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Getting Started in Homeschooling in Florida

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File a Notice of Intent

The first step in starting a home school program is to file a Notice of Intent with the Superintendent of Schools for the public school district you live in. The Florida Statues states:

"The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. "

Many school districts have forms on their websites that you may choose to use to file your Intent, but they are not required. Any information beyond the information listed above is not required.

Also be sure to file within the 30 day period to avoid any possible truancy issues. It is a good idea to send the letter of intent by certified mail so that you have proof of your timely filing.

You must file a notice for each child you will be homeschooling who will be six years old or older on February 1 of the school year you are filing for. This is different then the September 1 age requirement for starting Kindergarten. So if your child turns 6 after February 1st of the current school year, then you are not required to file for that year. However, if you are planning on enrolling your child in first grade the following year, then you should file a notice in order to prove satisfactory completion of a kindergarten program prior to first grade, since Kindergarten is required in Florida.

Note: When terminating your homeschool program.. "A written notice of termination of the home education program shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days after said termination."

Portfolio of Records

Once you start in a homeschool program, you are required to maintain a portfolio of records.

The Florida Statue states:
"The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall consist of the following:
1.  A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used.
2.  Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. 
The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years and shall be made available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent's agent, upon 15 days' written notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district school superintendent to inspect the portfolio.

Keeping your records

Your log should consists of educational activities and reading materials used. The log can be as simple as notes on a calendar or as elaborate as a spreadsheet with daily work, reading logs, and activities.

Samples show the work and progress of your child throughout the year. It also helps to have samples for your end of year evaluation.

Portfolio Inspections

The superintendent can choose to review your portfolio at any time and for any reason with a 15 day advance notice in writing. Keep in mind that the Superintendent can only verify that a portfolio exists and that you have complied with the law by maintaining it, but does not have the authority to grade or evaluate your portfolio. In fact, the review should not include questions of your child's abilities or accomplishments and it is not required that you or the child be present.

Annual Evaluation

You must file an annual evaluation on or before the anniversary of the date on your Notice of Intent.

The Florida Statue states:

The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student's demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent's office in the county in which the student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist of one of the following:
1.  A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level;
Note: most homeschoolers opt for this option. There are alot of homeschooling parents who are certified teachers and you can easily find these through a local support group or organization. Any elementary or secondary teacher can perform this evaluation.
2.  The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
Note: most teachers who administer this test can submit an evaluation (option 1) rather than the actual test scores to the superintendent.
3.  The student shall 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;
Note: This is the FCAT and is not recommended as the results are sent to the Superintendent of your county before you see them.
4.  The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003
(7) or (8); or
5.  The student shall 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.

Make your evaluation letter brief and include the same basic information as your letter of intent along with a statement that your child is performing at a level commensurate with their ability signed by a certified teacher or licensed psychologist.







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