Interested in Unschooling in Florida? We can help

We’re lucky to be living in a country that allows parents to take their kids out of school and educate them at home. However, there are still often a lot of regulations placed on homeschoolers, as is the case in Florida.

This can be a problem if you want to do unschooling — that is, to let your children chart their own educational courses on their own timelines. How do you give your kids authentic freedom if they have to take tests and are required to learn certain subjects by law? In this article we’ll explain what the requirements are, and then explore loopholes that can get you out of them.

Florida’s Regulations

In Florida, you have three options for homeschooling legally: 1) Homeschooling under the homeschool statute, 2) Homeschooling under a private school “umbrella” program, or 3) Homeschooling with a private tutor.

1. Homeschooling under the homeschool statute

  • Must file a notice of intent to homeschool with the county superintendent
  • Must maintain a portfolio that includes:
    • A log of educational activities made with the instruction and a list of reading materials used
    • Samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, and creative materials used or developed by the child
  • Must evaluate your child annually by one of the following options every year: 
    • Have educational progress evaluated (review of portfolio and discussion with the child) by a teacher holding a valid regular Florida teaching certificate and selected by the parent 
    • Take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher
    • Take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher under testing conditions and at a location approved by the school district
    • Be evaluated by a Florida licensed psychologist or school psychologist
    • Be “evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon”

2. Homeschooling under the a private school “umbrella” program

  • Private school program must supervise your homeschool program
  • Must ensure that the private school is in compliance with all private school requirements mandated by the state of Florida

3. Homeschooling with a tutor

  • Tutor must hold a valid Florida certificate to teach the subjects or grades in which instruction is given
  • Tutor must keep records and make reports as required by the state and district school boards in accordance with Florida Statutes 1003.23
  • Must provide 180 days of instruction annually

Loophole #1: Check with your local school district

If you are a homeschooler in Florida, you are required by law to abide by the above regulations. However, these regulations may or may not be enforced at the local level. If you are interested in unschooling, you can give your local school district a call to find out what guidelines they actually enforce.

This can go the other way too. If your local school district is asking for something that is not required by the state, there are homeschool legal defense associations that will step in and help you maintain your rights.

Loophole #2: Online self-directed private school

If your child is enrolled in a private school, they are not considered a homeschooler and are exempt from all homeschooling regulations.

But isn’t the whole point of unschooling that the child is not in a school?

Enter The Open School. We have a virtual program that you can enroll in from anywhere in the world. And as a self-directed school, our program is perfectly aligned with unschooling. We have no required subjects and no tests. Instead, students design virtual activities to do with other students and staff, including art projects, video games, workshops, one-on-one lessons, and anything else you can imagine. It’s a community of self-directed learners, and a great place for unschoolers to make deep, lasting friendships.

If you want your child to be a free learner in Florida, without being subject to evaluations or curriculum, a virtual private school may be your best bet. You can read more about our virtual program, or contact us directly, by clicking one of the buttons below.

Learn MoreRequest Information