Father working with his daughter on homeschooling
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By Michael Tupper
Attorney at Law

Being the parent of a child with special needs can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. It is challenging since the education of a child with special needs requires additional time, money, and effort. You have probably seen that your child may take longer to grasp a subject or require a specialized learning environment. On the other hand, few things can be more rewarding than seeing your beloved child grow and thrive as he or she learns. It may take them a little longer, but it is certainly worth the effort. 

One thing that we have seen in recent years is a growing number of parents who have decided to homeschool their special needs children. This comes with its own challenges but, if you take the right steps, you can overcome the challenges and create a wonderful learning environment at home for your child. Your special education attorney can help represent you, and get your child the services he or she requires. 

Here are some of the challenges you may encounter, as well as helpful advice on how to overcome them.

Costs of Homeschooling

Many parents, including those with special needs children, are concerned about the expenses involved in homeschooling. This can be a costly endeavor, especially if you are a parent with modest means. The good news is that Governor Ron DeSantis enacted one of the most expansive school choice laws last March. Under the law, parents who comply with state guidelines for homeschooling can receive a voucher to pay for homeschooling resources. The voucher is equal to the amount your local public school would have received if your child was enrolled and attending. This allows you to cover the expenses you will incur in homeschooling.

For parents of special needs children, these funds will provide immeasurable help with your expenses. This can cover such things as assistive technology devices, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and spoken-language specialists for your child.

Three Ways for Homeschooling in Florida

Florida provides three different ways parents can go about homeschooling their children. The first is by establishing a home education program. This is where the parent registers their child with the state as being “home educated,” and then agrees to meet specific state requirements for such areas as record keeping and tracking their child’s academic progress. The second is by registering the child with a local private umbrella school. This will allow you to homeschool your child while complying with the record-keeping and academic requirements of the private school. You will coordinate these with the private school administration. When you do this, you can use your school choice voucher to pay for the private umbrella school’s tuition. The final way is by hiring a private tutor to teach your child in your home. Florida requires such homeschool tutors to hold a current Florida teaching certificate. You can use a portion of your voucher to pay the tutor’s fees.

Specific Special Needs Matters and IEP’s

Each child is unique, and this is certainly the case with respect to special needs children. For example, the needs of a child with dyslexia will be different from those on the autism spectrum or those with Down syndrome. If your child has auditory disorders or is visually impaired, you will need to take certain steps to address this in your homeschooling environment. 

Fortunately, there are resources you can get from your local district or a private umbrella school if you have chosen to enroll your child in one. You can apply for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child at the local district. This will be used to address the educational needs of your child and the special educational services that will be used to achieve the goals set forth in the IEP. This includes testing and evaluation services. 

If You Have a Child With Special Needs and Are Considering Homeschooling, Call Our Firm Today

Your special needs child is entitled to a quality education that addresses his or her specific conditions. The experienced special education attorneys at Tupper Law, P.A., will help you get the services you need from the state and your local school district so you can create a supportive homeschool environment for your child with special needs.

About the Author
Michael Tupper is an experienced and skilled attorney from Jacksonville, FL, and is the driving force behind Tupper Law P.A. With an illustrious career spanning several years, he has established himself as a reliable and skilled legal advisor and representative across various disciplines. Having obtained his license to practice law in the State of Florida in 2004, Michael has consistently catered to the legal needs of Northeast Florida, encompassing Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. His unwavering commitment to delivering timely, personalized, and proficient services reflects his dedication to providing the highest level of professional assistance.