Going to School After Homeschooling
What should be done if you were home educating but you want (or need) to send your child to school?
Legally, you have to send the school district a Letter of Termination to tell them officially that you are done homeschooling your child. This should be sent within 30 days of finishing your homeschooling.
If you plan to put your child in a school in the fall but finish out this year homeschooling,
you could turn in the Letter of Termination any time between early June (when public schools in Florida traditionally finish their school year)and early August (or whenever you will enroll the student in school).
A final evaluation should come with the Letter of Termination or can be sent within 30 days of the Letter of Termination. This evaluation is just like any other, but lets the district know whether your child finished homeschooling successfully or not. Sometimes a Florida public school district will not ask for the evaluation immediately if a student finishes homeschooling mid-school-year and a school may not ask for it immediately either, but they will usually ask for it by the end of the school year as they try to determine whether the student passes to the next grade level or not.
The Letter of Termination and final evaluation are all that the law requires when finishing a Florida home education program, but wise parents will also type up a transcript and/or report card. There are many samples and even templates for these online. The style doesn't matter as schools use so many different styles. Just pick one that looks good to you.
Didn't keep grades? Many of us don't. Just estimate. If your child was successfully using materials at a higher grade level, put an A or A+. If your student was using lower grade level materials than expected for his or her age and was struggling or was struggling greatly with grade level materials, put a D. If your child was learning a lot with grade level materials and doing whatever work was expected, put an A or B. The grade of C would fit a child working at grade level who was not always doing work or struggling a good portion of the time. If your child wasn't using grade level materials, that's okay. Think about whether your child was learning as much as you reasonably expected based on their age and then use that to figure out grades.
Florida public schools will typically place students by their age not by the level of curriculum used. The report card or transcript will help them decide whether the student should be placed in regular, remedial, or advanced classes. Florida public schools are required to accept the documentation given them by parents as long as the student passes the first grading period in their school.
If your student finished high school level classes at home, the school will want a transcript. Certain classes (Algebra 1, Biology, and Geometry) will eventually require a public school EOC (End of Course Exam) on file in order to graduate from a Florida public high school, but that can be done after they are in the public school. Or, math scores on exams such as the SAT or ACT can be substituted for the EOC in algebra or geometry. (These requirements may, of course, be changed at least temporarily due to COVID. Some exceptions have been made for this past year.)
Can a Florida public school require FSA test scores to enroll in the school? No. Students who came from homeschooling or a private school or an out-of-state school will not have FSA scores and those tests can only be taken during a certain time of year.
Can a school ask to see your child's portfolio? Yes. They would do this to help them decide placement in remedial, regular, or advanced classes. Providing a report card or transcript can make them less likely to ask for a portfolio.
Can a school ask to see the child's Letter of Termination and final evaluation? Yes. They should be able to get that information from the Home Education Liaison, but the Liaison may be overwhelmed and showing it to the school yourself may speed up the enrollment process. Many districts won't allow schools to register students until the Letter of Termination and final evaluation are processed, so allow ample time for that.
Coming from out of state? Florida schools will not require an out-of-state student to follow requirements for terminating a home education program if they were never officially home educated in Florida. They will not require a Florida-style evaluation for a student that was never in a Florida home education program. But a report card and/or transcript will be helpful. Put the name of the state in the report card or transcript to make it clear that the student was not enrolled in Florida. If your state has some way of proving that your child was legally homeschooled, that evidence may be helpful in enrolling your child.
Coming from an umbrella school? Florida schools will not require a private school student to follow requirements for terminating a home education program if they were never officially home educated in Florida. But they will require a report card and/or transcript from the private school. (Florida umbrella schools are a type of Florida private school.) Check with the administrator(s) of the umbrella school for how to manage this. Some will require the parent to provide a report card (or information for it), that the umbrella school can then send to the school the student is transferring to. Other umbrella schools may have a vetting process so they can generate records to send to the new school--ask them about their process. Usually the school a student is transferring to will want to see records coming directly from the previous (umbrella) school and not from the parent.
Note: I've known a lot of parents to enroll their students in a Florida public school who were sure that their student would not do well--particularly in math--because they saw their child's work at home, only to have a teacher tell them the child was their best student in the public school class. The value of one-on-one individualized learning in helping a student learn as much as possible should not be discounted.
Let me know if we can help with the final evaluation.
Cheryl Trzasko--homeschool mom and evaluator since 2003