Florida's home education laws were originally put in place in the 1980s after changes in Federal tax laws and school funding policies caused many private schools to shut down and homeschooling parents were harassed by local officials. Craig Dickinson of FL Home Education Foundation helped write those laws and his widow, Brenda Dickinson, works today to maintain them.
Public school teachers and administrators are not required to read Florida's home education laws--which means that they can't be relied on to actually know those laws.
We recommend that all homeschool parents read Florida's home education laws and policies.
Feel free to ask us if you have questions. We have previously helped a number of parents when uninformed over-zealous school district officials over-stepped their bounds. It doesn't happen often, but we offer support if needed.
Homeschool parents can use public school standards and resources if they wish but are not required to.
Keeping up with public schools is usually not an issue for long-term homeschoolers who can get more one-on-one attention, have curriculum customized for them, use their interests to increase learning, get questions answered (even if you have to find someone to answer them), etc.
Q: What if my child's behind in math (or some other subject)?
A: Florida law does not require grade levels for home education students, so the child will not be compared to any grade level standards in an evaluation.
Choose materials that fit your child's level and work at improving knowledge and skills and your child will make great progress.
Start with what your child needs to learn and work on learning more.
If your child is regularly learning and you keep records of that learning, passing the evaluation should not be a worry.
Learning Family Style
Teaching several children?
You could use separate materials at separate levels for each child--like the schools do. Or you can instead teach "family style" using some materials and activities for all of them at once. Hands-on educational activities, videos, and materials that can be read aloud and discussed together can work well with mixed age groups. The oldest will get the most from them and the youngest will learn, too. While they may need individualized math, reading, and spelling, a lot can be done together and a variety of published curriculum were designed to use for family-style lessons. Read here for examples.
Are there free materials available for homeschooling?
There are many sources of free curriculum. Some popular examples include:
Note that there are many, many online options. There are many educational YouTube channels and sites that offer some of their materials for free. Be aware that if you are printing materials, it may be cheaper to buy a book, and used materials can be a great deal. Some public schools even have old books to give away if you ask about their "off adoption" materials.
the Florida Parent Educator Association,
sponsors a large conference with vendors displaying curriculum options.
They also offer trips, seminars, a huge high school graduation ceremony, discounts, advice and support, etc. for homeschoolers.
Use the coupon code CT19 for a discount in joining.
Florida Homeschool Association
is a newer statewide homeschool support group offering a conference in central Florida in May with homeschool curricula on display for those looking for a nonreligious option.
Keep records of the student's learning.
See our page with information and examples of portfolio records for details on the information to keep.
Most likely no school district official will ever see these records (though they can ask in writing to see them), but all homeschool parents should keep records.