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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Florida Homeschool Laws and Letter of Intent

Since Caitlin will be starting kindergarten, I have to send a letter of intent for her. In the state of Florida, your child does not have to star officially schooling until they are six years old, by February 1st. Caitlin is 5, and will not be six until May 2010, so technically that means she does not need to be enrolled in any school, in Florida, until February of 2011. Why would that matter to a homeschooler? Well if you send your letter of intent, before your child meets the guidelines, then you have to keep a portfolio, and have the child evaluated at the end of the year. If you choose not to send a letter of intent, then you can still do schooling, but will not have to keep records, or do an evaluation. I have opted to send a letter of intent, and just start doing it. It is easier for me, then to not to. A letter of intent is specific and should meet the following requirements. The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. Section 1002.41(1)(a)

Just for review purposes, for anyone who might visit from Florida, and are interested in homeschooling their child. Here is the Florida state law, in regards to homeschooling.

1) A "home education program" is defined in s. 1002.01. The parent is not required to hold a valid regular Florida teaching certificate. (a) The parent shall notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home education program. The notice shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education program. The notice shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days of the establishment of the home education program. A written notice of termination of the home education program shall be filed in the district school superintendent's office within 30 days after said termination. (b) The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials. The portfolio shall consist of the following: 1. A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used. 2. Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years and shall be made available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or the district school superintendent's agent, upon 15 days' written notice. Nothing in this section shall require the district school superintendent to inspect the portfolio. (c) The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student's demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability. The parent shall select the method of evaluation and shall file a copy of the evaluation annually with the district school superintendent's office in the county in which the student resides. The annual educational evaluation shall consist of one of the following: 1. A teacher selected by the parent shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level; 2. The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher; 3. The student shall 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; 4. The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s. 490.003(7) or (8); or 5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the district school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent. (2) The district school superintendent shall review and accept the results of the annual educational evaluation of the student in a home education program. If the student does not demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability, the district school superintendent shall notify the parent, in writing, that such progress has not been achieved. The parent shall have 1 year from the date of receipt of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the 1-year probationary period, the student shall be reevaluated as specified in paragraph (1)(c). Continuation in a home education program shall be contingent upon the student demonstrating educational progress commensurate with her or his ability at the end of the probationary period. (3) A home education program shall be excluded from meeting the requirements of a school day. (4) Home education students may participate in interscholastic extracurricular student activities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.15. (5) Home education students may participate in the Bright Futures Scholarship Program in accordance with the provisions of ss. 1009.53-1009.539. (6) Home education students may participate in dual enrollment programs in accordance with the provisions of ss. 1007.27(4) and 1007.271(10). (7) Home education students are eligible for admission to community colleges in accordance with the provisions of s. 1007.263. (8) Home education students are eligible for admission to state universities in accordance with the provisions of s. 1007.261. (9) Home education program students may receive testing and evaluation services at diagnostic and resource centers, in accordance with the provisions of s. 1006.03.

6 comments:

Sunny Rose Gardens said...

Wow...New Jersey is incredibly lax in comparison; they don't require anything at all from us, basically, which i think is attributed to the very large population of homeschoolers in the area, esp. South Jersey. When we lived in New York, though, they needed everything but the family tree (of course, that was probably an optional expectation....)!

betchai said...

isn't it great Melissa that while you make your own record keeping through this blog, you are also sharing worthy information to others who may be needing help with this regard. this is what i like about blogging actually and have been a wonderful and joyful hobby for me.

Melissa said...

I heard NY was strict. We are originally from NY, but our kids were not school age, when we lived there.

betchai I love helping others, it is just something I have always enjoyed doing.

online writer said...

I'm sure people in your area will find this information very valuable and helpful.wonderful effort,melissa.

sandycrochet said...

Just in from work a short time ago, way too tired to read your post, (will with fresh eyes). I find the differences state to state fascinating and frankly stupid. Differences exist in standard education, in requirements for teachers, so home school seems no different. But, it makes no sense to me...none what so ever. I know many people think each state goernment should have more rights than a National Government...but why? Are kids in one state less intitled? Do teachers in one state need to be more educated, or less educated? I really think thats crazy. My daugher got her 2 undergraduate degress in Missouri, her Masters in Maryland and wanted to be qualified to teach all grades in both states. She took not less than 12 different tests. Each test cost about $100.00. Each state not only requires different tests, but those that require the same test require a different score to pass. She's probably more qualified than many teachers out there; given her degrees and her licensing test; but still if she moves again.........no doubt she will need yet another test. To my way of thinking 2+2=4 in every county, in every state in the country.

Traditionally, northern states require a much higher test score than southern states; and Eastern states require a much higher score than western states. And yet, we all put on our pants the same way. One leg at a time.

I'm am really curious...why did you choose to home school? I thought about it when my daughter was young because she was quite bright and well above the public schools; but instead we suppletmented so she would have the school experience and the socialization. It's truly a subject that fascinates me.

Sandy

Melissa said...

As far as I know the Constitution enables the states to make the decisions they see fit, for their state. I agree it would be much easier if all states did everything the same way, but they do not. As for why do I homeschool, because I want to be the one who chooses what my child learns, not others. I will do a post on this topic, because I too have curiosities about why people send their kids to public schools, so stay tuned.