Florida Homeschooling Laws
Once you’ve made the momentous decision to homeschool, doubt can begin setting in immediately. You may wonder if you are biting off more than you can chew. One of the best ways to settle those jitters is to get a firm grip on exactly what is expected of you. Learning about the homeschooling requirements in Florida will help you not only make sure you are covering all your legal bases, but will also show you that the process of homeschooling is not nearly as complex as you might have imagined.
Once you know what’s expected of you in terms of how the state determines whether you are qualified to homeschool your child, whom you need to notify of your decision, what records you need to keep, and whether or not your state requires any formal assessments, you’ll be well on your way to becoming more relaxed about your new adventure. Read on to discover what you need to know about FL homeschool regulations.
- How to Legally Homeschool in Florida
- Your Notice of Intent
- Homeschool Record-Keeping in Florida
- Florida Homeschool Graduation Requirements
- Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
- Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Florida
*This should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
How to Legally Homeschool in Florida
Florida does not have many requirements in terms of parent credentials for homeschooling. There is no minimum education level or criminal record bans. Florida also does not have vaccination requirements for homeschoolers or a list of required subjects that students must cover.
However, under Florida homeschool laws parents must provide sequentially progressive instruction to their students to satisfy Florida’s compulsory education requirements. This can be met by any of the options below:
- Parent/legal guardian instructs the child
- Student attends part time public or private school
- Parent may hire a tutor
- Student enrolls in correspondence courses
Homeschooled students must also be evaluated every year to show the educational progress they’ve made. Parents can select the method of evaluation provided in Florida Statute and submit it to the superintendent’s office. Find out what the homeschool evaluation may consist of in the record-keeping section below.
Many families decide to bypass these regulations by enrolling their child in a non-traditional private school, often called an umbrella school. Please view our Florida Umbrella School overview page for more information on this approach. The guidelines on the remainder of this page, however, are geared to families not using an umbrella school.
More information relating to the home education rules for Florida can be found at A2ZHomeschooling.com.
Your Notice of Intent
Usually, the first step to establishing a homeschool in the state of Florida is by filing a Notice of Intent with your public school system – specifically, with your county’s Superintendent of Schools. This can be done by way of a form or simply a letter announcing the names, addresses, and birth dates of any children you will be homeschooling. This notice of intent must be filed for any child six years of age or older within thirty days of establishing your homeschool. It’s a good idea to either hand-deliver your notice or to send it via certified mail so that you have proof of the timing of your filing. You may be wondering, “Can you start homeschooling in the middle of a semester?” The definitive answer is “yes,” as long as you follow the state homeschool guidelines and follow through with your notice of intent.
Homeschool Record-Keeping in Florida
Parents must maintain a homeschool portfolio for all students they are teaching at home. For Florida homeschoolers, this portfolio should include a log of educational activities the student participates in and samples of workbook pages, writings, quizzes, or other creative materials. The Time4Learning curriculum makes this process especially easy by providing printable versions of student progress and assessments. Although this portfolio must be kept for two years, there is no requirement that the portfolio be shared with the office of the county Superintendent of Schools unless specifically requested in writing.
However, parents must provide an annual educational evaluation of the student’s progress to the superintendent. This evaluation can include:
- a certified FL teacher’s review of the student’s portfolio
- a state-normed test administered by a certified FL teacher
- a state-normed test administered at an approved testing center
- a state-approved psychologist’s assessment
- another agreed-upon evaluation method between the parent and superintendent
Florida Homeschool Graduation Requirements
One of the areas that new homeschooling families are most curious about is how their child can receive a diploma upon graduation. Many are surprised to discover that a homeschool diploma is completely valid and legal and that as the administrator of the homeschool, parents actually determine the requirements for graduation. Of course, depending on whether your child will be attending a four-year college, vocational school, or other post-secondary institution, it is helpful to research the minimum entrance requirements of those and align your homeschool plan accordingly.
It can be helpful, too, to review the guidelines that public school students in Florida follow. This provides a point of comparison and may provide insight into common courses and tests that you can consider along the way. To help, Time4Learning offers the below chart as a tool for quickly noting the unique differences between the path to graduation for traditionally schooled students and homeschoolers.
|Florida diploma requirements||There are a few different paths offered for graduation in Florida, but the standard diploma requires 24 completed credits. Students also must earn a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.||Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements and can issue their own homeschool diploma; students of private/online schools may receive diplomas from those institutions.|
|Florida high school testing requirements||Statewide assessments for a FL graduate include the Grade 10 English Language Arts test and the Algebra 1 End-of-Course test.||Homeschool students are not subject to testing requirements for graduation.|
|Florida high school transcripts||FL public school transcripts include identifying information, standardized test scores, credit totals and a complete credit history by course including course titles, grades received each semester, and cumulative grade average for each.||Homeschool parents may create their own student transcripts, and may include any information they deem pertinent to colleges, military, and/or future workplace organizations.|
|Florida high school course credits||In order to graduate, FL high schoolers must have 4 English credits, 4 mathematics credits, 3 science credits, 3 social studies credits, 1 physical education credit, 1 credit in fine and performing Arts, speech and debate, or practical arts, 8 elective credits and 1 online course.||Parents determine when their student has fulfilled graduation requirements; for the purpose of creating transcripts, some homeschool parents do assign credits to individual courses.|
|GED eligibility||Students who are at least 18 years old and have not earned a high school diploma from a public or private high school are eligible to apply to take the General Education Diploma test.||The same requirements for eligibility apply to homeschoolers as to public school students.|
Enrolling in Public School after Homeschooling
For most families, the decision to homeschool is a year-to-year one. At some point, you may wish to terminate your homeschool and enroll your child back in the public (or private) school system. In Florida, this simply involves submitting a letter of termination to the school district superintendent. You may provide any records you wish to the school you are enrolling in, to help them better understand what level your child is working at, but ultimately it is the school principal who will determine what grade level to place your child into when he or she returns. It is also up to the individual schools to determine if your assessments and standardized tests are acceptable or if they will require your child to take additional placement testing upon registration.
Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Florida
Have other questions about homeschooling in Florida? You may find the following pages helpful.