Alachua County Homeschool Requirements

Should I register my Kindergartener? What’s an annual eval? Can my child take a standardized test? What is the Florida Homeschool Law? Get answers to these questions and more…

Welcome to homeschooling in Alachua County! It’s important to note that Florida State mandates homeschool law and each county simply administers the homeschool  program as required by the state of Florida. This means the county is required to explain the Florida homeschool law to interested parents, maintain records of all homeschoolers, and review homeschool evaluations or student portfolios.

You can reach the Alachua County Homeschool Office at 352.955.7608.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE ALACHUA COUNTY HOMESCHOOL LETTER OF INTENT

Florida Home Education 

Under Florida Statute 1002.41, parents who teach and direct the education of their own children at home must notify their district school superintendent and meet the other requirements of this law. The child must show educational progress each year. These students are legally considered “home education students.” By definition, a home education program is “sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy the requirements of Statute 1003.21 and 1002.41.”

 

Parent Rights and Responsibilities

The parent or guardian is not required to be a certified teacher or have any educational qualifications. As the parent or guardian, you are the primary instructor for, and supervisor of your child’s education. Supplementary instruction through other curriculum sources is permissible and encouraged.

 

Requirements

There are six actions that must be followed to comply with Florida law as a home educator:

  1. Send a notice of intent to your district school superintendent.
  2. Maintain a portfolio of records.
  3. Make your portfolio available for inspection by the superintendent upon a 15-day written notice.
  4. Submit an annual evaluation for each child to the superintendent.
  5. Preserve each child’s portfolio for two years.
  6. Submit a letter of termination upon completion of your home education program, upon enrollment in a public or private school, or upon moving from the county.

Adapted from The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida, Eighth Edition, Published by the Florida Parent-Educators Association (www.FPEA.com).

 

Why Alachua County Requests a Birth Certificate and Proof of Residency with the Letter of Intent

 

As of July 22, 2015 the School Board of Alachua County has confirmed they will be reviewing the district policy of requesting these additional documents, which are not required by Florida State Law. Superintendent Roberts announced that the Alachua County Homeschool Office WILL comply with State Law. You are not required to send these additional documents, ONLY a letter of intent. If the Alachua County Homeschool Office sends a letter requesting proof of residency and proof of guardianship, you are not required to comply.

This site will be updated if this changes. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Kate! Email Kate

When am I required to register my child with the county?

According to Florida Statute 1003.01(13), all children ages 6-16 are required to attend school and homeschool parents must therefore register your child with the county. If your child turns 6 by February 1st of  their Kindergarten school year they must either be enrolled or registered and therefore must be evaluated, otherwise you are NOT required to register your child for Kindergarten.

If you have registered your child for Kindergarten, you must have them evaluated at the end of Kindergarten, regardless of age, in order to be in compliance with Florida law.

 

How do I register with the Alachua County Homeschool Office?

You may either fill out the Alachua County Homeschool Form: Homeschool Enrollment or send a letter of intent that you will be homeschooling your child: Alachua County Homeschool Letter of Intent.

You only have to register in Alachua County ONCE. It is not necessary to send a letter of intent each year. However, if your child returns to school for any length of time and then decides to return to homeschooling, you will need to file a new letter of intent.

 

What am I required to teach my child?

There are no state mandates as to what your child must learn. It is up to you, as your child’s homeschool facilitator, to deliver an educational program that best meets  your child’s needs. However, the state does require that learning be sequential and that one skill builds upon the next. In other words, your child needs to show progress, however that progress is not necessarily bench marked against schooled children of the same age.

 

What is the annual evaluation?

Parents are required to submit a homeschool evaluation annually within one year of your child’s homeschool anniversary date (the date you submitted your letter of intent). The Alachua County deadline is July 31st for evaluation and test score submissions. Note: July 31st is an Alachua County-specific date to ensure paperwork uniformity, however the State requirement is one year from your child’s anniversary date. You may choose to keep a portfolio of your child’s work or have your child participate in a standardized test, either of which must be reviewed and/or administered by a Florida Certified Teacher .

Some options for standardized testing:

 

What is my child’s homeschool anniversary date?

Florida statues require homeschool parents to submit an annual evaluation to the county within one year of your child’s homeschool anniversary date. The anniversary date is the date you submitted your letter of intent.

If you have forgotten your child’s anniversary date, call the Alachua County Homeschool Office at 352.955.7608 and they can assist you.

 

Where do I send my evaluation?

Evaluation results must be submitted by the anniversary date of your homeschooling program.  Please make sure to keep a copy of your evaluation form for each student and submit a copy to:

As of July 1, 2016: Homeschool Office, c/o Jejetta Lee, 2802 NE 8th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32641

Click here for to get a copy of the Homeschool Evaluation Form

 

What happens if I don’t send in an annual evaluation?

Failure to comply with the annual evaluation requirement places the home education program in noncompliance and permits the superintendent, after notice to the parent, to terminate the program. Noncompliance triggers the district’s policy regarding noncompliance with compulsory school attendance.

 

When should I terminate my homeschool program?

  • You move to another county, state or country. If you move within the state, you must terminate your program in the county you moved from and initiate a new program in the county you move to.
  • You decide to enroll your child in public or private school, implement a private tutoring program or otherwise stop home educating under the home education statutes.

Sample Alachua County Homeschool Letter of Termination.

 

Where can I find out more information on Florida Homeschool Law?

Florida Statutes Home Education Program Section 228.041

FPEA:  The Florida Parent-Educators Association exists solely to serve homeschooling families in Florida. It executes that mission through support for the legal right to homeschool, local school board education and interaction, support group networking, a state convention, local conferences and events, informative communications, and individual encouragement, all in accordance with Judeo-Christian principles.

HSLDA: Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.

 

Sample Forms

Alachua County Homeschool Letter of Intent

Alachua County Homeschool Letter of Termination

Alachua County Homeschool Evaluation Form