Mother working with her daughter on homeschooling curriculum
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By Michael Tupper
Attorney at Law

With the adoption of school choice in Florida last year, an increasing number of parents now have the financial ability to homeschool their children if this is their desire. School choice allows a parent to apply to have the funds earmarked for their child’s public school education redirected to a voucher for private school tuition or to fund homeschooling.

For many parents, choosing home education, Florida’s official term for homeschooling is an excellent option. In fact, over 150,000 other Floridians have made the choice of home education for their kids. However, it is vital that you comply with all of the applicable rules and regulations applicable to Florida. Choosing a curriculum can help facilitate this process.

What Are the Requirements for Homeschooling in Florida?

Florida does not have many requirements for homeschooling your child. In fact, there are only three things you need to do. First, you have to file a letter of intent with your school district. This needs to be done within 30 days of when you plan to begin homeschooling. The letter of intent must set forth the name, address, and birth date of each child who will be six years or older by February 1 of the current school and will be participating in your home education program. It must also be signed by you as a parent. This document only needs to be submitted once.

You will also need to maintain a portfolio of records and materials. This serves as a record of each student’s accomplishments during the year. The goal is to demonstrate the child’s progress in the chosen curriculum. Each portfolio must consist of two different items: samples of the student’s work and an educational log of activities and reading materials. The samples are representative works of each student, like essays, worksheets, and projects. The educational log records all activities, like classes, field trips, and reading materials. This portfolio must be maintained for at least two years. Parents can use it for a homeschool evaluation by a certified teacher. The portfolio must be provided to the superintendent of your local school district within 15 days of receipt of a written request.

The final requirement is an annual evaluation. This must be submitted in writing to the superintendent of your school district each year. This is a written progress report for each student that you are homeschooling. There are five ways to complete this. You can have the student take a nationally normed standardized test proctored by a Florida-certified teacher. You can have a Florida-certified teacher review the portfolio, meet with the child, and complete the evaluation. This is the most common method. The student can take a state assessment test at the local school. You can ask a licensed psychologist to evaluate the student. This can also be done by the local school psychologist. Finally, you can agree to use a valid measurement tool suggested by your school district. 

Does Florida Require a Specific Curriculum?

This is one of the most flexible things about home education in Florida. The parent has the flexibility to choose the curriculum for the child. The rules specifically state that “Florida does not require any specific curricula or even specific credits for high school. You are free to select the materials and courses best suited for your children.” However, it is a good idea to have a curriculum for homeschooling as this will help you complete the portfolio and evaluation requirements.

There are a number of different organizations that provide homeschooling curricula. Each of these has its own pros and cons. In addition, you are free to craft your own curriculum for your child or build one using different aspects of a number of the available programs. It really comes down to the educational philosophy you embrace and what you believe will work best with your child. Still, you should keep in mind that the curriculum you choose will affect the learning environment, your child’s progress, and the annual evaluation.

If You Are Considering Homeschooling Your Child, Let Our Jacksonville Education Attorneys Help Guide You Through the Process

Homeschooling allows you the flexibility of setting a learning environment for someone you know and love better than anyone else, your child. The education attorneys at Tupper Law P.A. will be happy to guide you through the process so you can create an excellent homeschooling curriculum and environment for your favorite student. Contact us today.

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.