It’s a common question. But how does homeschooling work in Florida? Here are some of the details you need to know about your options for educating your child at home in this state.
If you’ve ever wondered how homeschooling works in Florida, it may help to know that there are several different ways parents can educate their children at home and that its own regulations govern each.
Teachers must provide instruction during public school hours in many states, including Florida. However, the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires districts to make “adequate yearly progress” on standardized tests and for students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014 or face sanctions.
As parents seek more flexibility with their children’s education, they have a variety of options when it comes to teaching them at home. Some families choose private schools while others opt for homeschooling.
Other alternatives might appeal to the parent who wants an alternative educational experience for her child.
Here’s what you need to know about homeschooling in Florida.
Homeschool Law FAQ
Before we dive into the specifics of homeschooling options in Florida, first let’s take a look at the general laws concerning home schooling in the Sunshine State.
The Florida Department of Education has outlined the basics of Florida homeschool law. To begin, parents must enroll their home-based student in a traditional public school. They must file official forms with the appropriate district office. Parents cannot teach their own child at home unless they’re certified as a teacher. If you do go ahead and become certified as a teacher, you’ll need to register with the state before you start teaching.
“There are no formal requirements for homeschoolers,” explains Dr. David Gabbard, Executive Director of the National Association of Scholars. “A parent need not be a professional educator in order to homeschool.”
Although there are no formal requirements for homeschoolers, parents should ensure that their children are enrolled in a curriculum consistent with the standards adopted by the Florida Standards Assessment Program (FLSAP) and that their students are taking the assessments.
Parents can only homeschool one kid per year. You can homeschool up to five kids under 16 years old if they all attend public school at the same time. If you want to homeschool more than five kids, you will need to apply for a waiver from Florida’s department of education.
Florida homeschool law doesn’t require parental consent for a child to receive medical treatment or psychotherapy. This means you don’t even need a doctor’s note to administer medication to your child at home.
Florida State Requirements For Home Schooling
Before you can legally homeschool in Florida, you’ll need to complete a number of steps. These include completing the enrollment paperwork for your child at a public school, obtaining a teaching certificate, and submitting a report card to the Florida Department of Education if your child attends a public school.
First off, parents must enroll their child in a public school. You need to fill out the application form provided by the school and submit it to the principal’s office along with any documentation supporting your claim.
Once you’ve completed the paperwork, you’ll need to request a copy of your child’s test scores and send them with the application to the principal’s office. The principal then needs to forward the application to the local school district superintendent.
Once you’ve been approved to homeschool. You’ll need to obtain a teaching certificate through the Florida Department of Education. The process involves taking a course, passing a written exam, and paying fees.
You’ll need to show proof that you’ve successfully passed the Florida Teacher Certification Exam in order to qualify for certification. You can do this online or through a private provider. After you pass the exam, you’ll need to pay $50 for a teaching license for the upcoming year. The fee covers the cost of maintaining your certification.
Now that you’ve obtained a teaching credential, you’ll need to file a home study report every six months with the Florida Department of Education. This includes a list of your home-based classes and the grade level of each subject taught. It also requires you to file attendance reports of your students and other information.
What Are Some Common Homeschool Curricula?
Now that you understand the legal framework surrounding homeschooling, here are some examples of common curriculums used today.
Full-time homeschooling: A full-time homeschooler is someone who teaches their child at home on a daily basis. Most often, a full-time homeschooling parent will have his or her child enrolled in three or four school subjects throughout the day.
Partial homeschooling: A partial homeschooler usually works part-time while teaching their child at home. Part-time means that they spend less than 25 percent of their days teaching their child. Many parents prefer this option because it allows them to keep their jobs while still meeting the demands of homeschooling their children.
Vacation homeschooling: Vacation homeschooling refers to those parents who homeschool their kids during the summer months. Summer vacation homeschooling is often done to accommodate a family’s schedule. Many parents find it easier to homeschool their children during the summer months since they won’t have to worry about working during the school year.
Independent study/homebound: Independent study is when a child’s lessons come from outside sources such as books and websites. Homebound learning occurs when a child completes his or her lessons at home but goes to school elsewhere for extra training and testing.
Virtual homeschooling: Virtual homeschooling is similar to independent study. Instead of having your child learn from outside resources, you use virtual tools to deliver lessons to your child. Virtual teaching is most commonly used by those who need flexibility with scheduling.
Is Homeschooling Legal?
Yes! It’s perfectly legal in Florida to homeschool your child. The only caveat is that you will need to meet specific requirements outlined above. If you aren’t currently following these guidelines, you could run afoul of the law if the Department of Education decides to investigate.
Home-Schooling Options For Students With Disabilities
Most people think of homeschooling when they hear the words “special needs.” However, there are several other types of disabilities that you should consider when deciding whether or not to homeschool.
For instance, a person with autism spectrum disorder may require more support from a special education teacher than a typical student. That said, homeschooling isn’t necessarily right for everyone.
Other Common Questions About Homeschooling And The FLDS
Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about homeschooling in Florida, it’s important that you ask yourself some questions.
Do you want to homeschool your child based on religious beliefs?
Are you concerned about the safety of your child?
Would you like to give your child the chance to compete with their peers in sports or academic activities?