Homeschooling 101

I often have people ask me how to start a homeschool program.  So, here is the advice I give the majority of people.

  1. I think the most important thing to know, is if homeschooling is God’s plan for your family.  Take time to pray about homeschooling!
  2. The second most important thing, is that you and your spouse be in agreement that homeschooling is right for your family. You will not have a truly successful homeschool if you do not have the full support of your spouse.
  3. Agree together as a couple on the number one reason or the goal you hope to accomplish through homeschooling.  For example, to give a superior education, safety issues, medical issues, religious reasons, or a desire to be your child’s main influence.
  4. Choose a curriculum that will help you accomplish your goal.    It can be very overwhelming to look at page after page of homeschool curriculums, if you don’t have a direction in your mind.
  5. Investigate your State’s laws regarding homeschooling.  Florida is a very homeschool friendly state.  Here are the basic guidelines to begin and maintain a homeschool program in the State of Florida:
    1. Mail a letter of intent to your local school board.  Basically in this letter, you want to let your local school board know that you will be beginning a homeschool program for your child/children.  You need to include your mailing address, and each child’s name and date of birth.  I highly recommend mailing this letter as certified mail and make sure to get a return receipt for your records.
    2. You need to keep a portfolio showing work that your student has completed over the past year.  For a detailed example of how I keep my records, check out this article.
    3. Each year, on the anniversary of sending in your letter of intent, you need to submit an evaluation for each student you are homeschooling.  You basically have 2 options where evaluations are concerned.  You can submit Standardized Test Scores as long as the test was administered by a teacher who is certified in the State of Florida.  Your second option is to submit an evaluation performed by a teacher certified in the State of Florida. At the evaluation meeting, the teacher will look through the portfolio you have been keeping all year.  Then he or she will decide if your student is “making progress commensurate with their ability”.  Typically, the teacher will provide a letter for the homeschooling parent to mail to the school board.
  6. Find a local support group.  In Florida a good place to start is FPEA. HSLDA also has contact information for many support groups nationwide.
  7. Take it slow and easy.  It is very easy to get overwhelmed your first year.  I’ve heard the saying, “Take all the things you want to do over the course of the year, then cut it in half”. Just keep in mind the number one reason or goal for which you are homeschooling, and focus on that.

More helpful resources:

Florida Law

You Can Homeschool

FPEA

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

**Please remember that you are ultimately responsible for your child’s homeschool program.  The Frazzled Mama accepts no liability for failure to comply with your state’s homeschooling laws. **

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