Homeschooling in Florida is actually super easy. There are a few ways to sign up as a homeschool family, one being the school board and another through an umbrella school.
Signing up through the school board requires you to send in a Letter of Intent to Homeschool. You can find a sample letter here. You only have to send this letter in for each student the first year that you homeschool. You are not required to keep track of hours, days, curriculum, etc. but I liked to keep a journal/schedule just to include in the portfolio. (Home Schools District Contacts)
An annual evaluation is required for each student. This means that you need to keep a portfolio of work through the year for each child to show progress throughout the school year. A certified teacher must perform the evaluation. Ours were super easy, from a look at the portfolio & a few simple questions to a reading test. You are responsible for finding this certified teacher and most of them do charge a fee. Our last eval for the school board before switching to an umbrella school was through Sunshine Homeschool Evaluations (SunnyEvals). It was completed through Skype & was much more relaxed for everyone.
If you unschool, you can easily keep pictures in a scrapbook, crafts, anything that the shows that the child was learning together in a box to show to the evaluator.
An umbrella or cover school provides an alternative way for parents to fulfill educational guidelines and requirements. You do not have to submit a Notice of Intent to the Superintendent, undergo an annual evaluation nor comply with any other part of the home education statutes. They vary greatly in what they offer and cost. Some offer group classes, a defined curriculum, sports, field trips, standardized testing, and more. Others exist only to collect the minimal legal requirements, allowing parents to choose their curriculum and methods of teaching, as well as freedom from an annual evaluation or testing requirements. Additionally, some umbrella schools follow a specific faith, while others are secular.
The responsibilities of umbrella schools vary from state to state. Many states require schools to collect immunization and attendance records, and similar records as required for any publicly run school. Often umbrella schools operate under the same legal guidelines as independent schools.
- Hillcrest Academy Free School – a private school designed for home educated students grades K-12. They are listed at the Florida Department of Education website in the Directory of Private Schools, as required of all private schools in Florida, under Santa Rosa County. Even though they are located in Santa Rosa County, they provide an “umbrella” to members in all counties within the state of Florida FREE of charge. (We are signed up under them!)
- For a complete list of umbrella schools head to a2zhomeschooling!
Florida Virtual School (FLVS)
Whether you decide to sign up under the school board or an umbrella school, you still have the option to use FLVS free of charge. You can use it as your complete curriculum or use a course here and there as you see fit. Hillcrest Academy Free School allows us to sign up for FLVS but check your umbrella school if you chose another one instead for their details.
Florida Homeschool Info
- FLDOE (Florida Dept. of Education) – Home Education
- Homeschooling in Florida – Florida Laws Regulating Home Education
- HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) – State Law Info
- FPEA (FL Parent-Educators Association) – exists solely to serve homeschooling families in Florida. It executes that mission through support for the legal right to homeschool, local school board education and interaction, support group networking, a state convention, local conferences and events, informative communications, and individual encouragement, all in accordance with Judeo-Christian principles.