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How to homeschool in Florida

If you're wondering how to start homeschooling in Florida, this blog covers your local homeschooling laws, plus helpful resources.

Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is intended for research purposes only. Individual family needs may differ. Please contact your local Department of Education for more information.

If you live in Florida and want your child to join the 152,000 children educated at home across the state, you might have some questions. We’ve got your answers. 

You might be wondering if homeschooling is legal in Florida or searching for information about the laws for homeschooling in Florida. Here is everything you need to know to start homeschooling in Florida and resources that can help you on your family's learning journey. 

How do I home-educate my child in Florida?

Florida Statute 1003.01 (13) sets out three options that allow parents to educate their children at home and meet Florida's regular school attendance laws. You may even be eligible for state ESA funds to help support your homeschooling. 

  1. Establish a home education program. Under this option, families formally register their child with the state as home educated. You are then required to meet specific requirements around record keeping and academic progress.

  2. Register your child in a private school. Under this option, you would register your child under a private 'umbrella' school, which allows you to teach your child at home. Doing this means you don't have to meet Florida's homeschooling requirements. However, you will have to meet any obligations set by your umbrella school, including following a set curriculum or keeping attendance records.

  3. Use a private tutor. Under this option, you would employ a private tutor with a Florida teaching certificate for the grades and subjects they are teaching.

What are the requirements for homeschooling in Florida?

The Florida Department of Education sets out five key requirements for parents who wish to establish a home education program:

  1. File a letter of intent. This formal letter informs the state that you will be homeschooling your child in the upcoming school year. According to the HSLDA, this is only filed once and does not need to be refiled annually.

  2. Complete annual evaluations. Families should submit evaluations to the school district in which they reside. Read more on how to meet this requirement below.

  3. Maintain a portfolio for each child. The portfolios need to cover the length of an academic school year, include samples of your child's work, and a list that outlines the different activities your child has taken part in and the books they have read. You have to keep the portfolio for at least two years.

  4. Make the portfolio available for inspection. You must share your student portfolios with the school district within 15 days of being asked.

  5. File a letter of termination with the school district when you've finished homeschooling. This formal letter lets the state know that your child will no longer homeschool.

  6. File a letter of termination with the school district if you decide not to homeschool in the future. Submitting a formal letter lets the state know that your child will no longer homeschool. These reasons vary from graduating to returning to traditional school and everything in between.

How do I complete the annual homeschool evaluation in Florida?

Florida State Law requires parents to submit an annual evaluation of their child's progress to their local school district's superintendent's office. You can complete the annual evaluation in one of five ways:

  • Arrange for an evaluation of your child by a Florida-certified teacher of your choice.

  • Arrange for your child to sit a standardized test administered by a certified teacher of your choice. We've provided more guidance on this way of completing the Flordia annual homeschool evaluation below.

  • Have your child sit the state student assessment test.

  • Arrange for a psychological evaluation of your child.

  • Agree to another method with the superintendent of your resident school district.

What are the state standardized testing requirements in Florida?

Parents can provide an annual evaluation of their homeschooled child by arranging a standardized test. You can use any standardized test, but your child must take the test in the presence of a certified teacher.

However, if you provide the annual evaluation of your child by any of the other four methods allowed by law, there is no requirement for them to take a standardized test. 

How can I take my kids out of the Florida public school system?

To withdraw your kids from the Florida public school system and register them as home educated, you need to file a letter of intent with your local school superintendent's office. Your letter must include each child's name, birthdate, address, and parent's signature. The Florida Parent Educators Association provides a useful form that generates a letter of intent for you, which you can print, sign, and send.

Can you homeschool special needs or neurodiverse kids in Florida?

You can homeschool any child in Florida, including those who are neurodiverse or have additional needs. There are, of course, pros and cons of educating special needs children or those who are neurodiverse. Meeting a child’s particular needs is a common reason parents in the US choose homeschooling.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides helpful resources on homeschooling a child with additional needs, including a useful guide that sets out some top tips for homeschooling children with special needs.  

How do I add socialization to homeschooling?

Parents who homeschool in Florida often worry that their children will miss out on the social aspect of school. However, there are many ways to include socialization in homeschooling, including:

  • Register your child for online classes. Online classes are an excellent way for your child to learn from experienced teachers while socializing.

  • Join a local homeschool co-op. Co-ops are groups of parents who come together to organize activities for their children.

  • Attend online social clubs. Outschool has an exciting range of online social clubs that provide an excellent way for your child to socialize.

  • Play sports. Sports are a great way to get kids active while socializing. In addition to joining local sports clubs and teams, your child can also join virtual sports clubs on Outschool, where you will find a wide range of dance classes, sports classes, and more.

Discover more tips about including socialization in your homeschooling in this helpful blog.

How do I find Florida co-ops and homeschool groups?

Families who homeschool in Florida often want to share ideas, resources, and tips with other families.

One way in which you can do this is through Outschool's vibrant online Parent Hub. This hub includes weekly online community gatherings and regular 'Town Hall' events alongside a dedicated Facebook group for families who homeschool, 

There are also homeschool groups and co-ops in most towns and areas in Florida, and the Florida Parent Educators Association provides a helpful directory of local homeschool groups in Florida. You can also find a local group or co-op by asking other homeschooling families which co-ops they belong to, or searching online for your town or county name alongside 'homeschool co-op' or 'homeschool groups.' 

How do I find the answers to my questions about homeschooling in Florida?

Once you've decided to start homeschooling, you will likely have many questions. So why not check out Outschool's helpful homeschooling FAQs and useful homeschooling articles to help guide you on your homeschooling journey? 

How do I find my state's homeschooling laws?

You can find Florida's homeschooling laws on the Florida Department of Education website, which also has a useful set of FAQs about the legal requirements for homeschooling in Florida. If you don't live in Florida, you can find information on your local education department's website, which you can find using this useful list. 

I've completed the legal process to start homeschooling in Florida - what do I do now?

Once you've completed the legal process to start homeschooling in Florida, it's time to begin working out how homeschooling will look for your family. The first steps in doing this are creating your homeschool curriculum, deciding how you will supplement your homeschooling, and how you will teach subjects or topics you are not confident in. 

To help guide you through the next steps of your homeschooling journey, why not download Outschool's free How to start homeschooling eBook

How do I choose a homeschool curriculum?

When you homeschool in Florida, there are no set subjects you have to include in your homeschooling, and you have a choice on what and how you teach your child. 

This freedom can sometimes be quite daunting, so to help, Outschool has put together a series of helpful guides, including:

How to supplement and outsource your homeschooling

Once your curriculum is in order, consider including additional activities in your child’s day. You can do this by supplementing by exploring your child’s interests and passions.

You do not have to be the only one teaching your child.

Many kids will benefit from learning from someone excited about the subject. 

Often in homeschooling families, there is a subject or two that could benefit from additional support. Outschool can help with a variety of classes across multiple core academic subjects, extracurriculars, and clubs to support or add to your homeschool lessons. For example:

For the best results, involve your kids in the process. See what they respond to, what gets their wheel turning, and what works for their unique needs. Because the more engaged they are, the more they’ll learn

There are plenty of ways to supplement your homeschooling in Florida, including:

  • Take inspiring field trips. Field trips are a great way to engage your child in their learning and a fun way for the whole family to spend quality time together. If you've explored all the field trip locations locally or want something different, why not consider signing up for a virtual field trip on Outschool?

  • Enroll your child in engaging online classes. Whether you're looking for a semester-long class or a one-time course, Outschool offers a massive range of classes that can supplement your homeschooling.

  • Sign your child up for a virtual club. Outschool is a fun place for your child to meet new people and clubs allow kids to meet and engage with other young people. The hard part is picking the type of club to join: a social club, book club, or even a Fortnite club

Want more ideas? Then check out Outschool's handy list of 5 of the best ways to supplement your homeschooling.

Where can I find homeschooling inspiration?

One of the easiest ways to get homeschooling inspiration in Florida is to connect with other families who homeschool or read about the adventures of other homeschool families. 

You can find inspiration and read about why other families homeschool on Outschool's homeschool blog hub. Use our tips above to find local homeschool groups near you.

How do I homeschool subjects that are out of my depth? 

As a homeschooling parent, there will likely be many times when you encounter a subject or topic that is difficult for you to teach. 

Even if you are puzzled by 9th-grade geometry, struggle to bring science alive for 1st graders, or want help improving your teen's reading comprehension, there are plenty of simple and affordable ways to get help with topics outside your area of expertise. 

Of course, you could consider hiring an in-home tutor, but many families are now outsourcing areas of their homeschool curriculum to Outschool. Our school provides affordable and engaging online classes and private tutoring for your child. 

From single-topic classes to entire semester-long courses on core curriculum topics, you will find plenty of Outschool classes to make your homeschooling less stressful by taking the pressure off teaching those tricky subjects. 

Outschool Staff

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