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Questions About Homeschooling in Florida

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Here are a few frequently asked questions about homeschooling in Florida.  For more detailed information, please see our Homeschooling in Florida how-to guide.  For more FAQs, visit the Florida School Choice website.

General Questions About Homeschooling in Florida

Here are some quick answers to common questions asked about homeschooling in Florida.  For a few quick FAQs about establishing a homes education program, see FAQs About Establishing and Maintaining a Home Education Program in Florida. You can read more detailed information about homeschooling in Florida in our articles section.

What is homeschooling?

Homeschooling simply means that children are getting their education at home, as opposed to getting their education at a public or private school. According to the definition under Florida Statute 1002.01(1), a “home education program” means the sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent in order to satisfy the attendance requirements of Florida Statute 1002.41, 1003.01(13), and 1003.21(1).  In a nut-shell, homeschooling is a parent-directed educational option that satisfies the compulsory attendance requirements defined in the Florida Statutes.

Who can homeschool?

Any parent who complies with the reporting, record keeping, and student evaluation requirements specified in Florida Statute 1002.41 may conduct a home education program.

Do I need to be a certified teacher?

No. The parent is not required to be a certified teacher.

Am I allowed to homeschool children besides my own?

As stated above, any parent who complies with the requirements specified in Florida Statute 1002.41 may conduct a home education program.  According to the definition under Florida Statute 1000.21(5) , a “Parent” is either or both parents of a student, any guardian of a student, any person in a parental relationship to a student, or any person exercising supervisory authority over a student in place of the parent.

What are Florida's school attendance requirements?

 The compulsory school attendance laws apply to all children between the ages of 6 and 16 years.  More specifically, Florida Statute 1003.21(1) states that all children who have attained the age of 6 years or who will have attained the age of 6 years by February 1 of any school year or who are older than 6 years of age but who have not attained the age of 16 years are required to attend school regularly during the entire school term. Children who will have attained the age of 5 years on or before September 1 of the school year are eligible for admission to public kindergartens during that school year.

What about homeschooling Kindergarten?

Kindergarten is not required. Additionally, district schools are not required to accept a letter of intent to homeschool kindergarten, although most district schools will. District schools do require that children have satisfactorily completed the requirements for kindergarten, however, before they will allow children to enter into a district school for first grade. 

Are there any specific daily or hourly attendance requirements?

 No. There are no daily or hourly attendance requirements for students in a home education program. Should you choose to educate your children at home under the umbrella of a private school, however, your child will be required to regularly attend school for 180 days of each school year.

How do I provide "sequentially progressive instruction?"

There are several ways to direct a home education program. You may instruct your child yourself, enroll your child in a virtual school program, enroll your child in courses part time in a public or private school, hire a private tutor, enroll your child in correspondence courses, enroll your child in a community college through a dual enrollment or early admissions program, or any other means that provides sequentially progressive instruction directed by you. See also Florida Home Education Options.

Will my child have to take the FCAT?

No. Your child does not have to take the FCAT. Your child may participate in the appropriate grade-level statewide assessments if they are used as your chosen measure of yearly educational progress. See The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for more information.

Will my child have to take End of Course assessments?

No. Your child is not required to take End-of-Course assessments. Your child may participate in the appropriate grade-level statewide assessments if they are used as your chosen measure of yearly educational progress. See The Florida Department of Education, Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do school districts provide instructional materials?

Not usually. There is no law requiring district schools to provide instructional materials to home educated students. Some district schools do offer discarded textbooks and instructional materials to homeschoolers at little or no cost.

May my child participate in local district courses?

Some district schools have a part-time enrollment policy and will allow homeschoolers to enroll in certain courses or attend summer school, but district schools are not required to do so.

Will my child be able to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities offered at public schools?

Yes. Florida Statute 1006.15 requires that homeschooled students be given the same opportunity to participate in "inter-scholastic extracurricular activities" as public school students and prohibits any requirements that would make participation less accessible for homeschooled students.

Will my child be able to take courses at Florida Virtual School?

Yes. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is a public online school that provides tuition-free middle and high school courses to Florida students. To enroll your child in courses at FLVS as a homeschooler, you must provide FLVS with verification from your district school that your child is registered in a home education program. See also Taking Courses at Florida Virtual School.

Will my child be able to take dual enrollment courses?

Yes. Your child may take dual enrollment courses at your local community college or university or, if your district school has a part-time enrollment policy and offers dual enrollment courses on campus, at your zoned district high school.  For more information see Florida Statute 1007.271.

Will my child get a diploma?

No. However, you can award one to your child yourself or your child may take the General Educational Development (GED) test at an education center and be awarded a Florida GED diploma if your child receives a passing score.

FAQs About Establishing and Maintaining a Home Education Program in Florida

Here are some quick answers to common questions asked about establishing and maintaining a home education program in Florida.  For a few quick FAQs about homeschooling in Florida, see General Questions About Homeschooling in Florida. You can read more detailed information about homeschooling in Florida in our articles section.

How do I establish a home education program?

As required by Florida Statute 1002.41, to establish and maintain a home education program you must send a written notice of intent to the district school; maintain, make available, and preserve a portfolio of records; provide an annual educational evaluation for your child's educational process to your district school superintendent; and submit a letter of termination upon completion of your home education program or change of residence. See also Establishing a Homeschool Program in Florida.

What is a Notice of Intent?

As required by Florida Statute 1002.41(a), you must notify your district school superintendent of your intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice must be in writing, signed by you, and include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children being enrolled as students in your home education program. You must file this notice in your district school superintendent’s office  within 30 days of establishing your home education program . Your district school may have an optional form you can download on their website, or you can download a sample notice of intent here.

What are portfolios?

A portfolio can be a simple as a three-ring binder.  Your portfolio needs to consist of a chronological log of educational activities and instruction, including a list of any reading materials used and samples of your child's work.  More specifically, as specified by Florida Statute 1002.41(b), a log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used; and samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. See also Portfolio Requirements for Florida Homeschoolers.

How long do I have to keep my portfolio?

  Florida Statutes require that you preserve your portfolio for 2 years.

Who do I have to make my portfolio available to?

  You have to make it available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent’s agent, upon 15 days’ written notice, however, nothing requires the district school superintendent to actually inspect it. You may also need to make it available to the person conducting your child's annual evaluation.

How is my child evaluated?

Your child must be evaluated once a year to document educational progress at a level equivalent to his or her abilities. You select the method of evaluation and file a copy of the evaluation with your district school superintendent's office. As required under Florida Statute 1002.41(c), the evaluation must consist of one of the following:

  1. You may choose a Florida certified teacher to evaluate your child's educational progress through review of your portfolio and discussion with your child;
  2.  Your child may take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
  3.  Your child may take a state student assessment test used by the district school and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the district school;
  4.  Your child may be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8); or
  5.   Your child may be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by your district school superintendent.

How do we end our home education program?

Whether you move to a different county, move out of the state of Florida, have decided to enroll your child in a public school, have enrolled your child in a private or umbrella school, or your child has graduated from your home education program, you must file a written notice of termination of your home education program in the district school superintendent’s office within 30 days after said termination. Your district school may have an optional form you can download on their website, or you can download a sample notice of termination here.  

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