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Homeschool Option Details (Florida)

By definition, a home education program is “sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy the requirements of the state Statute.” The student must be “registered” with the public school superintendent in the county in which the student resides. The parent or guardian is not required to be a certified teacher, nor does the law require any other educational qualifications in order to teach your children at home. As the parent or guardian, you must be your child’s primary instructor and the supervisor of his or her education. Although supplementary instruction through other sources is permissible, if someone else becomes the primary instructor of your child, whether in your home or not, and the instruction is taking place on a day-to-day, consistent basis, then the instructor must hold a valid Florida teaching certificate in the subjects and grades in which he or she is teaching. This type of teaching is “A Private Tutor Program.”

Your Six Responsibilities Under the Home School Act (Florida)

1) Send a notice of intent to your district school superintendent.

The notice is a simple letter stating who the parent(s) are, names, date of birth, and grades of all students you will be teaching at home. Although there is no formal requirement defining the format of the "Letter of Intent," most counties in Florida have a ready-made form. It is sometimes hard to find on the district web site, but we have found a few. You can download the "Letter of Intent" for several central Florida Counties below:

Letter of Intent Hillsborough County Florida.pdf
Letter of Intent Orange County FL.pdf
Letter of Intent Pasco County FL.pdf
Letter of Intent Pinellas County FL.pdf
Letter of Intent Polk County FL.pdf
Letter of Intent Seminole County FL.pdf

2) Maintain a portfolio of records.

The requirement is to maintain a portfolio; the legislature did not set guidelines as to format or substance. Some support groups and individual entrepreneurs actively market portfolio kits, but, generally speaking, if you take at least weekly samples of course work in all core subjects and put them in a file folder with a copy of
title and index pages of the curriculum text, you will have all the legislature intended. (Core subjects include, at minimum: English, math, social studies and science, but writing, spelling, etc. should be added.)

3) Make your portfolio available for inspection upon a 15-day written notice.

If your county requests an inspection, they must mail you a notice at least 15 days ahead of time. It should be noted here that the state law in no way gives the county the right to tell you what books to use or the substance of those subjects, except in cases of truancy oversight. Even if the county does not approve of the curriculum choices you have made, they cannot force you to stop homeschooling or change curriculum unless it can prove by a standardized test that your child is not making academic progress. Even then, they have to put you on probation for one year to give you a chance to make progress. Most counties understand they have little or no control over the rights of a parent. All homeschooling families should prayerfully consider joining Homeschool Legal Defense to keep it that way.

4) Submit an annual evaluation for each student.

For each child enrolled with the county you must submit one of the following:

1) A nationally normed, standardized test that the county will accept. (All counties accept the FCAT, but many do not make it available.) Polk County will also accept any state-approved standardized test. The Stanford 10, or the BASI are examples of acceptable tests. FFCA offers the BASI in April every year. Each county can decide what test they will accept, so check with your county before scheduling testing.
2) A state certified teacher evaluation. The teacher does not have to teach the grade your student is in and can use any evaluation method or combination of methods he chooses, i.e. test, portfolio review, etc.
3) The third option is any method that is mutually agreed upon between the county and the parents.

5) Preserve your child’s portfolio for two years.

Even though the county has not asked to see your portfolio, you must keep it for two years.

6) Submit a letter of termination.

If you do not send the letter when your student has completed all schooling, or has enrolled in a public or private school, or if moving from the county, your student can lose his right to drive and be denied the right to homeschool in the future, even if he was in a regular school all the time. We found a few "Letters of Termination"

Letter of Termination Hillsborough County FL.pdf
Letter of Termination Orange County FL.pdf
Letter of Termination Pasco County FL.pdf
Letter of Termination Pinellas County FL.pdf
Letter of Termination Seminole County FL.pdf