Homeschooling High School
Bright Futures is a college scholarship funded by the state of Florida using a portion of the money collected from Florida's lottery. Using some of the money for college was part of how legislators got enough to agree to have a lottery decades ago. The scholarship was also part of an effort to end Florida's "brain drain" caused by so many Florida students leaving for colleges out of state and then never returning. Homeschool students are eligible for this scholarship--
Getting Your Homeschooled Child into College
I've been part of a few recent conversations on getting a child into college. One in particular revolved around how to get into the University of Florida which rejects a lot of applicants. For over seven years, I was a volunteer interviewing applicants for the admissions committee of a top university with a very high rejection rate. I interviewed many students who applied and most were not accepted. I attended a seminar led by the Dean of Admissions for volunteers and a select group of parents who were trying to get their students admitted. So I know something about the process from the other side.
A lot of high school students earn college credit before graduating high school. Several avenues for doing this are available to homeschooled students and a lot of students graduate high school as homeschoolers with several college credits or even a two-year AA degree to their name.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are a popular option in schools. Part of the reason for their popularity is that high schools get higher ratings if they have more of their students take AP exams and higher ratings can lead to more funding. Note that some ratings aren't even based
Community service is NOT required for graduation from a home education program. On the other hand, community service is not only good for the soul and the community, but can also help with college scholarships.
Documentation of community service for high school, aka the last four years of a child's k-12 education, should be kept. The last four years is an important distinction since grade levels aren't always clearly defined for homeschool students. Some graduate earlier than they would have if they'd been in a public school and some will take their time and graduate later. Scholarship programs will not accept more than four years' of community service--from the day after 8th grade--usually considered to be the end of May or early June onward--until high school graduation.
It can be useful in pursuing scholarships including the Bright Futures scholarship or other programs.
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 all colleges in the Florida college system to accept the Affidavit of Completion as the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. (See question 15 in the Florida Dept. of Education's official Home Education FAQ for parents.)(link updated 10/2022)
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.
Changes (Jan. 2020) in Florida law require specific wording to be used on notarized documents as listed below in the sample. Check with a notary for the latest wording to be used.
Also check out our information on transcripts at high school transcripts and also at https://www.flhomeschoolevaluations.com/transcripts.html
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?