How to Homeschool in Florida and Florida Homeschool Laws

By Dr. Jon

State laws change from time to time and though we try to keep the laws up-to-date at all times please check with the department of education for any changes that may have occurred.

You live in Florida and you’re considering educating your child at home, or perhaps you plan to move to Florida and want to continue offering your children the best home-based education; if you want to know how to start homeschooling in Florida, you’ve come to the right place! Read on and you’ll find specific details related to Florida homeschool laws, tips on how to choose among the many homeschooling options available and, to make sure you’ll be informed all the way, a selection of the best Florida-related homeschooling websites. Use the infographic and video below for step-by-step information to create a homeschool that thrives.

Homeschool in Florida

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Homeschooling in The Sunshine State

When Juan Ponce de Leon first arrived in this beautiful state in 1513, Easter was only six days past. He named it Florida, as in Pascua Florida (Feast of Flowers”), the Spanish name for Easter.

He was spot-on in choosing this name, too: with over 3,000 different sorts of wildflower, Florida is the third most diverse state in terms of flora, and its fauna is no less impressive. The Sunshine State is home to the beautiful manatee and the Florida panther, and the Everglades National Park is the only place in the world where you can see alligators and crocodiles together. In other words, if your children are into biology, you’ve got plenty of live resources right at your doorstep!

Not only is Florida endowed with some of the most impressive landscapes and extraordinary wildife, but it’s also one of the most popular tourist attractions in America. It’s famous for its golf courses (it’s got the most in all US!) and for its stunning tropical beaches.

Unsurprisingly, the beautiful landscape and the plethora of holiday possibilities attracted a variety of cultures, making it one of America’s most active melting pots. And people seem to love this – almost half of the residents consider Florida to be the best state to live in.

Florida Homeschool Laws

If you consider homeschooling your children in The Sunshine State, you’ll need first to get acquainted with the Florida homeschool requirements.

The legal system offers you three options: the typical homeschool, the umbrella school, and private tutoring.

Homeschooling your children the traditional way is pretty straightforward: you have to send in the names, birth dates and addresses of your children to the local superintendent a month before beginning to homeschool. You only have to do this once, so you don’t have to worry about annual paper pushing. Once you start homeschooling your children, you are required to keep a portfolio of your children’s work, and you need to be able to make it available for inspection within 15 days from the request date. When it comes to assessing our children, you’ve got a decent range of options, from taking a nationally normed test to having a certified teacher assess your children separately. You can find more on the assessment process here:

You don’t need to worry about showing formal proof of qualification or sticking to a compulsory curriculum – there are no state laws on that.

Opting for an umbrella school is quite popular in Florida, as well. This means that your children will be enrolled in a private school, but you will still educate them at home. The regulations are pretty similar to the ones described above, but there will be differences among the specific policies of different schools.

You can also employ certified private tutors, who will also keep a separate portfolio of your children’s work and progress. As with the umbrella school, they will be required to offer your children 180 days of instruction, or the hourly equivalent.

Homeschool in Florida: Final Grade

The Sunshine State gets a C when it comes to homeschooling. This doesn’t necessarily means that getting started in your homeschool journey is particulary difficultl, but you still need to do a minimum amount of paperwork at the beginning, and you do need to keep track of your children’s progress. However, considering that you might want to do that anyway – there’s virtually no better way to track progress than using a portfolio – the homeschooling laws in Florida are only minimal.

Conclusion

There’s really no major difficulty regarding the legal homeschooling requirements in Florida. While there are some legal procedures that you need to follow, they are pretty sensible and, apart from the intial notification, they don’t ask for anything that you wouldn’t normally do. So, to reap the educational benefits of the beautiful Florida weather and the gorgeous natural wonders, don’t hesitate and start homeschooling now – you and your children will benefit immensely!

Resources:

http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/current-policy/

http://www.homeschoolinflorida.com/ - this site offers great information on the details of starting your homeschool in Florida, and it also provides assessment services;

http://www.raisingaselfreliantchild.com/ - another great site with information tailor-suited for Florida homeschooling;

http://foreverforalwaysnomatterwhat.com/home-education - a family’s journey getting used to homeschooling in Florida;

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