What Are the Laws on Homeschooling in Florida?


Florida is one of the easiest states in which to homeschool. This post outlines the options available to you under Florida homeschool laws.
Original Photo Credit

What Are the Florida Homeschool Laws?


Thinking of homeschooling in Florida? 


Usually, the first thing a parent wants to know is the laws.
  • How do I comply with Florida homeschool laws? 
  • What are the requirements?
  • What do I need to provide to the county or state?
  • Does my child have to be tested each year?
Once upon a time, I asked these same questions. The only answers I received came directly from the county school board. Many years passed before I learned there were other answers. There were other options available to me besides registering with the school board and submitting annual reviews or tests.

I've put together this post in the hope that I'll help others understand that there are, in fact, other options. You may still choose the school board as your option for homeschooling, but at least you will do so with full knowledge of the other choices available to you.


Here is a simple explanation of the laws governing homeschooling in Florida.

Florida Homeschool Attendance Laws

Compulsory Attendance - According to Florida Statutes § 1003.21(1), “All children who have attained the age of 6 years or who will have attained the age of 6 years by February 1 of any school year or who are older than 6 years of age but who have not attained the age of 16 years, except as otherwise provided, are required to attend school regularly during the entire school term. 

In other words, if you're child is turning six years old February 1 of any school year, they are required to be in 'school' for that year. They are required to attend school until they are 16 years old. 

Required Days of Instruction - Florida Statutes § 1003.02(1)(g)(1) requires students to attend 180 days per year. 

This requirement does not apply to those who choose to homeschool under the county Home Education Program (option #1 below) according to Fla. Stat. § 1002.41(3).

Legal Options for Homeschools in Florida


Florida provides several options to families who want to homeschool. 

Many parents beginning their homeschool journey in Florida are unaware of the various legal options available to them. Typically, parents call their local school board for information, never realizing the school board only presents the option that places families under the authority of the school board. 

Homeschooling parents have other options. 

Option #1: The Home Education Program - Fla. Stat. § 1002.01(1) 

A family may participate in the Home Education Program (HEP). The HEP is a department within the local school board in any Florida county. 

The parent choosing this option must:

1. Submit a letter of intent to the superintendent of the local school board. Usually this form can be found on the local school board's website, but can also be obtained by phone request. 

2. Maintain a portfolio which contains
  • a log of educational activities made contemporaneously with the instruction, which includes the names of the books and textbooks used listed by title
  • Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student
This portfolio must be saved for 2 years. Should the superintendent request to review it, the parent must make it available upon receiving a 15-day notice from the superintendent. 

3. Submit an annual evaluation to the superintendent. 

There are several types of evaluations from which to choose. 
  • A teacher selected by the parent may evaluate the student’s educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. The teacher must hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level;
  • The student may take any nationally standardized student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
  • The student may take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district;
  • The student may be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8); or 
  • The student may be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student’s parent.
“The district school superintendent shall review and accept the results of the annual educational evaluation….If the pupil does not demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability, the district school superintendent shall notify the parent, in writing…. The parent shall have 1 year…. to provide remedial instruction to the student.” At the end of the 1 year probationary period, the student’s annual evaluation has to verify that he or she has shown “educational progress commensurate with her or his ability.” Fla. Stat. § 1002.41(2).

Option #2: Private School Enrollment - Fla. Stat. § 1002.01(2)

Students using this option are not considered 'homeschool students' in Florida. They are as much students of the private school as any other child is a student of public school. Because it is a school, parents are not required to maintain any of the records required as in the Home Education Program (above). 

The only obligation private schools have (yes, even traditional brick-n-mortar private schools) is to submit attendance of the students to the Department of Education. These students must attend 180 days per year. 

Note: The Florida Department of Education states that private schools are businesses in Florida and therefore treated as such. They hold an occupational license and must comply with business laws. 

“Private schools are not subject to school definitions and requirements specified in education statutes and they are not under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education.” (Source)

A list of private schools can be found at this private school directory which lists all private schools in Florida. Here is a list of private schools specifically serving homeschoolers

Each private school has it's own offerings, requirements and fees. Some are free and simply require the parent to submit attendance. Check around to find what suits your family.

Option #3: Private Tutor/Teacher - Fla Stat. § 1002.43

Parents may hire a private tutor as long as the tutor:

1. Holds a valid Florida certificate to teach the subjects or grades in which instruction is given;
2. Keeps all records and makes all reports required by the state and district school board; and
3. Requires students to be in actual attendance for 180 days or the equivalent on an hourly basis.




Need more homeschool assistance? 


Need more homeschooling information? I'll deliver it to your inbox each week! Just subscribe here.

Happy Homeschooling!

2 comments

  1. We just moved to fl and this is our first year homeschooling. Im terrified im not keeping good enough records. Any advice on where to find a lesson plan and curriculum for first grade? I was told I have to meet with the homeschool board ??? about my record keeping. -Aubrey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aubrey,
      If someone is telling you that you must meet with the homeschool board, they're mistaken or lying. What records you keep, curriculum you choose, etc is completely up to you. If you would like accurate information, contact me or schedule a consultation.

      Delete

Join the conversation!

Latest Instagrams

© The Heart of Michelle. Design by FCD.