Getting Started (New To Homeschooling)
Get Legal

The first step as a brand new homeschooler is to get legal. Homeschooling is fully legal in the state of Florida. There are two ways to homeschool in the state of Florida:

 

#1 – Register with Your County School Board

If you choose this route, you must submit your intent to homeschool to the school choice and student assignment office of the county school board in your county of residence within 30 days of beginning your homeschool program.

Sarasota County Residents

The School Board of Sarasota County, Office of School Choice

Address: 1960 Landings Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34231 

Phone: (941) 927-9000   ext. 32255 

Fax: (941) 927-4021 

Email: controlledopenenrollment@sarasotacountyschools.net

Click here for the Sarasota Notice of Intent. Fill this out and submit it to the office above. You can print it and mail it, fax it, email it, or deliver it in person.

Once the office receives and approves your homeschool program, they will send you a confirmation letter. Keep this document on file for the year.

Manatee County Residents

The School Board of Manatee County, Office of School Choice/Home Education Department

Address: 1400 1st Ave. E Palmetto, FL 34221

Phone: (941) 708-4971 ext. 42110

Email: homeschool@manateeschools

Click here for the Manatee Notice of Intent. Fill this out and submit it to the office above. You can print it and mail it, email it, or deliver it in person.

Once the office receives and approves your homeschool program, they will send you a confirmation letter. Keep this document on file for the year.

Annual Evaluation

Every year, on or before the anniversary date of when you submitted your notice of intent to the School Board, you must receive an evaluation for each student. There are a few ways to do this. The school board websites above offer a list of options.

Most homeschool families registered with the county use a homeschool evaluator. For a list of evaluators in our area, click here.

 

#2 – Register with an Umbrella School

The second option for homeschooling legally in the state of Florida is to register with a non-traditional private school (commonly known as an Umbrella School). These schools are typically not brick and mortar schools, but are legal coverings for homeschoolers and are registered with the Florida Department of Education. 

Each Umbrella School has the right to set its own prices and requirements. The schools then report to the state, and families who are registered with these schools do not need to submit a notice of intent to their country of residence.

An umbrella school can be an excellent choice for many families, especially if they find one that meets their family’s unique needs. However, it is important to note that participation  in some programs, such as dual enrollment with one of the local state colleges, such as State College of Florida or University of South Florida, requires that students be registered with the county.

There are many Umbrella School options in the state of Florida. Florida residents are welcome to register with any state-registered Umbrella School throughout Florida, regardless of where they live.

Click here to see a few options that homeschoolers in Manasota have recommended.

Keep Records

All homeschool parents are required by Florida State Law to maintain a homeschool portfolio for each child being homeschooled.

The law states the following:

“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.” Statute 1002.41(1)(b)

Portfolios must be kept for two years following each student’s home education program.

Portfolio – The Log

  • Keep a list of all the courses your child is taking in the academic year with a course description.
  • Keep a list of all curricula being used.
  • Keep a list of all books read or listened to during the academic year.
  • Keep a list of any classes or programs being taken outside the home.
  • Keep a field trip log (date, time, location, brief summary of what was experienced)
  • You can make this as simple or elaborate as you like including things such as
    • Photos 
    • Videos
    • Lists of activities such as baking, gardening, hobbies, extracurricular activities, goals, awards, achievements, etc.

Portfolio – The Samples

  1. For each subject, keep at least one sample of course work that demonstrates the student’s typical level of performance in that course at the time from
    • The beginning of the school year
    • The middle of the school year
    • The end of the school year
  2. Keep any major tests, papers, or projects
  3. The idea behind this section of the portfolio is to show that the student is progressing commensurate with their ability. In other words, students will progress at all different levels based on their abilities, but the work samples should show their progression.
 
How many days of education are required in Florida per school year?

180 Days

What constitutes a day of education according to Florida State Law?

  • Kindergarten – 3rd grade = 4.5 hours/day
  • Grades 4 – 5 = 5.0 hours/day
  • Grades 6 – 12 = 5.5 hours/day

 

High School Transcripts

Any students taking high school level courses (including middle school students who are taking high school courses) should create a transcript and update it each year as the student completes their courses for that academic year.

Each year, Learning and Families offers a free High School Transcript Workshop that includes a free ebook on the 7 Easy Steps of Writing a Transcript.

 

Florida High School Standard Graduation Requirements

At least 24 high school credits in total

4 English Language Arts Credits

4 Mathematics Credits 

  • 1 must be Algebra 1, and 1 must be Geometry
  • Industry Certifications that lead to college credit may substitute for up to two mathematics credits (except for Algebra 1 and Geometry) 
  • An identified computer science credit may substitute for up to one mathematics credit. A computer science credit may not be used to substitute for both a mathematics and science credit.

 

3 Science Credits (2 must include a lab component)

  • 1 credit in Biology 1
  • 1 credit in Chemistry or Physics
  • 1 credit in an equally rigorous course

 

3 Social Studies Credits

  • 1 credit in World History 
  • 1 credit in U.S. History 
  • 0.5 credit in U.S. Government 
  • 0.5 credit in Economics

 

1 Fine and Performing Arts, Speech and Debate, or Practical Arts Credit

1 Physical Education Credit

8 Elective Credits

1 Online Credit

 

For information on what qualifies as an acceptable course in each subject area, consult the CPalms Course Directory.

Get Support

By enrolling in the Learning and Families Support Community, you are well on your way to getting the support you need in your homeschooling journey.

We also encourage you to join Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA). They offer the largest annual homeschool convention in the nation! It is held on Memorial Day weekend in Orlando. All LAF families receive a discount code for FPEA in their welcome letter when they enroll.

In addition, we recommend families join the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which supports and defends the legal right to homeschool in the U.S., offers legal advice and representation if needed, and is chock full of helpful resources. All LAF families receive a discount code for HSLDA in their welcome letter when they enroll.

 

Homeschool Information Resources

There are many awesome resources for homeschoolers. The more you learn about homeschooling and education in general, the stronger you will become as a homeschool family. Below are a few excellent resources.

Homeschool.com

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Homeschooling Today

Homeschooling Parent

 

Student/Teacher ID Cards

Student and teacher ID cards can sometimes help you get discounts and other perks. It is totally acceptable for you to print your own. When you join FPEA, you will get teacher ID cards.

You can also Google “Teacher and Student ID cards for homeschoolers,” and you will get more hits than you know what to do with!

Get Curriculum

Curriculum can be absolutely free or quite expensive. In it’s most basic form, curriculum is just the material you use in a course to meet the standards of the subject matter. 

Choosing curriculum can be extremely overwhelming to new homeschool families. If that’s how you’re feeling, consider visiting our Facebook LAF Support Community Group (open to all families enrolled in the LAF Support Community) and ask curriculum questions. You can also reach out to anyone on the LAF Board of Directors to ask their advice. We are all veteran homeschool moms.

 

Curriculum Reviews

Cathy Duffy Reviews is a well-respected resource in the homeschool community for reviews of all kinds of curricula for every subject.

 

Online Curriculum Retailers

You can find great prices and most of what you’re looking for at:

Rainbow Resource

Christian Book Distributors

 

Public Libraries

Of course, our public libraries are always a great resource:

Sarasota County Libraries

Manatee County Libraries

Our local library systems also have many audiobooks available through the Hoopla app. Maximize your car time with your kids 

 

Free Online Curriculum

Khan Academy is a free online platform for a wide range of courses. Khan Academy worked directly with the College Board during the creation of the new SAT test, and their online SAT prep course is endorsed by the College Board.

Florida Virtual School (FLVS) allows students to take courses a la cart at no cost, and it includes access to a Florida teacher.

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