Home Education FAQ

Home Education Frequently Asked Questions

Printable Homeschool FAQs Form

Definition and Responsibilities

Instruction

Evaluation

Non-attendance & Truancy

Interscholastic Extracurricular Activities

Exceptional Student Education

Dual Enrollment

 

 

Definition and Responsibilities

  

What is home education?

Section 1002.01, Florida Statutes (F.S.), defines home education as the sequentially progressive  instruction of a student directed by his/her parent or guardian, in order to satisfy the requirement for compulsory education as defined in s. 1002.20(2), 1003.01(13), and 1003.21(1), F.S. Current law does not prescribe a curriculum or course of study for home education programs.  

  

1. Who can teach in a home education setting?  

Any parent who complies with the reporting, record keeping, and student evaluation requirements  specified in statutory law may conduct a home education program. The parent is not required to be a  certified teacher. Home Education parents may choose whichever curriculum or materials for their child’s  home education program. There are no specific hourly attendance requirements or curriculum  requirements for students in a home education program. All instructional materials and supplies must be  provided by the parent.  

 

2. What are the responsibilities of parents who establish a home education program?  

As required by s. 1002.41, F.S., to establish a home education program and maintain compliance with the  statute, a parent must:  

a. Send a written Letter of Intent to the school district superintendent. Districts should  verify that the Letter of Intent was received. Parents should also retain a copy of the  Letter of Intent and documentation that the Letter of Intent was received by the district.  Parents may not register their students for virtual courses until the Letter of Intent  has been submitted and acknowledged by the school district.  

b. Maintain a portfolio of records and materials consisting of a log of educational activities  made contemporaneously with the instruction, and that designates by title any reading  materials used, samples of any writings, worksheets, and creative materials used or developed by the student.  

c. Make the portfolio available for inspection by the superintendent upon a 15-day notice.  (The law does not require the superintendent to inspect portfolios.)  

d. Provide a copy of the annual evaluation of the student’s educational progress to the  school district superintendent. Parents should retain a copy of the evaluation and  documentation that the evaluation was received by the district.  

e. Preserve each student’s portfolio for two years.  

f. Submit a Letter of Termination and annual evaluation upon completion of the home  education program to the district.  

g. Should there be a change of residence, but do not wish to terminate the home education  program in Florida, the parent should notify the new district to which the child is moving  to that they are transferring their home education program to the new district and provide    

the previous district with information on the change in district. The previous district shall  simply close out the student’s files. A home education transfer between districts does not  require the parent to terminate the home education program (as they are not terminating;  simply moving) and the parent does not need to provide an annual evaluation to the  previous district.  

 

3. May a parent implement a home education program for a 5-year old who will not turn 6 by  February 1 of the school year, even though regular attendance is not required until the following school year?  

Districts are not required to accept a Letter of Intent for a 5-year old who will not turn 6 by February 1 of the school year; however, some districts have chosen to accept these letters. In that case, the home education parent should comply with s.1002.41 F.S.  

 

4. Are home education students bound by the required school hours that apply to public school  students?  

No. There are no specific hourly requirements for students in a home education program.  5. Does the school district have authority to exceed the Florida Statutes with local policies?  No, the school district must abide by the Florida Statutes regarding home education.  

  

Instruction

6. How can a parent provide “sequentially progressive instruction?”  

There are many different means a parent may use to provide “sequentially progressive instruction” such  as:  

a. Use a curriculum, or none at all, and instruct the student themselves;  

b. Enroll the student part-time in a public or private school;  

c. Enroll the student online in the Florida Virtual School FLEX program, a district virtual  school, a private virtual program or other online resources;  

d. Enroll the student in correspondence courses or private school video program;  e. Enroll the student in dual enrollment courses at a college, university or career and  technical school or college;  

f. Hire a tutor;  

g. Take classes from a program designed for home education students, through a home  education cooperative or community; or  

h. Participate in 4-H, Toastmasters, TeenPac, Patriot Academy, museums, internships or  other programs available in the state.  

Options are limitless. Parent(s) may tailor the student(s) education using any means necessary that  meets the needs and interest of their child(ren).  

 

7. May a home education student participate in virtual school classes, and if so, is there a limit  on the number of courses a home education student may take?  

Yes, home education students may take virtual classes and there is no limit to the number of courses  they may enroll in. A home education student may take virtual classes through the district’s virtual school  or Florida Virtual School FLEX once the Letter of Intent has been filed by the school district. FLVS allows  

home education students to request/work on up to six courses at a time. FLVS is required to confirm  

Florida residency for all students in an FLVS course, therefore, parents of home education students who  wish to enroll their student in FLVS FLEX must provide FLVS proof of residency by providing one of the  

following documents:  

• Gas, water, sewage, electric, or home telephone bill  

• Rent receipt with name of lessee and contact information  

• Lease agreement with name of lessee and contact information  

• Mortgage statement or mortgage commitment  

• Home purchase contract, including specified closing date, with copy of deed to be provided within 60 days of closing date  

• Property tax statement  

• Automobile insurance statement  

• Current Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card  

• Cellular telephone bill  

• Bank account statement  

*Please note: all bill documents must be dated within 30 days and in the name of the parent/guardian  registering the student.

  

8. Is FLVS FLEX considered a school?  

FLVS FLEX is not a “regular school” which in s. 1003.26(f)2, F.S. states the superintendent shall require  the parent to enroll the child in an attendance option that meets the definition of “regular school  attendance” under s. 1003.01(13)(a), (b), (c), or (e) within 3 days. Failure to do so may result in criminal prosecution under s. 1003.27(2), F.S. Therefore, the parent should file a Letter of Intent to homeschool  their student prior to enrolling them in FLVS FLEX.  

 

9. Are home education students eligible for Bright Futures Scholarships?    

Yes. Home education students may qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program if they are  registered with their districts as home education students for grades 11 and 12. The Florida Bright  Futures Scholarship Program provides a Home Education Program Packet, which conveys eligibility  criteria specific to home education students, including required college admission test scores, community  service documentation, district registration confirmation, and dates for financial aid application deadlines.  The Home Education Program packet is available from  

https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/SAPBFMAIN/SAPBFMAIN or call 1-888-827-2004.    

 

10. May home education parents dually enroll a home education student at a postsecondary institution?  

Yes. Home education students may enroll directly with the postsecondary institution pursuant to s. 1007.271(13) F.S.  

  

11. Does a home education student have to receive permission from the school district to  participate in dual enrollment on the community college campus?  

No. College and state universities often request proof that the student is registered and in compliance  with a home education program. If the student must provide that information, it can be obtained from the  local school district home education coordinator. If a home education student has an articulation  agreement with the community college or state university, the school district must provide them with proof  that the student is enrolled in a home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41 F.S. The district is not  responsible for the transportation of a home education student to dual-enrollment classes.  

 

12. Are home education students required to pay for their dual enrollment instructional  materials?  

As of July 1, 2018, s. 1007.271, F.S., no longer requires the articulation agreement to include a provision  that the home education student is responsible for instructional materials. Funding is provided through the  Dept. of Education to the state colleges to provide the instructional materials to home education students  free of charge. Students need to check with the state college to determine how to obtain the instructional  materials. The instructional materials for dual enrollment classes at state universities is not included in  this allocation since the universities are not under the Department of Education.  

 

13. May home education students take dual enrollment courses at district high schools?    

Yes. Districts that have a part-time enrollment policy may enroll home education students in the school  district. This is a local decision that is articulated in the district pupil progression plan. Districts are not  responsible, however, for keeping course grades for the student.  

 

14. Is there a minimum GPA for home education students to participate in dual enrollment?    

A high school grade point average may not be required for home education students who meet the  minimum score on a common placement test adopted by the State Board of Education which indicates that the student is ready for college-level course work; however, home education student eligibility  requirements for continued enrollment in dual enrollment courses must include the maintenance of the  minimum postsecondary grade point average established by the postsecondary institution.  

  

15. Do home education students receive a diploma?  

There is no diploma issued by the public school system in Florida for the completion of a home  education program. A signed affidavit of completion (notarized letter) submitted by the student’s parent  attesting that the student has completed a home education program, pursuant to the requirements of  s.1002.41, F.S. is the legal document of completion. As stated in s.1007 263(2)(a), F.S. it is equivalent to  a high school diploma and is regularly accepted by state colleges and universities as proof of high school  completion. This statement can be included on a student’s academic transcript or parent-issued diploma.  While not required, some students elect to culminate their home education program by taking the General    

Educational Development (GED) test. A student is issued a diploma from the Department of Education  upon passage of the GED. The toll-free number for information pertaining to the GED is 1-800-237-5113.  

 

16. Can a home education student use an out of state private online school?  

Yes, any private school a home education student is enrolled in outside of Florida will be considered a    

curriculum choice and that student will have to be registered as a home education student and the Letter  of Intent must be filed with the school district. If it is a private school located in Florida, students are not  required to register as a home education student in their district.  

 

Evaluation

17. What does the annual educational evaluation include?  

A student in a home education setting must be evaluated once a year to demonstrate educational  progress at a level commensurate to the child’s abilities. The parent/guardian selects the method of  evaluation from those provided in Florida Statute, then files a copy of the evaluation annually in the  superintendent’s office. The evaluation must consist of one of the following:  

a. A Florida certified teacher chosen by the parent may evaluate the child’s progress based  on the review of the portfolio and discussion with the student;  

b. The student may take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a  certified teacher;  

c. The student may take a state student assessment test used by the school district and  administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved    

by the school district;  

d. The student may be evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license pursuant    

to the provisions of s. 490.003 (7) or (8), F.S.; or  

e. The student may be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed  upon by the school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the  student’s parent.  

  

18. What is the definition of a portfolio?  

Section 1002.41, F.S., 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.”  The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for two years and shall be made available for inspection by the superintendent, or the superintendent’s designee, upon a 15-day written notice. The superintendent,  or the superintendent’s designee, is not required to inspect portfolios.  

  

19. How does a parent locate an evaluator for the annual evaluation?  

Parents may contact the local district home education office or a state or local parent group to obtain the  names of available evaluators. All evaluators for home education students must have a current  certification in academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level in the state of Florida. Of the five  evaluation options described in the law, three involve a certified teacher, as seen in question 17.  

  

20. May a district set a deadline for the annual evaluation?  

According to 1002.41, F.S., a parent of a home education student must submit an annual evaluation  demonstrating educational progress commensurate with their child’s abilities. “Annually” is defined in  Florida Statute as one year from the date of the Letter of Intent, therefore the parent may submit as close  to that start date as possible.  

  

21. Does the home education student have the right to take standardized tests at the local school   

district?  

Yes, school districts are required in s. 1002.41(12), F.S., to provide industry certifications, national  assessments and statewide, standardized assessments that are offered by the school district to home  education students.  

  

22. What is the appropriate recourse when a district does not receive an annual evaluation on a home education student?  

Section 1002.41, F.S., requires the parent to provide for an annual evaluation of the home education  student. Failure to do so places the home education program in non-compliance and permits the  superintendent, after notice to the parent, to terminate the program.  

  

23. If a home education student, who is 16, does not submit an annual evaluation, are districts  permitted to terminate the home education program for the student?  

Yes, if the district has notified the parent of failure to complete an annual evaluation, the parent does not  provide a portfolio for review, AND the student has not submitted documentation to “drop-out”, the district  may terminate the home education program. Otherwise, the district may not terminate a home education student upon turning 16. Should a student wish to terminate their home education program  at 16, the family must notify the school district. Section 1003.21, F.S. requires that students terminating enrollment at age 16 must be notified that their earning power is likely to be reduced. It is in the best  interest of the student for the district to maintain home education records until the completion of high  school.  

  

24. Are districts permitted to use FLVS transcripts as a method of evaluation?    

FLVS transcripts may be used as an option regarding annual evaluations for home education students if  the parent chooses that method of evaluation. There is no statutory language prohibiting a parent of a  home education student from providing a FLVS transcript for an annual evaluation IF it is a mutually  agreed upon method between the district and the parent under s. 1002.41(1)(f)(5), F.S.  

  

25. May a parent receive an extension to the annual evaluation deadline?    

A parent who is unable to meet the evaluation deadline should communicate with the school district and  request an extension. The fifth evaluation method listed in statute allows districts and parents to work out  an alternative evaluation method if none of the other four methods are available. However, nothing in the  law requires a district to give an extension.  

 

Interscholastic Extracurricular Activities

26. May home education students participate in “interscholastic extracurricular activities” offered at public schools?  

Yes. An “extracurricular activity” is defined as “any school-authorized or education-related activity  occurring during or outside the regular instructional day”, (Section 1006.15, F.S.). Home education  students are eligible to participate at the public school to which they would be assigned according to  district school board attendance area policies or the school which the student could choose to attend  through the district’s Controlled Open Enrollment Policy under s.1002.31 F.S. District polices will determine which schools are available for a student to choose under s.1002.31 F.S. based on same  residency requirements as other students. The district must allow home education students to participate  in a class during the day if the class is required to take part in the extracurricular activity, such as band  class, in order to take part in the school’s marching band or strength and conditioning class for  participation on the football team, pursuant to s. 1006.15(5), F.S. Under s. 1006.15, F.S., the student must meet the same immunization requirements as students attending any public or private school.  Furthermore, a district cannot develop policies that restrict the access of home education students to  extracurricular activities.  

The law also allows home education students to develop an agreement to participate in “interscholastic  extracurricular activities” at a private school and, under s. 1006.15(5)(a) F.S., a home education student  can participate in extracurricular activities through a home school cooperative.  

 

27. What grade levels are allowed to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities?    

Section 1006.15, F.S., primarily addresses students in grades 9-12 but does not prohibit students in lower  grades from participation. Section 1006.20(1) defines “high school” as grades 6-12. Home education  students may participate in extracurricular activities in grades 6-8 if the school is a member of the FHSAA.  The by-laws of the governing organization regulate which students, and under what circumstances those students, may participate in the interscholastic extracurricular activity. 

 

28. How are grade point average requirements applied to extracurricular activities?    

To participate in extracurricular activities, a home education student must have the required 2.0 or better grade point average in academic courses. The law allows for a method of evaluation of the home  education student’s progress to be agreed upon by the parent and the principal. In s.1006.15(3)(c)(2),  F.S., the evaluation may be based on a teacher’s review of the student’s work, grades earned through  correspondence or at a postsecondary school, standardized test scores above the 35th percentile, or  other method as allowed by s. 1002.41, F.S.  

Exceptional Student Education  

 

29. If a home education parent suspects that their child has a disability, is the school district required to evaluate the child?  

The school district is obligated to “identify, locate, and evaluate” all children with disabilities, including those attending private schools and home education programs, in accordance with the Individuals with  Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This evaluation must be at no cost to the parent. If the parent chooses  to take advantage of these evaluation services in order to get an IEP, the parent should contact the  exceptional student education administrator in the school district in which they reside.  

  

30. What would be required of the home education parent?  

The school district would require that the parent sign a written consent for the evaluation. The district is also required to review existing information on the child before conducting an evaluation. The parent may be asked to provide information from the child’s portfolio and may also be asked to complete checklists  and/or informal observations.  

 

31. What is the school district’s obligation, if the child is eligible for services?    

After the evaluation is conducted, the parents will be invited to attend a meeting in which school district staff will review the outcome of their child’s evaluation. The parent may choose to hire an educational  advocate at the parent’s expense to be included in the meeting. Following that review, a determination  will be made regarding whether or not the child is considered an eligible child with a disability as defined  by Florida State Board of Education Rules. The district may propose to provide some level of service to  the child through the use of a services plan. For instance, if it is determined that the child needs  speech/language therapy services, the school district could allow the child to come to a public school  near the child’s home for these services during the week. Section 1002.41(1) provides the mechanism for  districts to report that child for funding purposes. If the district cannot provide these services and the parent chooses to enroll their child into a public school, the school must ensure that a free and  appropriate education is made available to the child.  

 

32. Are scholarships available for home education students?  

The only scholarships available to home education students is the Family Empowerment Scholarship (formerly the Gardiner Scholarship), which is handled by Step Up for Students and AAA Scholarships.  These scholarships are only for home education students with disabilities. More information can be found here: https://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/sfo/

 

Nonattendance-Truancy

33. Can the parent of a student who has been found to exhibit a pattern of nonattendance enroll that student in a home education program?  

Yes. However, at the time that a student who has been found to exhibit a pattern of nonattendance is    

enrolled in a home education program, the home education contact will:  

a. Provide the parent or guardian with a copy of the home education law, s. 1002.41, F.S.,    

and the accountability requirements of the truancy law, s. 1003.26(1)(f), F.S.; and  b. Refer the parent to a home education review committee composed of members as  specified in s. 1003.26, F.S.  

 

Once the committee determines that the home education program is in compliance, the parent will no    

longer be required to submit a portfolio to the home education review committee. If a truant student who  has been enrolled in a home education program fails to provide a portfolio for review by the committee,    

the district shall terminate their program. The parent may not enroll that student into a home education  program for 180 days after termination, and must enroll the student into a different attendance option  found in s. 1003.01(13) F.S. within three days, or the parent may be subject to criminal prosecution under  s. 1003.27(2), F.S.  

  

34. How will the home education contact know which students have been found to exhibit a pattern of nonattendance?  

When a public school student’s study team determines that a student has been found to exhibit a pattern    

of nonattendance within the public school, the law requires that the principal of the school notify the  superintendent of schools and the district home education contact. The home education contact is  expected to maintain this information to verify whether a student who is being enrolled in a home  education program has been found to exhibit a pattern of nonattendance. Once a student has been found  to exhibit a previous pattern of nonattendance, the parent must submit a portfolio, as defined by s.  1002.41, F.S., to be reviewed by a home education review committee every 30 days until the committee determines that the home education program is in compliance with s. 1003.26, F.S. The first portfolio  review must occur within the first 30 calendar days of the establishment of the home education program.    

 

35. How can I get more information about truancy and driver’s licenses for home education students?  

As part of the penalty for non-attendance, a public or private school principal is required to report the student who accumulates 15 unexcused absences in a 90-day period to the Department of Highway  Safety and Motor Vehicles under s.1003.27(2)(b) & (c). The DHSMV will either not issue a driver license or suspend any previously issued driver license to that individual. For more information contact the  Florida Department of Motor Vehicles at (850) 922-9000, or visit their website at https://www.flhsmv.gov/.  

  

36. Which member of district personnel is responsible for processing waivers for employment of home education students?  

School districts are not required to process waivers for employment of home education students except to  confirm, with a release for information from the parent, that the student is enrolled in home education. For  more information about waivers go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/child-labor/.  

  

37. Do students who have been home educated have the option to return to public school and  receive credit for their home education courses?  

Any school age student who has been continuously registered as a home education student has the right    

to enroll in a Florida public school. Students with documented disabilities may enroll in a public school  through age 21. Florida Statute 1003.4282(7) and the Florida State Board of Education Rule 6A-1.09941,  govern the grade placement and transfer of credit for home education students. According to State Board  Rule 6A-1.09941, a home education student transferring into a public school shall be placed at the  appropriate sequential course level and should have a minimum grade point average of 2.0 at the end of  the first grading period in order to receive credits. Students who do not meet this requirement shall have  credits validated through an Alternative Validation Procedure.  

  

38. How may a parent contact other parents who have chosen home education for their children?    

There are many home education support groups, both local and statewide in Florida. Information on  statewide groups can be found here: https://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/other-school-choice options/home-edu/directories.stml


Location
1311 Balboa Avenue
Panama City, FL 32401
(850) 767-4100
William V Husfelt III
Superintendent, Bay District Schools
Office of the Superintendent
Holly Buchanan
Employment and Income Verification Equity Coordinator
buchahd@bay.k12.fl.us
850-767-4100
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