L.S. asks from Saint Petersburg, FL on January 01, 2010
HomeSchooling - Saint Petersburg,FL
I am thinking about homeschooling my daughter. She is only 19 months right now so I still have some time to think about it before making a final decision, but I wanted to do some research to see what all I need to do. Can anyone give me some information & resources about homeschooling? Thanks.
1 mom found this helpful
K.B. answers from Jacksonville on January 01, 2010
I would suggest just doing a google search for your area for groups available to join and just ask questions! :) Look up the different styles and see what you may feel would work well for your child and for you. Charlotte-Mason, Unschooling, Classical, online, and Eclectic are just a few to look at. Go to sites such as A to Z home schooling (http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/index.htm) to start researching how you would like to do this.
Do you want to go the route of the school system, where you are required to do an yearly evaluation? Or the way of an umbrella school which allows you to do eval when you like and teach the way you see fit? (Some umbrella school charge and some do not...Florida Unschoolers is a great free umbrella school, and no, you do not have to be an unschooler to enroll).
Check out Yahoo! Groups for some great home school resource groups to join and ask questions! :) There are so many places and opportunities for HSed children...:)
Here is a good list of how to home school in the state of Florida...:) Taken from Jacksonville Home School Kids website.
Homeschooling in Florida
Here we separate fact from fiction when it comes to homeschooling in Florida.
How to legally homeschool in Florida
There are a few steps you must take to ensure you are in compliance with Florida's home education laws.
1. Send in a letter of intent to homeschool to your district superintendent. This letter MUST contain the child's name, child's birth date, home address and the parent's name. NOTHING more is required. If you use a form provided by your school district they will most likely ask for information that is not legally required of you. You do not need to list a phone number, social security number, vaccination records or grade level.
2. Within the next 365 days you must have your child evaluated (see methods of evaluation below). The results must be on the superintendents' desk no later than 365 days after you file your letter or intent, and every 365 days thereafter. The due date is always the anniversary of your letter of intent, NOT the anniversary of when you sent in your last evaluation.
3. You MUST maintain a portfolio that contains samples of your child's work throughout the year. Samples do not need to be workbooks, they can be copies of letters written, art projects, photographs from events, etc. Keep each portfolio for a period of no less than two years and have it available for superintendent inspection with a 15 day written notice.
4. You MUST maintain a DATED list of books read and materials used. Keep the list for a period of no less than two years and have it available for superintendent inspection with a 15 day written notice.
Here is a simple breakdown. You must pick ONE method.
-Annual portfolio evaluation by a FL certified teacher. The teacher can teach any subject, any grade. This evaluation is due exactly 365 days after you file your letter of intent to homeschool with your district superintendent. Many counties send threatening warning letters to homeschooling parents in the spring giving parents a due date for their evaluations, please know that THESE DUE DATES ARE NOT MANDATORY, nor is it with the school district's legal scope to ask for your evaluation before your 365 days are up. The best course of action is to discard this warning letter. You are not being singled out when you receive this letter, it is sent to every parent who has sent in a letter of intent to homeschool in the district.
-Student can take a nationally-normed test administered by a FL certified teacher.
This test can be the SAT, ACT, etc. The parent is responsible for finding a teacher to buy & administer the test.
-Student can take a state assessment test, the FCAT.
The FCAT is available for free in certain grades if you take your child to your locally zoned school for administration with the public school students. Most districts send homeschooling parents a notification via mail of test administration times and dates.
-Annual portfolio review by a licensed psychologist.
-Any other method mutually agreed upon by the parent and the district superintendent.
You have another choice!
Another method of educating your child at home is through the Florida Private School Laws. Families that use this option are not legally considered homeschoolers, their children are considered private school students by the state. This is an option for many families for many reasons, and only YOU can decide if it is the right choice for your family.
Commonly referred to as "umbrella schools" or "600 schools", these private schools vary greatly in cost and benefits. Umbrella schools can range from very low cost and offer only the basic record keeping to over $1000 per month with a full curriculum, sports programs and supplemental teaching.
One such school is called Florida Unschoolers. This is free and only costs a stamp, a few pieces of paper, and a one sentence email every 3 months.
Yet a third choice!
You also have the option of having your child privately tutored by a licensed Florida teacher. See the statute listing below for legal information.
The actual laws
The Florida Department of Education maintains a current listing of all the laws regarding home education.
Here you will see the statue numbers that correspond with each law.
1002.01 - Definitions of a Home Education Program
1003.21 - Regular school attendance
1002.41 - Home Education Programs
1006.51 - Student Standards for Participation in Interscholastic Extracurricular Activities
1009.53 - Bright Futures Scholarship
1007.27 – Dual enrollment in a college or university
1007.263– Admission into Community College
1007.261 -Admissions into state universities
1002.42 - Private school options
1002.43 - Private tutoring options
Some other interesting tidbits of information
You do not need to belong to the Florida Parent Educator's Association to homeschool legally or to obtain educator discounts.
Your evaluation is not due "at the end of the year" or "at the end of the school year" or at any date give you in a form letter by the school district. Your evaluation is always due on the anniversary of filing your letter of intent to homeschool, regardless of when that day occurs in the year! The school district cannot enforce the due date they give in the above mentioned form letter.
You do not need to file a letter of intent each year. The submission of your child's evaluation is considered confirmation that you will be homeschooling the upcoming 365 days.
According to Florida Statute 1009.53, homeschooled students may participate in the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
According to Florida Statute 1006.15, homeschooled students in Florida have the right to participate in any extracurricular activities offered by their zoned public school. The child must have proof of immunization, and may be required to participate in a school-hours class, such as band. The child does not need to be enrolled as a part-time student of the school. This does not apply to private schools.
You do not need to hold a teaching certificate or college degree to homeschool any ages or grades in Florida.
3 moms found this helpful
R.T. answers from Orlando on January 02, 2010
I wanted to add to Billi Jo S... I can answer some questions about Connections Academy if you have any. Also, using their curriculum as a "home education" student rather than as a public school student is another option. Not sure of all of the details of that route, but I know the home ed kids don't have to take the FCAT (but I think it may not be free if you go that route.) Each school district in FL now has at least one approved virtual school program... though Connections Academy is currently the only one that the DOE (state department of education) has approved as it has passed all of their guidelines with flying colors. As a homeschooling parent, you have sooooooo many options and I wanted to let you know that virtual school with a "virtual" teacher to assist you is one option you should look into rather than buying a whole curriculum or piecing together parts of several curriculums that work for you. Connections Academy's full name is now FLVSCA (Florida Virtual School's Connections Academy.) They work with Florida Virtual School, which has high school options (Connections Academy is K-8). Please let me know if you have questions and I'll do my best to answer them for you.
2 moms found this helpful
S.. answers from Washington DC on January 02, 2010
I would like to make this easy on you,
It is a public school in Orlando. Being in the school means you are still in the Florida public school system BUT you get to do it at home through their virtual school.
Connections Academy is the same curriculm as all FL public schools. So if anything happened to where your child had to enter public school at any moment they would not be lost.
The student / your child will have their own teacher. The teacher will call you and your student once or twice a month. All of the students in your childs class will meet once a week online for a live lesson class.
The school grades the work. All test are done online.
In the State of FL you will need to make sure that you have a computer for your child to work on. You need high speed dial up. You need a printer.
The school is FREE. They will send to you all of the materials for the curriclum for free.
I homeschooled my first child for K & 1st. I did it on my own. I found it to be hard.
Last year, because of the Swine Flu my husband and I decieded to go with Connections Academy.
In our county the level of grades for Connections Academy goes from K - 8.
If you want your child to go to this school for grades 9 - 12 then you will have to pay them like they are a private school ( I believe ).......
Well this is our first year with Connections Academy and we love it. My oldest is in 4th and so she will need to go and do her FCAT testing at the public school.
My second child is in 2nd. No FCAT testing for him until next year.
My youngest is 4 and he is not in school right now.
I wish you the best.
Go on the web site and explore it, you might like it.
God bless and Happy New Year.
2 moms found this helpful
V. answers from Melbourne on January 02, 2010
I got a site from my sis that has free homeschooling. It's www.freworldu.org I looked into it and it may be worth using to supplement their education. Though they claim to be a full homeschooling curriculum I would still incorporate other things. It's all based on flash cards that are done in a way to really keep the kids interacting and interested (not multiple choice). I think it's a good idea for really getting information down, but I wouldn't use it alone. I strongly believe kids need hands on activities and plenty of real person to person interaction. You know, education using all their senses, touch, taste, site, & smell. How would they get all that with flash cards? Anyway I do think it's a way to tackle a great deal of information without paying for it, and it's all online. I am a teacher myself, and I have 2 kids at a Charter Montessori school. I also do lots of activities with them at home to supplement what they learn at school. I am probably going to sign up on the site so I can use it as an extra supplement.
Oh I almost forgot to mention Journey North. Go to http://www.learner.org/jnorth/ I really like this one. They do migration tracking with lots of different bugs and animals, and there's lots of interactive lessons available for anyone. I found out about it on one of the education channels. Discovery or UniversityHouse or something, were documenting students doing the journey north of the Monarch butterfly. It involved lots of very educational activities and the ability to interact with others that are participating in other places using letters and emails.
1 mom found this helpful
S.D. answers from Tampa on January 04, 2010
I just saw your post. We have a 2 1/2 yr old that we have been talking about homeschooling with. And we basically have been doing some homeschooling (preschool). He knows his letters, what sounds they make, numbers and can count to ten. Can spell his name (usually). Basic stuff like that. I also read a bunch of homeschooling books from the library. I know a mom from another moms website who homeschooled her kids (and is still homeschooling her youngest). Anyway, she works in the childrens section at Pinellas Park Library. She would be a great resource. Her name is Krystal. So if you get the chance, maybe get in touch with her! That library actually has homeschooling info on the website too if you want to check into that. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful