When it comes to a child’s education, there are many different things to consider. If, as a parent, you feel that your child would be better educated in the home, you are entitled to homeschool your child provided that you follow the laws and requirements for home education. Each state’s laws are different, but all conform to the nationwide standard for education among the children of our society. In Florida, as in many states, the parent is not required to have a teaching certificate, but there are many regulations that need to be followed.
Getting Started with Florida Homeschooling
When you decide to homeschool a child in Florida, you must notify the school district superintendent of your intentions in writing. The letter must include names, addresses, and birthdates of the children who will be enrolled in home education and must be filed within 30 days of beginning the homeschooling process. The same process must be completed if you decide to stop homeschooling your children, and the letter again must be filed within 30 days of the termination of the home education program. You will also be required to have an annual educational evaluation of your child or children, which is to be performed by a licensed teacher within the State of Florida. If you are teaching elementary grades, an elementary teacher will be needed for the evaluation; and if you are teaching secondary grades, you will need to have the evaluation performed by a secondary teacher.
Home Education Requirements in the State of Florida - Regulations and Basic Operation
All children that are 6 years or older, or who will be 6 years old by February 1 st of the school year, are required to attend regular school until the age of 16 as a minimum requirement. There is a required attendance of 180 days of education for each school year, which can be achieved through teaching the equivalent hours of home education at your own discretion. While traditional school runs from August until May or June in most cases, you can teach your homeschooled children whenever you see fit, as long as you meet the mandated 180-day attendance requirement. You must maintain a portfolio of your home education program. This should include all lesson plans, reading materials, workbooks and other materials used during instruction. Also, you must keep a record of attendance and log the hours of education for each day, week, month, and year.
What You Should Teach with Home Education – Finding Materials and Meeting Guidelines
The materials you need to educate your children are not required to be given to you by the school district. You can obtain them on your own by ordering them through the Florida State Book Depository. Your school district can provide you with contact information for this option. There are also online curriculum guides from which you can order educational materials, or you can find local or state-based support groups that will help you choose the right materials. As for knowing what to teach, you will focus on basic subjects that are required by the state laws, but there are no requirements for elementary education beyond a successful annual evaluation or standardized test. High school students are required to complete 24 credits of specified education in order to qualify for graduation, including various English, Math, History, Science, Art, and other subjects. You can find the exact requirements for graduation at the State of Florida website with full descriptions of acceptable alternatives and what the classes should teach.
Florida Homeschool Education Laws – Other Important Elements
There are many things that you need to learn when you decide to homeschool your child. However, there are also many homeschool support groups out there that can take the technicalities out of home education and help you understand where to start and what to teach. As with most home education programs, as long as you meet the mandated achievement points throughout the educational process, how you teach and what you teach is largely up to you. You can obtain forms, books, tests, and other resources online or from your local library. While the process may seem complex and full of regulations, it can be fairly simple if you take it one step at a time and reach out to others who homeschool their children for help.
Photo By Andrew Scott