"Homeschooling FAQs" #18

**Disclaimer: All information presented on this blog is based on our best understanding of current homeschool laws in the state of Florida at the time of each posting, and in particular the homeschool laws for Hillsborough County, where Class Source is located. However, we are not legal experts, and the information posted in this group does not constitute legal advice. Homeschool laws can vary by county and state. If you are uncertain of the homeschool regulations and requirements in your area, please verify using your local resources. The HSLDA website has a resource which allows you to look up homeschool laws by state, and is a good place to start: https://hslda.org/legal.**

This week's FAQ is:

Do I need to submit my child’s work at the end of each school year? How do I document things?

Requirements vary by state and county, but the regulations for the state of Florida are fairly simple. The Home-Education FAQs at the Florida Department of Education say this:

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

a. Send a written notice of intent to the school district superintendent.

b. Maintain a portfolio of records, consisting of a log of educational activities, 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 legislation does not require the superintendent to inspect all portfolios.)

d. Provide an annual educational evaluation for the student’s educational process to the school district superintendent.

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 or change of residence

(Source: http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7709/urlt/Home-Ed-FAQs.pdf)

In other words, Florida home-educators have two basic requirements regarding records and documentation each school year:

(1) to keep an up-to-date portfolio (with samples of work) and log, and

(2) to submit an annual evaluation form to their county.

The Portfolio

According to Florida Statute 1002.41, “The portfolio must 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.” You, as the parent, decide the content of the portfolio and what samples to include. It can be kept physically or digitally, so long as (1) it is kept contemporaneously (as you go, rather than made ahead of time or after the fact), (2) it includes a list of reading materials, (3) contains samples of your student’s work in various subjects and from various points throughout the school year, and (4) you keep it for at least two years in case you are ever requested to show it.

The Annual Evaluation

The annual evaluation form is simpler than it may seem. FPEA provides a one-page form you can use for this, which must then be signed by a certified teacher to verify that your child shows adequate progress to continue to the next grade level. The evaluation the certified teacher uses to determine this can be done in two ways: (1) a portfolio review, or (2) a standardized test. It is entirely up to you which of these methods you use, so long as it is administered by a teacher with current certification in the state of Florida. Thankfully, there are plenty of currently-certified teachers in the Tampa homeschooling community. Several of our instructors at Class Source are also former public school teachers who have maintained their certification, and who are experienced at administering these evaluations. If this is a service you need, please contact us and we can connect you with one of them!

The FDOE website also lists a couple other options for the annual evaluation, including an evaluation by a licensed psychologist. You can see the full list of the stated options here: http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/other-school-choice-options/home-edu/requirements.stml.

If you want more info on Homeschooling in Florida, we've just started a Homeschool Q&A group on Facebook! You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeschoolQATampaBay/.

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