WELCOME TO HOMESCHOOLING!

 

We know this can be a fun (and scary) time.  Please feel free to use this information to help you get started.  

 There is a LOT of info on this page so take your time and remember you can meet me and ask any questions at the PPEA monthly support group meeting, usually the 2nd Tuesday of every month during the school year.

 

I look forward to meeting you all,

Linda  

ppeaLinda@gmail.com

 

HOMESCHOOL ORIENTATIONS

 

  

Have questions about high school? Meet with Linda at Chick Fil A Tyrone Blvd. (2471 Tyrone Blvd N St Petersburg, FL) from 10-11:30 am on Tuesday July 30th.  Please let me know you're coming by emailing me (click here to send email)  I want to make sure I have supplies for everyone.
 

For the 2013-14 school year, we currently have one opportunity for our free orientation. Orientation will be at the

Panera Bread at 1908 4th St. N in St. Petersburg

on 

Saturday August 17, 2013 from 2-4 p.m.  

This will be in the meeting room.  It is essential that you register for orientation  (you can click on the link on the word register) because the room has limited seating and we want to be sure we have room for everyone.  We will be covering homeschool law, recordkeeping and getting started with your homeschool.  There will be time for questions.  It is recommended that you NOT bring your children.  If we do not have space in the meeting room they will not be able to sit with you.  You would not want to lose your seat to someone else's child.  Even if you are willing to have your child sit on the floor, the room has an occupancy limit that I must obey.

Common Core State Standards--Probably like most of us, you have heard this latest buzz word.  Common Core is a national educational standard that 46 states have adopted for use.  Florida is one of those states.  Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is following this closely.  Information on HSLDA's position can be found on their website.  Information about the standards can be found on the Common Core website.  The PPEA does not publish an "opinion" for you to follow on political issues.  We do encourage our members to explore the Common Core for themselves.  As homechoolers, it is important to support each other through the PPEA and the FPEA  (if you are a PPEA member, you will get a discount on joining the FPEA by using the code found at the FPEA tab on our website) We can also support our Florida lobbyist, Brenda Dickinson of HEF and HSLDA as they monitor home education legislation in Florida and nationally.

Now online-

Recorded High School Record Keeping Webinar from April 2013.  You will NOT be able to ask questions, as this is pre-recorded. You may have to sign in in order to access the recording.

 

Answers to the questions from our February meeting about Bright Futures, Scholarships and Financial Aid

 

 

  

Service hours--

1.  Are religious organizations acceptable for service hours?  Specifically working in the nursery at church or participating in a mission trip?

 

Yes, as long as they do not benefit the student financially or materially, or provide service to family members (parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces nephew, and spouses, including all step relations.

 

2.  Do hours earned prior to the start of 9th grade count, or must all 100 hours be earned in the 4 years of high school?

 

The student can begin earning the hours in the summer  after the end of 8th grade and  prior to the start of 9th grade.

 

3.  Do all service hours need to be earned from the same organization or can you "job hop"?

 

The hours can be earned from different organizations however all hours must be provided on the agency letterhead document the number of hours and dates of service where the community service hours were earned and be signed by someone from the agency.

 

 

Transcripts--

1.      Do all transcripts need to be sent to you for you to send to Bright Futures?

 

Our office only deals with service hours, those must be sent to us and we report them to Bright Futures. The service hour documentation remains with the district student portfolio and does not get sent to FDOE. If you are referring to educational transcripts you would have to direct your question to FDOE.  Our contact for Bright Futures is Julia Osmond   Julia.osmond@fldoe.org

 

2.  Can homeschoolers use their transcripts for core subjects if they are registered with FLVS through the county as homeschoolers ?

 

Educational transcript questions would have to be directed to FDOE.

 

 

 

Forms and Resources

 

For your convenience we are providing a link to a PDF for the New Homeschooler Information Packet for Pinellas County  which is provided by Dot Clark's office.

 

Dot is the Coordinator of Partnership Schools and our liaison for the homeschool community and the Pinellas County Schools. You may find answers to many of your Orientation questions in this packet. Also included is the "Notice of Intent to Establish a Home Education Program" form, which you may print out to send to Dot's office.

 

 

Need to contact Dot Clark? 

Pinellas County Schools
ATTN: Home Education
301 4th St SW

P.O. Box 2942
Largo
, FL 33779-2942
(727)588-6209

This is a set of PDF files that will be helpful for you to print out and have available during the orientation: 

How to choose curriculum

Checklist for Starting a School Year

Bright Futures Requirements.

These next files were borrowed from Pamela Knopf and will help you to choose curriculum based on your child's and your temperament types:

Temperament Types

Homeschool Philosophies

 

www.fpea.com/forms/Letter_of_intent.pdf (Some counties ask for information which you are not legally required to give. FPEA sample letter of intent includes only what is required by law.)

F.A.Q.'S?

How do I start my homeschool?

 

 

Once you have decided to homeschool you have three options...

  1. Register with the county.  You need to send them a letter of intent (available on this website) within 30 days of starting your homeschool.  Each year on the anniversary of the date when you first registered as a homeschooler you need to send in your evaluation.  Accepted evaluations include:
  • an evaluation letter by certified teacher stating that the student has shown progress
  • standardized test scores (ie. SAT )
  • the results of any evaluation that you and the school district agree upon in advance.(see www.fpea.com for details).

2.   You may register with a non-traditional private school.  They will take care of notifying the county that you are registered with them.  You will use the method of evaluation that they require, and be subject to their rules.  According to the state/county your children will be considered to be private schooled.  If you have a child who is interested in sports or other extra-curricular activities, check to see if you will still qualify for those before you register with a non-traditional private school.  For example, a child would not be able to be enrolled in a non-traditional private school and play football for a public high school.  You would also have to apply for the Bright Futures scholarship as a private schooled student.

 

3.   Register with a virtual public school.  Some examples include--Connections, FLVA and K12.  If you choose this option, your children will be considered public school students.  You will need to use the curriculum the school chooses, and may have to keep track of the hours spent.  Education occurs at the computer.  Your children may be required to take the FCAT.  Since your child will be considered a public school student by the county and state, you will not have access to any of the benefits of homeschooling.

When do I need to register with the county? 

  • You need to register for the school year in which your child turns 6 (the law is more complicated than this, but let's make it easy!)  So if your child turns 6 in January 2014, you would file your letter of intent this fall.  www.fpea.com/forms/Letter_of_intent.pdf (Some counties ask for information which you are not legally required to give. FPEA sample letter of intent includes only what is required by law.)
  • However, if you are homeschooling a kindergarten student who will be attending a "traditional" school for 1st grade, you will want to file a letter of intent for kindergarten (most schools want evidence that a 1st grader has attended kindergarten).
  • You will need to notify the county when you are no longer homeschooling your student .  Remember that while the law says that compulsory education is 6-16; a 16-18 year old who has not graduated, and is not attending school CANNOT have a driver's license.

 What records must I keep? 

·         A log of what was taught—this needs to be kept up as the work is done (contemporaneously)

·         Sample of the child’s work. At least one page for each subject from the beginning, middle and end of each year (that’s at least 3 pages per subject).  You can use photographs for events or items that were too big or too fragile to keep.

·         List of books used

·         Remember that this portfolio is your child’s “permanent record”. 

 

What do I need to do about evaluations or testing?

It’s VERY IMPORTANT to remember to submit your evaluation ON OR BEFORE the anniversary of the date that you submitted your letter of intent (when you informed the county that you were homeschooling) each year.  If you don’t submit your evaluations the county does have the right to remove your permission to homeschool…essentially they close your homeschool.  The county will mail out a list of approved evaluators at the beginning of each calendar year.  You can also check the PPEA website for information on evaluators.

An evaluation is a review of your child’s work and progress for the year.  The evaluator will meet with your child and ask them about the work they did.  They will also review your portfolio (it helps to see what your child has been working on).  You will need to bring BOTH your portfolio AND your child to an evaluation.

 

Testers usually administer a standardized test to your child, either in a classroom setting or one on one.  SAT and ACT scores would meet the testing requirement, if your child has taken those tests.  You will receive the actual test scores if you choose this method of testing.  The FCAT is not recommended as a testing choice.  Although it is free, remember that the public schools have been doing test review all year and you probably have not done the same review.

 

Where do I get my homeschool teaching materials and curriculum?

Anywhere you want to!  When you submit your letter of intent to PinellasCounty, you have essentially created your own school system.  That means that you are responsible for providing all of your own materials.  To help save money, buy the school supplies you think you’ll need for the year during the back to school sales and use the library for books.  

 

So, the first thing you want to do is to mark the anniversary date on your calendar.  Remember that evaluators are all busy at the same time, so be sure to call for your appointment several months before you need it.  I usually schedule our spring appointment in January.  You can submit your evaluation at any time.  Some homeschool families find it easier to have their children evaluated in February (and submit it then) even though their anniversary date is in August.

If you have family issues and are unable to complete your testing by the due date, simply call the homeschool office for Pinellas county schools (Dot Clark’s office) and notify them of the reason for the delay and when they can expect your evaluation.  They will usually work with you in an emergency situation.

 

More details on starting your homeschool can be found by consulting the interactive online guide found here:

 

http://www.fpea.com/starting/index/css/starting_point.html