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
most a 24 hour turnaround time.
Please know we are updating records and completing forms as quickly as we can.
At this time, we are unable to send complimentary reminder letters for the annual evaluation
We are also unable to send our acknowledgement packets welcoming our new families.
It is our hope to resume this if the district budget allows in the future.”
Note that this is likely true of many other school districts, too.
If you send in a letter of intent, your best option is to send it via email and keep a copy of the sent email as proof. Be sure your letter includes your child's name and date of birth, address, a parent's name and signature and says something about planning to home educate your child.
You do NOT have to provide any other information. You do NOT have to use a specific form. Sending the least information possible creates fewer issues/worries in future. For example, some district forms ask if you plan to use FLVS (Flex) for your curriculum. If you answer that as "yes" and later change your mind, you don't want to have to worry about whether that will cause an issue. Leave your options open.
You are not asking them for permission to homeschool. You are informing them of your plan. They cannot reject it--they do not have a right to approve nor disapprove. By law, they are obligated to record it.
Once your letter is sent in, you are officially homeschooling. Keep records of your child's learning. Eventually--by the time a year is up or within 30 days of telling the district that you are done homeschooling--you'll send in evaluation documentation--basically verifying that you did educate your child as you told them you would.
You can use any materials--books, magazines, stories, websites, apps, etc.--that teach your child. In a pinch and don't know what to use? You can always start with something like Easy Peasy All-in-One-Homeschool (a faith-based free online option) or Khan Academy (a secular free online option) while you figure something else out (or maybe even stick with those long-term). There are lots educational YouTube videos and other online resources available for free, too.
Cheryl--homeschool mom and evaluator for 17 years
Note: As of the end of November 2020, this still applies. Home Education Offices are dealing with more new homeschoolers than ever and are still weeks behind. Be patient with them. Email is the best method of contact for most Home Education offices around Florida.