Have you considered homeschooling your child? If so, we have some resources to help you prepare to embark on this journey. The Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) is an organization that releases information regarding homeschooling in the state of Florida and can provide helpful information. The FPEA provides families with information on finding local support groups in their area which disseminate information and organize field trips and extracurricular activities for your child (Florida Parent Educators Association, 2017). If you are concerned about your ability to homeschool your child, there is no need to worry. As a parent, you are not required to be a certified teacher or have credentials in the field of education (Florida Parent Educators Association, 2018).
There are, however, six steps to begin the homeschooling process.
1. According to the Florida Statute 1002.41, all families who choose to pursue homeschooling should begin by notifying their district superintendent in writing 30 days prior to beginning instruction (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2017). This will ensure that children are not marked absent when they have begun their homeschooling. The FPEA has a sample form for the letter of intent to begin homeschooling on their website and can help parents identify in which district they are located.
2. After beginning a homeschooling program, caregivers must keep records of instructional material presented and progress made each year (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2018). This portfolio must be kept in chronological order and contain examples of materials addressed in your instruction, such as worksheets or workbooks (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2017).
3. The superintendent may request your portfolio to review its contents. You should be able to provide your log within 15 days of receiving a written request (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2017).
4. In addition, an annual evaluation or your portfolio must be submitted to the superintendent’s office by the anniversary of your letter of intent (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2017).
5. The student’s portfolio should be kept for at least two years (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2018).
6. If you choose to terminate your child’s home education program, you should submit a letter of termination within 30 days (Florida Department of Education, 2018; Florida Parent Educators Association, 2017). This may occur when the student enrolls in public or private school or if you choose to leave the country. The FPEA has a sample notice of termination on their website to assist you in this process.
Parents can also enroll their children in an Umbrella School. An Umbrella School is a private school that will assist parents in selecting curricula and managing enrollment and attendance while still providing instruction at home (Time4Learning, 2018). It should be noted that your child would not qualify as a homeschooled student if they are enrolled in an Umbrella School. Because of the change in classification, parents do not need to inform the district of their intent to begin home schooling or submit an annual evaluation (Time4Learning, 2018). In addition, students will be able to participate in field trips and testing and have access to a network of children educated at home in your area. Some things to consider regarding Umbrella Schools is their requirement for health examinations and immunizations as well as their ability to select curricula to review in your home (Time4Learning, 2018). Time4Learning provides a detailed list of questions to ask Umbrella Schools you may be considering for enrollment and provide additional resources for homeschooling.
What happens if you suspect your child may have a disability? If you feel that your child may be diagnosed with a disability, you can contact your school district’s exceptional education office and request an evaluation (Florida Department of Education). The district should complete the evaluation within 60 school days and a meeting should be scheduled to review the evaluation results and determine eligibility. This meeting can assist you in deciding whether or not your child should participate in public school instruction part-time or remain homeschooled full time.
Some of our families choose to homeschool their children so that they have more flexibility in their day. For example, some children come to us for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services during the day instead of attending school. Families may feel that a one on one setting is more conducive to learning for their child and prefer to have them attend therapy sessions instead of school. Parents then review the homeschooling curriculum with their children after therapy sessions are over. Throughout the ABA sessions we can work on key foundational skills, such as remaining seated and completing work independently. Our PEAK curriculum also has some goals which align with common core, such as learning to label and identify money. For more information on selecting the appropriate environment for your child, please check out our blog covering this topic. We hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Florida Department of Education. (n.d.). Home Education and Exceptional Student Education Services. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/other-school-choice-options/home-edu/
Florida Department of Education. (2018). Requirements. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/other-school-choice-options/home-edu/requirements.stml
Florida Parent Educators Association. (2017). Starting Point. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from https://fpea.com/webforms/download-your-starting-point
Florida Parent Educators Association. (2018). Florida Homeschool Requirements. Retrieved November 19, 2018, from https://fpea.com/homeschooling/requirements
Time4Learning. (2018). Florida Homeschool Umbrella Schools. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from https://www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/florida/umbrella-schools.html