Q. There is a difference between a “home educated student” and a student who is registered with an umbrella school, is that correct?
Yes. That is correct. If you sign your student up with your local county school board office, they are considered “home educated students”. If you sign your child up with an umbrella school, they are considered private schooled students.
Q. What are umbrella schools?
Umbrella schools are private schools which vary in cost and substance. If you are interested in this option, we would love you to register with Life Learning Academy, our umbrella school option. Homeschooled students who are registered with private umbrella schools are considered as private schooled students, and not home educated students in the eyes of the state. Different rules apply.
Q. If I sign up under an umbrella school am I free to use my own curriculum?
Yes, in most cases. Umbrella schools vary widely in their requirements and their offerings. Please do your research before you make a decision. If you’d like a unique, “no frills” umbrella, we invite you to check out our umbrella school Life Learning Academy.
Q. I think I’d rather register my kids with our county school board office. What paperwork is required in order to register as a home educated student in Florida?
You will need to send a letter of intent to homeschool to the school board office in the county in which you reside. You must send this in within 30 days of beginning your homeschooling program if your children have previously been enrolled in school.
If you are just starting out, you must send in your intent letter for your child who turns 6 sometime between the beginning of the school year and February 1st.
Q. Do I need to keep attendance records?
If your kids are registered with your county school board office as “home educated students” then you do not need to keep attendance records. If your kids are signed up under umbrella schools, attendance records will be required.
Q. Do I have to use a certain state-approved curriculum?
No, you may use whatever you wish. Homeschoolers enjoy a wide range of choices and you can mix and match and take an eclectic approach if that is more your style.
Q. Does my child have to take the FSA?
Homeschoolers are not required to take any type of standardized state or nationally-normed test, however, they may if you desire. Call your school district if you are interested in your children taking the state standardized test. See our related links page for more information on testing.
Q. How do I know if my child is making adequate progress?
You have different options for the end of the year evaluations in Florida. Most people either choose to have their students tested, or they choose a portfolio review. Only you can decide which one is right for you and your child. It is my strong opinion that a portfolio review provides much broader, deeper insight into your child’s progress than a nationally-normed test taken on one day in their homeschool year. Competent evaluators who have had experience educating children can tell a lot about the child’s academic, emotional, and social development simply by talking with them and looking at their work over a period of time.
Q. What does a portfolio review consist of?
Q. What are homeschool co-ops?
Homeschool co-ops vary in size and scope. Homeschool co-ops provide support, friendship and inspiration. Many co-ops plan regular outings which are posted online and you can pick and choose which ones you’d like to attend.
Some of our local co-ops offer structured classes for a fee while others are more free-form and meet only for socializing and support a few times a month.
The best way to find a local homeschool co-op is to ask around at local parks, libraries, or do a simple google or Facebook search. Some co-ops still communicate via yahoo groups, so you might want to search there too.
Q. Can I use Florida Virtual School?
Yes, however, there are a couple of different ways to use FLVS. Many homeschoolers use the FLVS Flex program, which is their part-time program. You are free to pick and choose which courses you’d like your homeschooled student to take. Under the FLEX program, you may start a course at any time during the year. Please note that FLVS also has a full-time program. This is different, and students are required to follow all of the rules that public-schooled students follow such as schedule and testing.
Q. How can I sign up my child for dual-enrollment with our local college?
We are fortunate to have this option for our children! For more information, please contact your local school board office and/or your local college. Please note: to qualify for dual-enrollment, you must have your child registered as a home-educated student with your county school board office. Students who are registered under umbrella schools are not eligible for dual-enrollment.
Q. What if I stop homeschooling?
Send a letter of termination to your superintendent’s office within 30 days of the time you stop your homeschooling program.
County School Board Links
The following is a list of links for each specific county in the Central Florida Region and beyond. If you do not see your county listed, please search for it on the Internet. School Boards are changing and updating all the time. Most counties in Florida have an Internet presence, however, if you can’t find your county through a search, call them for the information you need.