Florida Homeschool Umbrella Schools

Florida Homeschool Umbrella Schools
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In the state of Florida, homeschool laws specify that families who want to educate their children at home must do so with the permission of the district school superintendent’s office. They also must be willing to share their educational progress and assessments with the office of the superintendent. To avoid these regulations, many families choose to register with an “umbrella school” (also called 600 schools, church schools, and cover schools.)

What are Umbrella Schools?

An umbrella school is a non-traditional private school that supervises the enrollment and attendance and other aspects of a family’s home education and validates the student’s diploma. It is an important distinction to make that those registered with an umbrella school are technically not “homeschoolers,” even though their education usually takes place within the home. They are private school students by law.

Florida Umbrella Schools

Each umbrella school authorized by the state of Florida has its own requirements for registered students. If you are choosing to educate via an umbrella school, it’s incredibly important that you research each one thoroughly to make sure that it meets the needs of your student(s) and your family. Below is a short list of some of the most popular umbrella schools for homeschoolers in Florida. Here is a list of additional Florida umbrella schools from A2ZHomeschooling.com.

  • Atrium School
  • Central Christian Academy (Goldenrod)
  • Circle Christian School (Orlando)
  • Crossroads Christian School
  • Education Revolution (Osceola County)
  • Florida Virtual School (FLVS)
  • Hillcrest Academy (Pensacola)
  • International Community School (Winter Park)
  • The Annesley Institute
  • The Oaks Private School (Jasper)
  • The Rock School (Jacksonville)
  • The Vitarete Academy (Delray Beach)

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Florida Umbrella School Option

There are very distinct positive and negative sides of using an umbrella school for homeschooling. The following chart lays out some of those so that you can better weigh your options.

Umbrella Schools

  • Students do not need to register a notice of intent with the county superintendent.
  • Students have access to whatever services the individual umbrella schools provide such as field trips, testing options, transcripts, etc.
  • The school handles most of the paperwork involved with recordkeeping for each student.
  • Can offer an easy way to meet and network with other homeschoolers in your local area.
  • If registered with a free umbrella school, parents have no recourse if something goes wrong.
  • School has the final say on approval or disapproval of the family’s chosen curricula.
  • Umbrella school students are not allowed to play sports for other private schools or public schools, unless the umbrella school does not have an athletic program.
  • If an umbrella school goes out of existence, it can be very difficult to get a student’s transcripts in the future.
  • Attendance records must be kept and copies of each student’s certification of school-entry health examination and a certification of immunization are required.

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Umbrella School

Each one of the homeschool umbrella programs in Florida has a unique approach and a specific set of services they offer to families. It’s also important to note that, despite where they are physically located, many of the schools accept students from anywhere in the state. That’s why, if you’ve decided to use an umbrella school, it’s a good idea to thoroughly research the details of each program before deciding on one. Here are some questions you may want to ask potential schools you are considering.

  1. How much flexibility do I have to choose my own student’s curriculum?
  2. Do you provide a diploma? Transcripts?
  3. How does a student graduate from the school?
  4. What local networking/activity opportunities do you offer with other school students in my area?
  5. How often do I need to submit my attendance information?
  6. How do you handle annual standardized testing?
  7. Is there a specific day of the year I need to start schooling?
  8. What colleges do you know of that definitely accept transcripts from your school? Are there any you know of that don’t?
  9. What agreement do you have in place with the local school system for participation in athletics and other extracurricular activities?

Homeschool Umbrella Schools and Time4Learning

If you’re enrolling with an umbrella school in Florida, homeschool curriculum choice may or may not be up to you. If you have the option to choose your own curriculum, many families find that Time4Learning is an ideal program for homeschool umbrella schools. Some of the features that make Time4Learning so successful include:

  • a blend of interactive lessons, worksheets, activities, and assessments for grades PreK-12
  • courses in math, language arts, science, social studies, foreign language, and more
  • works with a large range of learning styles
  • multimedia lessons that help learners retain information
  • self-paced system that lets parents and students decide if they want to move sequentially through material or pick and choose what to focus on
  • low monthly subscription price

Additional Resources Related to Homeschooling in Florida

Have other questions about homeschooling in Florida? You may find the following pages helpful.

PreK - 8th

  • Monthly First Student
  • $14.95/month for each additional student

9th - 12th

  • Monthly Per Student
  • Includes 4 courses

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