Florida Homeschool Laws

General Overview of the Homeschooling Laws in Florida

Children in Florida need to be educated from the school year in which they reach 6 years old on or before February 1. This education needs to continue until they reach at least the age of 16. This can be achieved by going to school or through a homeschool education. The way in which this is controlled is through Statute 1003.01 (13), which lays out the terms in which children in the state need to be educated.

Notification of Intent to Homeschool in Florida

When the child reaches school age, the parents must notify the school district superintendent in writing if they intend to carry out homeschooling. This must be done within 30 days of the start date of their homeschooling program. The letter that is sent has to cover the name, address, and birthdate of the child who is to be educated in this way.

Here are a few facts about Homeschool in Flordia:

Florida laws state that this notification has to be accepted by the authorities and that no more information is needed from the family. In addition, a written notice confirming the termination of the home education needs to be filed with the district school superintendent’s office within no more than 30 days following the termination of the program.

Qualifications Required to Homeschool in Florida

Parents who homeschool their children don’t need to be qualified teachers, as is the case in some other states. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the student does have to be evaluated every year, to confirm that their educational progress to date is satisfactory. This annual assessment can be done by a teacher holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate or by taking any nationally normed student achievement test that is properly administered by a teacher that is certified.

There are other evaluation options available, such as using a Florida-licensed psychologist or school psychologist to do this. A suitable alternative evaluation tool can also be agreed upon by the school authorities and the parent.

Number of Days/Hours of Instruction Required for Homeschoolers in Florida

There is no fixed limit in place for the number of weekly hours of study that are needed for each student being educated at home in Florida. However, the overall state regulation states that a minimum of 180 days of teaching is required in each school year. This number of days can be split up throughout the year in any way that student and their parent choose. This means that there is no need to follow the same school year that Florida schools use if this doesn’t suit.

What Subjects Need to be Covered in Home Education (and for how long) in Florida?

Homeschooling students should aim to cover the same subjects and curriculum that are taken in the state’s schools. Current curriculum guides can be obtained from the student’s school district. Books and other materials can be ordered directly from the Florida State Book Depository as needed, as they won’t be supplied by a school. Support groups and online curriculum guides can also be used to ensure that the correct subjects are all covered. More specific requirements begin in high school, with 24 credits needed in certain core subjects like English, math, history, and science. The state of Florida website gives fuller details on the subjects needed for graduation.

What are the Recordkeeping Requirements for Homeschoolers in Florida?

It is important for parents to keep a properly documented portfolio for each school year that is completed.  This must contain a complete record of the educational activities and the details of the reading material that was used by the student during that time.

There should also be samples of the student’s work in respect of writing, workbooks, and any other relevant material that has been used.

This portfolio should be completed at the same time that studying is carried out. It then needs to be kept for a full 2 years after completion.

The district school superintendent or appropriate authority can ask to see these records by giving 15 days’ notice given to the parent.

Is Part-time Enrollment Permitted in Florida?

Florida secondary students can take advantage of the state’s dual enrollment program that aims to lower the time necessary to complete high school requirements and a postsecondary degree, as well as increase the depth of study. A standard of requirements for the dual enrollment program applies to all students. This includes meeting the minimum GPA requirements and passing the appropriate section of the college placement test.

Are Homeschoolers Permitted to Participate in Extracurricular Activities in Florida?

Public schools in Florida are obligated to allow homeschoolers in their area to join in with extracurricular activities such as sports. Schools have the option of allowing non-local homeschoolers to take part in their extracurricular activities. Eligibility for these activities includes maintaining satisfactory conduct and having a grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.

To receive more information about the homeschooling laws in the State of Florida, you may want to visit the  Florida Parent-Educators Association website.

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