The Affidavit of Completion is a notarized form or letter in which a parent affirms that the student completed high school in a home education program. Florida law requires a college to accept the Affidavit of Completion as the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. (See question 13 in the Florida Dept. of Education's Office of Choice's official Home Education FAQ.)
Many, if not all, Florida colleges have their own Affidavit of Completion forms, but parents can design their own. Many parents put this on their child's official final high school transcript, while others make it a separate letter or form.
Recent changes (Jan. 2020) in Florida law regarding the wording to be used on notarized documents may make older versions such that a notary will have to attach a separate form which makes it look less official--especially with notaries who are doing online notarization.
The Florida Department of Education's Office of Choice used to say, in their Home Education FAQ, that home educated students do not receive diplomas but could seek GEDs. I challenged that when the FAQ pages were being updated in October 2020 because home education students DO receive diplomas. They don't receive diplomas from local school districts because--as state law says--home education programs are not school district programs. Of course a school district won't give
High School Transcripts
A high school transcript is a brief one-page (or at most two-page) summary of a high school student's education. A transcript may be used as proof of a student's educational record for admission to a school or college. Some potential employers will ask to see a high school transcript--I was asked to show my high school transcript to an employer even though I'd graduated college more than a decade earlier and had graduate school credits, too. So, while parents are not required by Florida law to prepare a transcript for their high school student, wise parents will make sure their children have a high school transcript.
Parents who create a set of course descriptions will be able to take the information needed for the transcripts directly from the course descriptions they've written.
What are course descriptions? Why keep them?
Schools publish course descriptions for the courses they offer to help students decide whether to sign up for a class, as well as to help anyone (including college admissions officials and potential employers) who wants more information about their courses.
The quality of high school courses given can vary a lot even within a single school. Most textbooks include much more information than can possibly be covered in a single year and high school teachers often have freedom to pick and choose which parts they will use with their students. Several years ago, I was tutoring a public school student in English. Her literature textbook included classics by Shakespeare, Mark Twain, O. Henry, Dickens, and more. It included a variety of modern pieces from various parts of the world. It also included pieces by Dr. Seuss: The same Dr. Seuss that many children read in kindergarten or first grade. Her public school English teacher had assigned reading material by Dr. Seuss.
While college admissions officers, employers, and others may assume that a public school is providing a decent education, some will have more questions about a homeschool education. Part of the purpose of the course description is to help outsiders get a tiny glimpse of the type of courses your child has taken as a homeschooled student. Is your child getting a top-quality education? A general hands-on education? A modern education covering the world? A classic education? Or a barely literate, reading-Dr.-Seuss-in-high-school kind of education?
Q: How do you teach home economics at home?
A: Some people just involve their children in their daily living. The child gets involved in cooking, cleaning, mending, sewing, etc. as parents do it or as the child is curious and asks questions about different jobs. Others are more formal about it. It's up to you, of course, and what works for you.
Q: I'm putting my child in school in January. We haven't homeschooled her for a year yet. Since it's been less than a year do I need to turn in an evaluation?
A: Per Florida law, an evaluation is due once a year (by the anniversary of your letter of intent) OR within 30 days of sending in a Letter of Termination to tell the school district that you are done home educating your child.
Q: I just got a message from my school district saying I missed my evaluation deadline and they are taking my kids off their homeschool roster. Can they do that? They never sent a reminder this year, so I thought they were skipping evaluations because of social distancing and such.
A: Florida law requires an evaluation once a year
Sending in a letter of intent, evaluation, or other paperwork?
From Cheryl Bottini, the Palm Beach County Home Education Liaison—the one who handles home education paperwork for the Palm Beach County School District:
“We are several weeks behind in responding to emails. This is a first for us.
We have always been proud to have at
Q: My son is not done with his curriculum and won't be done by his deadline. Can I get an extension? Change his deadline somehow? Should I turn the evaluation in late? I'm panicking. Can you help?
No appointment needed.
Take photos of a few parts of the portfolio (a bit of the beginning and a bit of the end) and email them to me. (Or send screen shots or share documents or however it works better for you.)
Send a bit of the log of educational activities, a few titles of reading materials (at least two), and some samples of work.
Finish with a brief phone call; I'll chat very briefly with the student. Then I'll send documents via email (and mail if you want to pay extra).
A Homeschool Evaluator's Brief Bio
Decades ago, I was a small child being homeschooled on a homemade yacht as my family sailed the world. My parents used a combination of prepared curriculum and no curriculum at all. The curriculum was, in a way, akin to today’s virtual school lessons as it was made by a government school as part of their system of teaching those who couldn’t attend classes (though in my case, the government in question was the state of
Q: What is a portfolio review?
A: Florida home education law gives parents 5 options for their child’s annual evaluation. While many people think of a test...
Now is a time of year when many parents are choosing materials to use for next school year.
There is no perfect curriculum. Looking for the perfect textbook or workbook is an impossible task. Instead, look for one that will work well enough. Feel free to tweak it--skip some parts, do some orally instead of on paper, add outside resources sometimes to help, etc.
(In fact, feel free to not use any published curriculum. Make up your own math problems or words to trace as a child learns to read. Use projects or activities or websites or books that weren't designed as curriculum. As long as the child's learning is increasing, the type of materials used doesn't matter under Florida home education laws.)
Below is a link to an online quiz that many have found helpful in choosing materials for math. The quiz asks many questions about what is wanted in math curriculum and then give scores to various materials to show how well those various curricula match up to what is wanted. This helps many choose math materials that work for them.