FSA ELA) if they are going back to public school. Do you have questions on financial aid and scholarships? Home Education students who use FLVS Flex courses have access to a Florida certified professional school counselor to answer all these questions! Every student is different and has different goals, but you are not alone. With FLVS, you have a team to help you!
9. Update your student’s status when complete or transitioning.
Just as you must register your student for home education and complete your evaluation annually, you must terminate your student’s home education program when complete. If your student transitions back to a public/private school, moves out of the county, or completes courses for graduation, you must terminate your home ed program with the county. This is simply done by another letter to the home ed office in your county.
Homeschooling your student can be incredibly rewarding! Having the flexibility to do what is best for your child’s education is truly a gift. By following these eight simple rules, you and your student will be able to navigate home education in Florida.