Homeschooling In Florida

Homeschooling In Florida

The state of Florida is known as a “friendly” state towards homeschooling and educational choices other then traditional public or private schools. There are several choices for families interested in homeschooling in Florida.

The choices other then public school are, (1) choosing to follow a home education program which is defined in the state of Florida under Section 1002.01, F.S. as a sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian, in order to satisfy the requirement for compulsory attendance as defined in Section 1002.20, F.S. (2) The next alternative would be to use an umbrella school or private school that offers a homeschooling option. (3) Another option and one that is growing in popularity is FLVS, or Florida Virtual School, which is basically public school that is offered online instead of in a brick and mortar building. (4) Finally hiring a private tutor to teach your child within your home is also an option.

Each choice has its pros and cons and all should be evaluated carefully by the parent and discussed with the child. The path taken can make a difference in the educational outcome and future goals of the child, and should be considered when choosing which option fits your family best.

By choosing the homeschooling option you will have certain responsibilities required of you by law. You must file with your county a notice of intent to homeschool, keep a portfolio of your child’s work that is current and you must keep the portfolio for two years. Each year you must provide an evaluation to the county school district and it must adhere to the guidelines of appropriate evaluations by the state. Once your child completes the homeschool program, or you decide to stop homeschooling you must send a termination letter to your county school district. Also, upon written request and proper notice make your child’s portfolio available to the superintendent for inspection. Many parents fear that by choosing this path their child will become ineligible for certain “school” related perks or functions and that is not entirely true. Your child is still eligible for the Bright Futures Scholarship, inter-scholastic extracurricular activities, and the ability to take classes at FLVS, and even participate in dual enrollment. The biggest downside to some parents is that homeschooled students will not receive a state of Florida high school diploma, though many parents have found that this small detail is not all that important. You should also be aware that by choosing to hire a private tutor to teach your child at home, your child would still fall into this category and all the rules that go with it.

If you opt to use an umbrella or private school with a homeschooling option the above will not apply to you. You will have to adhere to the requirements set forth by the umbrella or private school and those can vary by institution. I would recommend that you speak to several before making your final decision. This will give you the opportunity to find one that best suits your needs, if any do. Some highlighted differences that you will find by choosing this option, as opposed to the home education choice are you cannot participate in any inter-scholastic extracurricular activities unless they are put on by your school, you will receive a transcript and a diploma upon graduation only if your school has this option.

Another choice that is growing in popularity is the Florida Virtual School. If you choose this option as your child’s whole educational path, then this is their public school. All that is necessary of you is to enroll your child in FLVS and adhere to their guidelines. All the benefits that they receive in the brick and mortar public school they will receive in this online one as well.

Florida homeschooling is a wonderful option to traditional school. In a study released in 2010 by the National Home Education Research Institute there are over 2 million children being homeschooled in the U.S.

by Cristina Reinert

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Homeschooling Methods

Homeschooling Methods

So, now that you have made the decision to homeschool you will be inundated with various methods and opinions, welcomed and not, of how you will teach your child or children and what method will you choose. Well, that can be as simple or as complex as one would like to make it. There are many methods available today and most can be simplified into a handful of methods or techniques that best suit each family and most importantly the child. From my own personal experience and knowledge as well as some research I have compiled for you a list of the most used and recognized homeschooling methods used today, as well as some that are probably not too well known.

Structured or Traditional method:
This by far is the most well known and typically what most families think of when they begin there homeschooling journey or what non-homeschoolers would think of when considering what homeschooling is. Which is comparable to the public and private institutions on how and what is taught. This method is typically a parent/teacher and student situation where the child sits and is taught out of a pre-determined curriculum at set times of the day. Some families will even designate a room in the house as the ‘school room’ and use that for teaching various subjects out of familiar textbooks. This is often believed to be a good stepping stone for parents with children that are familiar with the public and private institutions and perhaps aren’t completely certain of what direction the child’s learning might take. This method is also a good icebreaker for parents to become accustomed to teaching their own children in a format that they are familiar with.

Unschooling method:
This method is typically referred to as the opposite of structured or traditional homeschooling methods. It is focused on the child and what the child wants to learn. Typically the parents do not force feed learning, instead let it happen naturally and assist the child when the child requests it. Parents that utilize this method also believe that learning takes place everywhere all of the time. Workbooks, textbooks, and lectures are not the route of Unschooling families, instead great novels, works of art, field trips, and general exploration and play are regularly implemented.

Eclectic method:
This method is growing in popularity and is basically a mix and match of any method that is suited for the child and family. Typically with this method the parent will encompass the use of textbooks when necessary and no textbooks when necessary. This method allows for the freedom to choose without putting such restrictions upon one self as the structured or traditional method might, though they are not quite as easy going as unschoolers.

Classical method:
This method focuses on having the student read and study the great works of literature. It is believed that this method allows the child to think ‘outside’ of the box and develop an independent way of thinking, communicating, and interacting with others.

The methods I have listed above are what many would think of as the primary methods. Ones that are regularly recognized and used. However, during my research I came across a slew of other methods that I, as a homeschooling parent, have never heard of. I will list them here for you and would also recommend that you seek the websites I have referenced for further information regarding these other methods.

-Delayed Schooling
-Charlotte Mason
-Montessori
-Accelerated Learning
-Principle Approach
-Waldorf
-The Moore Formula
-Thomas Jefferson Education
-Holistic/Alternative
-Virtual Learning

As I hope you can now see, homeschooling is definitely not a one size fits all, but instead a different view on education and what is important for a child to learn and embrace.

By Cristina Reinert

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