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.
Currently, the Bright Futures scholarship program requires at least 100 hours of community service for their highest level of scholarship and 75 hours for their lower level. Having this documentation, for all the needed hours, in place by the middle of the final year of high school is wise.
Documentation for these hours could be on the letterhead of the nonprofit, with contact information for the person supervising and that person’s name and signature, the dates and hours of service, and a brief description of the service. Or this information can be kept on your own form. It is recommended that the forms list specific dates and hours served each day as some parents have tried to submit forms that say, for example, that the student served 75 hours from June 2020 to August 2020, without specific dates and the hours served on each day, only to have them rejected. The brief description of the service is important, too, as some sorts of volunteer work are not accepted.
The Bright Futures has specific rules about the sorts of community service which they accept. For example, volunteering for a for-profit business to help them sell their product or services likely won't count. Neither will preaching or trying to win converts for a religious organization, but helping set up furniture, feed the hungry, or run a children's program for that same organization likely will. Volunteering in family-run company won't likely count, nor will any endeavor in which the student receives some kind of recompense.
After the student has opened up financial aid accounts (scholarships count as a type of financial aid) at both the Federal and Florida levels, copies of the documentation for community service hours can be sent to the Home Education Liaison to be verified on their systems.
In these days in which so many programs and events have been cancelled, finding opportunities for volunteering have become more difficult to find. In the past, many libraries and nonprofit organizations offered ample opportunities for community service. But when many are closed or offer limited services and don't want non-employees spending too much time in their facilities, community service might require more thinking outside the box--something at which homeschool families tend to excel. One way to find good opportunities is to think of a project that will benefit the community or a particular nonprofit organization--something that, perhaps, can be done outside. Then write a proposal and take it to a local church, synagogue, mosque, community service organization, etc., especially one to which the student has ties, and see if anyone in the organization is willing to supervise and sign off on hours spent on the project. Such projects can not only earn community service, but can be used to show leadership and organization skills to colleges and scholarship organizations.