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Homeschooling in Florida
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I am a Florida girl. I have lived in the Sunshine State since I was two years old. I love our sunny weather, our beautiful beaches, theme parks, and how simple it is to homeschool in Florida.

 

I started my homeschool journey 15 years ago. At first, I was a little nervous about homeschooling. I soon discovered that Florida is a great state to homeschool in because of the many resources and support available to homeschool families.









 

In Florida, there are three options under which you can legally homeschool: homeschooling under the homeschool statute, homeschooling under a private school "umbrella" program, or homeschooling with a private tutor. Let's take a closer look at each of the options.  

 

Homeschooling Under the Homeschool Statute: 

 

First, you must file a notice of intent with the county superintendent within 30 days of beginning your homeschool program. You do not need to file this every year. This notice must include your student's name, birth dates, and address. Upon receiving the notice of intent, the superintendent will accept the notice and register your home education program. This date will become your homeschool anniversary date by which your annual evaluation will need to be submitted.

 

Secondly, you will need to maintain a portfolio. A portfolio is a log of educational activities, samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, and creative materials used by your student. You must keep this portfolio for two years after it is completed.  

Next, you will need to submit an annual educational evaluation of your student by your homeschool anniversary date.

 

The home-education law provides five evaluation options:

 

  • An individual evaluation by a Florida-certified teacher of your choice.
  • Any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher of your choice.
  • A state student assessment test.
  • A psychological evaluation.
  • Any other method mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.

 

The last step is the notice of termination. When your student completes their homeschool program, you should submit a notice of termination to the county within 30 days of completion.

 

Homeschooling Under a Private School "Umbrella" Program:

 

The second option to homeschool in Florida is homeschooling under a private school or an umbrella program. You can enroll your child in a private school or "umbrella" or "cover" school that will oversee your homeschool program. The Florida Department of Education has a directory of private schools that meet the state requirements.  Florida Private School Directory

 

Homeschooling with a Private Tutor:

 

The last option to homeschool in Florida is homeschooling with a private tutor. The state allows you, the parent, to select a private tutor to teach your child. Your child's instructor must follow these requirements: 

  • Hold a valid Florida certificate to teach in the state. 
  • Keep records and make reports as required by the state and district school board.
  • Provide the 180 days of instruction required by the state.

 

Resources:

 

Some resources on homeschooling in the state of Florida that I found helpful were: 

FPEA: The purpose of The Florida Parent-Educators Association is to serve homeschooling families in Florida. Their mission is to defend the right to homeschool, host a state convention and homeschool graduation ceremony, and provide information and encouragement to homeschool families. To find your Florida County, go here: FPEA County Districts. You can find lots of helpful information about your local school district, homeschooling groups, and co-ops. 

 

HSLDA: Homeschool Legal Defense was founded in 1983. They provide legal support, homeschooling consultation, and resources for homeschool families. For more resources on homeschooling in the state of Florida, check out HSLDA Getting Started.

Florida Department of Education Home Education Dept: FLDOE 

In 1985, laws protecting Home Education in Florida were passed. These laws gave parents the freedom to determine their child's educational path and allows students to learn at their own pace. Home education students in Florida are eligible to participate in the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. According to the FLDOE, there are more than 84,000 students in approximately 58,000 families registered in Home Education Programs throughout Florida. 

Home Education Foundation: HEF is an organization established in 1991 to support and lobby for homeschool families in Florida. Their mission is to protect existing homeschool rights and future legislation. 

I am thankful for all of these organizations that support homeschool families in the state of Florida. 

 

Field Trips in Florida









          

Homeschooling in the Sunshine state is lots of fun too! The beautiful weather allows us to enjoy many outdoor activities year-round. 

Florida offers many educational field trip opportunities that you can take advantage of, including beautiful beaches, national parks, museums, and theme parks. Here is a list of educational and fun fieldtrips divided by Florida's regions. To help you get started and search by counties, check out the Florida Homeschool Fieldtrip Directory

Fieldtrips in Florida’s Panhandle:

  • Arcadia Mill Archaeological Site — The 19th century will come to life for your homeschoolers at this historical site that includes the Museum of Commerce, the Museum of Industry, the Pensacola Children’s Museum and a Colonial Archaeological Trail.
  • Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna — Visit the only Florida state park that offers cave tours to the public. You’ll learn about stalagmites, stalactites, columns, and flowstone on your guided tour.

Fieldtrips in North Florida:

  • The Daytona 500 Experience, Daytona Beach — STEM principles come to life when students get a chance to learn the physics behind the thrilling sport of motor racing. This behind-the-scenes view of the world’s only motorsports stadium will have homeschoolers ready for the races.
  • Augustine Historic Forts & the Fountain of Youth - History comes to life when you

explore the nation's oldest city.   Drink from Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth, and step inside the walls of Castillo de San Marco and hear cannons fly and attend live reenactments. 









     Fieldtrips in Central Florida:

  • Legoland Florida – Get ready for a for a brick-tastic time at Legoland Florida’s Homeschool days.
  • Gatorland – The Alligator Capital of the World® offers homeschool days every year during the months of September, October, January and February. Students will explore the 110-acre wild preserve, theme park, and see over 2,000 alligators and crocodiles in their natural habitat.
  • Disney World – Disney Youth and Education programs at the Happiest place on Earth. Spark creativity and unlock the potential within your students.  Disney Youth and Educational programs offer valuable learning experiences that harness the power of Disney storytelling and the magic of Disney parks.
  • Kennedy Space Center – Exploration meets education at the Kennedy Space Center. There are special homeschool rates.  Inspire the next generation of space explorers.

Fieldtrips in South Florida:

  • Everglades National Park — Offers homeschoolers the opportunity to go hiking, canoeing, and even camping through the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The ecosystem of the Everglades provides the perfect setting to study everything from animal habitats to plant diversity.
  • Zoo Miami - Zoo Miami is the largest zoo in Florida and the fifth largest in the United States. It is the only sub-tropical zoo in the continental U.S.  The unique climate in South Florida allows for a wide variety of animals representing a broad mix of species that is unlike any other zoo in the country.

Fieldtrips in the Florida Keys:

  • Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key — Get up and close with dolphins when you visit this rescue and research facility. Learn about marine animals and their ocean environment.
  • The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West — One of America’s most famous authors lived and wrote at this location for over 10 years.  






Homeschooling in Florida these past 15 years has been such an exciting journey for our family. We have enjoyed the freedom of choosing our curriculum. BJU Press Homeschool curriculum gave us the tools that we needed to homeschool successfully. We have been part of our local homeschool groups, which provided my children with numerous activities and field trips with their peers.

 

My kids have also excelled in music, art, and sports programs within our community. There are so many wonderful opportunities available to homeschool families in the Sunshine State, which gave our children a rich and well-rounded education. We are so thankful for our journey of homeschooling in Florida. We hope you come to love yours too!



Meet the Author


Jessie Johns - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant
www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Jessie-Johns


 

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