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Homeschool Collaboration Program FAQs

What is home education?

Section 1002.01, 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 the requirement for compulsory education as defined in Section 1002.20, F.S. Current law does not prescribe a curriculum or course of study for home education programs.

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.

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

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

  1. Send a written notice of intent to the school district superintendent.
  2. Maintain a portfolio of records, consisting of a log of educational activities, writings, worksheets, and creative materials used or developed by the student
  3. Make the portfolio available for inspection by the superintendent upon a 15-day notice. (The legislation does not require the superintendent to inspect all portfolios.)
  4. Provide an annual educational evaluation of the student’s educational process to the school district superintendent.
  5. Preserve each student’s portfolio for two years.
  6. Submit a letter of termination upon completion of the home education program or change of residence.
What is the distinction between a home education program and an umbrella/satellite school?

A home education program refers to a parent who has registered with the local school district home education office and has agreed to comply with the home education requirements as listed in Florida Statutes. An umbrella/satellite school refers to a private school offering programs or services to home schooling families. Palm Beach Christian Academy is serving homeschool families as an umbrella school.

If a home education parent employs a tutor to instruct his or her student, who is responsible for the records?

 If the parent is participating in a home education program, as defined in the law, the parent is responsible for all records. Therefore, families participating in the homeschool collaboration program at PBCA will receive weekly from the teacher all work completed in school. It is the responsibility of the parent to insert all school work into their portfolio weekly.

May a parent implement a home education program for a 5-year old, even though regular attendance begins at age 6?

Districts are not required to accept a letter of intent for a 5-year old; however, some districts have chosen to accept these letters. In that case, the home education parent should maintain a portfolio, and the student will be evaluated in the same manner as a student who is subject to regular attendance.

How can a parent provide “sequentially progressive instruction?

There are many methods a parent may use to direct a home education program. As reflected in Florida Statute, a parent may:

a. Instruct the student;
b. Enroll the student in courses part-time in a public or private school;
c. Enroll the student online in the Florida Virtual School;
d. Enroll the student in correspondence courses;
e. Hire a tutor, or
f. Choose any other means that provides “sequentially progressive instruction” directed by the parent.

Are parents required to have a Florida teaching certificate to home educate?

No. A parent is not required to have a valid Florida teaching certificate to home educate a student.
Furthermore, the instruction is no longer required to take place in the home nor must the parent be the person to deliver instruction

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

No. There are no specific hourly attendance requirements for students in a home education program. However, in order to establish a basis for accountability there will be an attendance requirement for the days that the student is in school. For HCP students attending a 3-day week at PBCA, the student will be held accountable for not exceeding 7 unexcused absences throughout the academic year as established by PBCA. For HCP students attending a 2-day week at PBCA, the student will be held accountable for not exceeding 5 unexcused absences throughout the academic year as established by PBCA. For additional questions regarding absentees and making up work please refer to the PBCA student handbook policy on attendance requirements.

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 Section 1007.271(10)(a), F.S., or use the district’s inter-institutional articulation agreement. Contact the district home education contact for specific information about the local inter-institutional articulation agreement. If the home education student enrolls through the district’s inter-institutional articulation agreement as the basis for dual enrollment, the student is effectively enrolled in the district for the course(s) and the district may earn FTE and must provide instructional materials.

A home education student not using the district’s inter-institutional articulation agreement must provide proof of enrollment in the home education program and be responsible for instructional materials.

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 equivalent to his or her 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:

  1. A Florida certified teacher chosen by the parent/guardian may evaluate the child’s progress based on the review of the portfolio and discussion with the student;
  2. The student may take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
  3. 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;
  4. The student may be evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of Section 490.003 (7) or (8), F.S.; or
  5. 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/guardian.
May a district set a deadline for the annual evaluation?

“Annually” is defined in Florida Statute as one year from the date of the letter of intent. However some home educators may choose to follow the requested deadline in order to follow the traditional school calendar.

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.”

How long the portfolio must be preserved?

The portfolio shall be preserved by the parent/guardian for two years and shall be made available for inspection by the superintendent, or the superintendent’s agent, upon a 15-day written notice. The superintendent, or the superintendent’s agent, is not required to inspect all portfolios.

May a home education student use more than one of the methods listed in Section 1002.41, F.S., to satisfy the annual evaluation component?

No. While a parent may utilize several methods to assess student progress in the regular course of
providing a home education program, for the purposes of Section 1002.41, F.S., only one method may be selected and submitted to the school district.

How is the term “extracurricular activity” defined by the law?

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.” This definition was added to the Act to make it clear that any activity outside of classroom activities and instruction should be considered extracurricular.

For example, some school districts had excluded home education students from musical clubs and
ensembles by stating that the performance groups were part of curricular instruction and outside of the realm of extracurricular activities. The 1997 amendment clarifies that a district may not define “extracurricular” in such a narrow way. District policies that apply a more narrow interpretation of “extracurricular,” and exclude students on this basis, are contrary to the law and legislative intent. Activities outside of classroom instruction are generally defined as extracurricular and open to home education students.

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

Yes. To participate in “inter-scholastic extracurricular activities”, Section 1006.15 F.S., requires that home education students be given the same opportunity as public school students. The law prohibits any requirements that would make participation less accessible for home education students and creates a broad definition of “interscholastic extracurricular activities” that covers any activity occurring during or outside the regular school day. However, the law does allow for home education students to develop an agreement to participate in “interscholastic extracurricular activities” at a non-public school.