Section 1002.01, Florida Statutes (F.S.), defines home education as the sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy Florida's compulsory education requirements.
Florida Statute 1002.41 specifies the responsibilities of parents who establish a home education program.
- Send a written notice of intent to the school district superintendent. The notice must be filed within 30 days of beginning the home education program and must include the following information:
- Name of the home education student(s)
- Parent's signature
- Maintain a portfolio of educational records. Statute defines a portfolio as
- A log of educational activities which is made contemporaneously with the instruction and which designates by title any reading materials used, and
- samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student.
- Make the portfolio available for inspection by the superintendent upon 15-day written notice (The statute does not require the superintendent to inspect all portfolios).
- Provide an annual educational evaluation of the student's educational progress to the superintendent. The evaluation must consist of one of the following:
- A Florida certified teacher chosen by the parent may evaluate the child's progress based on a review of the portfolio and discussion with the student.
- The student may take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher.
- The student may take a state student assessment test at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district.
- The student may be evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license pursuant to section 490.003 (7) or (8), F.S.
- The student may be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.
- Preserve each student's portfolio for two years.
- Submit a letter of termination to the school district superintendent upon completion of the home education program, enrollment in a public or private school or moving from the district.
Your Choices Under Florida Law
Florida statutes provide three options for families who wish to educate their children at home. Each will meet the state’s compulsory attendance laws. Families may:
1. Enroll in a noncampus-based private school, that is, a private school that facilitates home education, and follow the procedures set by the school.
2. Establish a home education program as defined in the statutes by sending a Notice of Intent to the local school superintendent, maintaining a log of activities and portfolio of work, and filing an annual evaluation using one of five evaluation choices.
3. Establish a Private Tutoring Program.
While any of the above choices will provide compliance with Florida’s compulsory attendance laws, each has different implications for you. While some of these differences go to issues of recordkeeping and methods, the heart of the distinction is whether you want to be accountable to the state or to a private entity.
Private Versus Public Homeschooling
Most families choose either private or public home education. Private tutoring programs are extremely expensive and infrequently used. Regardless which method you choose, you can educate your children at home, using the materials and methods you select. The key difference between enrolling in a private school and registering as a home educator is this:
- Private school students are overseen by administrators you select. Identifying data about the student and samples of the student’s work are never shared with anyone outside of the private school (other than at your request).
- Home education students are overseen by government employees at the school district. Parents must file annual evaluations with the district and are be required to show their record-keeping and samples of the student’s work upon demand by the Superintendent.