Homeschooling Info for Miami-Dade County, FL
• How does a parent/guardian register their child(ren) for the Florida Home Education Program in Miami-Dade County?
The parent or legal guardian will need to submit a letter of intent to the Superintendant at the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, stating their intent to home educate their child(ren) which includes the student's name(s), address, birthdate(s), and parent’s signature. This letter of intent should be mailed to: Miami-Dade county Public Schools, Attendance Services, 489 East Drive, Miami Springs, Florida 33166.
Sample Notice of Intent
• What are the basic requirements?
The parent/guardian must direct his/her child, with progressive instruction, in order to satisfy the requirements of Florida Statutes. The parent/guardian is responsible for the curriculum, materials, and textbooks, as well as the maintenance of a portfolio of samples of the child's work. The parent/guardian must also maintain a chronologically documented log of academic instruction and activities as well as a list of books used in their homeschooling. The student(s) must be academically evaluated each year, by one of the methods listed below, with the evaluation being filed with the Home Education office in Attendance Services by the annual anniversary date of the institution of your home school. In addition, a homeschool parent/guardian must make the portfolio, log, and list of books used available for inspection by a MDCPS representative, if they have been notified in writing by the county within 15 days. The inspection is only to make sure the portfolio is legal; the superintendant cannot evaluate its contents. (That is the function on the evaluation.) The portfolio, log, and list of books must be preserved for 2 years.
• What curriculum is used and where are textbooks purchased?
The parent/guardian may use any curriculum he/she prefers. There are numerous resources of new and used curriculum materials available online to purchase and/or obtain for free. You may also make great use of your local public library. Another option is to obtain a copy of the Miami-Dade County Public School's Competency Based Curriculum (the curriculum, by grade level, taught in all the district's schools) which may be secured by calling (305) 995-2432. Please note that if you are registered in the Florida Home Education Program, there will be no charge for this curriculum. To obtain a Florida School Book Depository, Inc. textbook catalog of used materials and get ordering information you may call (305) 995-2573. The FPEA (Florida Parent-Educators Association) is also a wonderful resource for learning about the different educational approaches as well as many, many other things. Their website is www.FPEA.com. Links to specific homeschool catalogs and curriculum can be found here or in the Links tab of our main menu.
• How is the evaluation requirement fulfilled?
A parent may select one of the following methods to fulfill the evaluation requirement:
1. A teacher selected by the parent or guardian shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level;
2. The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;
3. The student shall take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district;
4. The student shall be evaluated by way of a psychological evaluation by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s.490.003(7) or (8); or
5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent or guardian.
• What about high school and a diploma?
Just as for any previous year(s), a parent/guardian may select any curriculum for study in high school that they choose for their student(s). There are many options such as co-ops, virtual classes, and college dual-enrollment in addition to or instead of courses taken at home. Keeping track of all the courses and activities they accomplish will be what goes into their transcript which is what they will submit, in addition to SAT or ACT scores, to a college for their postgraduate studies if that is their next step in life. Requirements for the Bright Futures Scholarships and Florida universities parallel the graduation requirements for Florida public-school students, so although there are no specific graduation requirements for homeschooled students per Florida Statutes, it is wise to follow a path that will enable your student(s) to achieve their postgraduate goals by meeting or exceeding the public-school requirements. Check with the colleges your student plans on applying to in order to find out their entrance requirements for completed high school courses as well as for achievement tests such as the SAT or ACT. Bright Futures Scholarship applicants must complete community service hours as follows:
- FAS initial eligibility requirements include the completion of 100 hours of community service
- FMS initial eligibility requirements include the completion of 75 hours of community service
- GSV initial eligibility requirements include the completion of 30 hours of community service
Home educated students are well trained and well accepted in the world that awaits them. College, vocational schools, and the military are familiar with homeschoolers. Though these institutions may have some specific entrance requirements for homeschoolers, the students will not find themselves disadvantaged simply for being home-educated. In fact, because home-educated students are generally more well-rounded, having participated in many activities, homeschooling is often an advantage when it comes to school and career choices.
Homeschooled high school students in Miami-Dade County also have many opportunities to experience the “typical” high school experience just as traditionally schooled students. There is a large prom in May for all homeschooled high schoolers given by the senior class, they can order class rings, have senior pictures, go to Grad Night at Universal Studios, and have several senior trips. They can attend the statewide graduation ceremony in Orlando hosted by the FPEA and/or attend one of the graduation ceremonies hosted by local support groups like LIGHT. There is no shortage of activities and opportunities for home educated high school students!
• What if we stop homeschooling in Miami-Dade?
Upon completion of a home-education program, enrollment in a public or private school, or upon moving from the county, a notice of termination must be filed within 30 days of the time the program ended with the superintendent's office by mailing to: Miami-Dade county Public Schools, Attendance Services, 489 East Drive, Miami Springs, Florida 33166. It should include the same information as the notice of intent, and it is once again recommended that it be sent certified mail, return-receipt requested to prove it reached its destination.