Homeschooling FAQ

Homeschooling is a big undertaking! Here are the answers to some common questions that families have when they begin their homeschooling adventure. We’re still working on getting these answers added, so make sure you check back periodically. If you have questions and would like a personal answer, please email us.

+How do I homeschool VPK?

Pre-K is not required in Florida – the ‘V’ in VPK stands for voluntary! There is no reporting requirement and no set curriculum. Just spend time reading and exploring with your child!

+How do I make the switch to homeschooling from public school?

If your student is a kindergartener, you will need to send in a Letter of Intent to Homeschool to the county at the beginning of the school year in which they will be 6 by February 1. This meets their compulsory attendance requirement.

If your student has been previously enrolled in public school, you will need to withdraw them from school (even if it’s the end of a school year) before sending in a letter of intent. This extra step helps ensure that your school’s registrar isn’t looking for your missing student at the beginning of the school year.

+What kind of records do I need to keep?

The state requires to to keep a record of educational materials used each school year, in addition to keeping all of their schoolwork for the prior three years. To form your portfolio, it’s best to set aside and file the best examples of your child’s progress in a binder or folder. This gives a one-glance overview of everything you’ve worked on over the course of the year.

+What is an umbrella school? Do I need one?

An ‘umbrella’ or ‘cover school’ is actually a private school in the eyes of the state. Enrolling with an umbrella school means that you are counted by the county as a private school family rather than a homeschooling family. Because of this, you don’t have to mail a letter of intent, keep records of materials and archive schoolwork, or prepare a portfolio for review. However, you will have to comply with the requirements of your cover school. As a minimum, private schools in Florida have to collect a physical and vaccination record, as well as report attendance quarterly.

Whether or not you need an umbrella school depends on how you prefer to balance privacy, convenience, and the ability to participate in school activities and the Personal Learning Scholarship Account program.

+What difference does it make if I choose to use an umbrella school or register with the county?

Homeschoolers registered with the county are officially considered ‘homeschoolers’. They can join in sports and extracurriculars at their zoned school (pending approval), dual enroll at EFSC or other state colleges for free, and individuals with qualifying disabilities and/or special needs are eligible for the PLSA program.

Homeschoolers using a cover school may not participate in the programs listed above, but have significantly fewer annual reporting requirements.

+Will my child have to take standardized tests?

No. Standardized tests are not required of homeschoolers. Some families choose to have their kids sit for tests, either in place of their annual portfolio review, to give the student some test-taking practice, or just to see where their kids stand and what progress they’ve made. Most students with college aspirations will also choose to take the PSAT and SAT in high school, but this is not a state requirement.

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