Homeschooling in Florida laws is the set-out rules that are guiding Homeschooling in Florida.
Homeschooling is defined as an alternative and minority educational method. It is the education of children inside the home, instead of the school.
While homeschooling can be done by an outside teacher or tutor, it is most commonly done by the parents.
90% of the time, the mother does the majority of schooling, while the father is the main breadwinner.
Homeschooling can be for religious, academic, social, physical and other reasons. This often happens when parents think that they are able to school their children more effectively than schools do.
Other times when parents are dissatisfied with the educational progress their child is making, especially when special needs or disabled children are involved.
Other parents are concerned about the bullying and violence issues their wards might be facing in school.
Also, a lot of religious parents believe schools are not teaching their children their religious beliefs or worldview, and as a result, they decide to homeschool.
Parents in rural areas are more likely to homeschool, due to travel issues.
Many missionaries in foreign countries homeschool due to location, language and cultural difficulties.
There are many other reasons people homeschool and thus be searching for homeschooling in Florida laws.
The 20 homeschooling in Florida laws in this article are not listed serially, therefore you will pick out these laws while you read this article carefully.
More on homeschooling in Florida Laws
Homeschooling sometimes can be a wiser educational choice than a mainstream school for a variety of reasons.
The biggest factor in this is due to ‘interest based’ learning. That is, children are able to follow interests that are close to their heart, provided parents assent to their choices.
Children having an interest in a subject means children will learn more and enjoy their work more.
If children are learning more, they will generally receive higher marks. Therefore, homeschooled children are not necessarily smarter than other children; rather they just have been allowed to follow their interests, and therefore have more knowledge that is going to stick.
Lately, homeschooling has been increasing in popularity. It has increased more than 75% in the United States in the last 10 years, with about 4% of school-aged children being homeschooled in the US (~2.5 million).
Homeschooling in Florida Laws
In Florida, there are three options under which you can legally homeschool.
After choosing the option you wish to use, follow the steps listed below it. Under each option, you will find the homeschooling in Florida laws guiding each.
- Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statue
- Option 2: Homeschooling under a private school “umbrella” program
- Option 3: Homeschooling with a private tutor
Option 1: Within 30 days of beginning your homeschool program, you must file a notice of intent to establish a home education program with the county superintendent
If you have chosen option one, then you must do the following:
- A. File a notice of intent to homeschool
- B. Maintain a portfolio
- Evaluate your student annually
- D. File a notice of termination
Now let us look at them in detail.
A. File a notice of intent to homeschool
Within 30 days of beginning your homeschool program, you must file a notice of intent to establish a home education program with the county superintendent.
You do not need to file this every year.
The notice must include the full leal names addresses, and birth dates of your homeschool students.
HSLDA members may use our attorney-designed notice of intent form.
The state law requires the superintendent to accept the notice and immediately register the home education program.
The school district cannot require any additional information unless the student decides to participate in a public school program or service.
No grade level may be assigned and a Social Security number (or other personal information of the student) cannot be included in any state or district database unless the student decides to participate in that public school program or service.
B. Maintain a portfolio
Throughout the year, you must keep a portfolio of records and materials. Contained in the portfolio must be:
- a log of educational activities made contemporaneously with the instruction, with a list of the titles of any reading materials used, and
- samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, creative materials, etc., used or developed by the student.
You must keep this portfolio for two years after it is completed.
The district school superintendent or his or her agent can but is not required to, review your portfolio only after 15 days of written notice.
Evaluate your student annually
Each student must be evaluated by one of the following options every year:
1) You can have the educational progress evaluated by a teacher who is holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate and selected by the parent.
The evaluation must review of portfolio and discussion with the student;
2) Take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
3) The student must take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administer by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district;
4) The student must be evaluated by a Florida licensed psychologist or school psychologist; or
5) Be “evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon.”
There is a sample evaluation form that is available for members on this page.
Click here to learn more about your testing and evaluation options.
D. File a notice of termination
Now when your student has completed their homeschool program, or when your family moves out of the county, you should submit a notice of termination to the county superintendent of schools within 30 days of completion of the homeschool program.
Furthermore, you will also need to submit a copy of your child’s annual assessment along with the notice of termination when your child graduates from high school.
If you begin homeschooling in a different county in Florida, you should submit a new notice of intent.
While no assessment should be necessary when you move to a new county in the middle of the school year, it is suggested that you provide your annual assessment if the move occurs near your anniversary date.
A sample notice of termination is available for members on this page.
Option 2: Homeschooling under a private school “umbrella” program
You can enrol your child in a private school that is registered with the Florida Department of Education and that will oversee your homeschool program.
Such private schools are referred to as “umbrella” or “cover” schools because your homeschool program is supervised by them rather than overseen by local school officials.
As a parent, it is your responsibility as the parent to ensure that the school in which you enrol your student is in compliance with all private school requirements mandated by the state of Florida.
You can see the Florida Private School Directory on the Florida Department of Education website.
Option 3: Homeschooling with a private tutor
If you have chosen the homeschooling with a private tutor option, then you must do the following:
- A. Select a private tutor to teach your child
- B. Keep records
- C. Provide the required days of instruction
Your child’s instructor must hold a valid Florida certificate to teach the subjects or grades in which instruction is given.
The certified teacher who is tutoring your child must keep records and make reports as required by the state and district school boards in accordance with Florida Statutes 1003.23.
Students must be in attendance for 180 days (or the equivalent on an hourly basis).
Homeschooling vs Unschooling
When parents make the conscious decision to not send their children to schools, but instead choose to educate them in the home environment, that simply is homeschooling.
Parents usually work around a flexible syllabus based on their motivation as they usually do not follow a specific curriculum or pedagogy.
On the other hand, Unschooling comes from the area of thought that moves entirely away from any defined curriculum.
Parents of unschooling do not believe in the concept of ‘teaching’, rather they allow students to learn through life experiences and activities that the child chooses to involve in.
Students who are unschooled might not be able to pursue higher education.
What are your thoughts about homeschooling in Florida laws?