Saturday, February 27, 2010

Florida and Homeschooling

If you didn't know, Florida is one of the best states to live in if you want to homeschool your child. The laws are not too complex, and for the most part make homeschooling quite enjoyable. Here are some key facts that you should know about the State laws:

1) Mandatory attendance is not required and does not need to recorded.
2) There are five choices for evaluation on your child's progress:
a) Individual Evaluation - you find a FL certified               teacher to evaluate your child's portfolio, interview your  
child, and will sometimes give a test.
b) National Student Achievement Test - this will be administered by a certified teacher.
c) State Student Assessment Test  - this is not only the 
FCAT, but also the HSCT
d) Psychological Evaluation - a licensed psychologist must 
do this, and then the parent must turn in evaluation
superintendent - some of the choices is the ACT/SAT
3) Keeping up with your Portfolio is all about how extensive you want to make it. It can be as low as key as you want it to as well organized as you wanted.
a) must be in chronological order
b) have sample materials
c) show activities (field trips, co-ops, lessons, tutoring, etc)
d) must have a portfolio available for a superintendent given a 15 day notice

A few side notes to know about the rights to your homeschooled child:
1) They have the right to join any public school extra curricular activities, if it entails a class be taken then the child will be enrolled for that one class.
2) The child can join in on DE/AP classes or any class that you, as the parent, feel they would do better being taught by a teacher in that profession.
3) A letter of intent to start home education must be done if a child turns 6 before Feb. 1.
4) Kindergarten in not mandatory unless you intend on your child starting elementary school in the public school system.

My recommendations: become apart of a co-op group, get your children involved with other kids their age, check out these sites for information. - Home School Legal Defense Association - Florida Parent-Educators Association

This years 23rd Annual FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention will be May 27-29, 2010. I highly recommend that you try to go. There are many classes that are taught about curriculum, Florida Laws, and just seminars that will build your confidence in your endeavor. Reson will be going with this year. Last year was my first time attending, and I will be honest it was all very intimidating and overwhelming. However, now that I know what to expect I am confident that this year is going to be a greater success as we purchase Luk's curriculum for Pre-K/K.

In my mind: Figuring out the laws and the decision to homeschool were the easiest decisions I have had to make so far. As I stated in the first blog, the choosing of curriculum and methods prove to be challenging. What is the best teaching method for Luk, and then figuring out if Logan would respond to the same method or something completely different? What is best curriculum to go with our chosen teaching method? These are all things that will be answered as my time of studying and research happens before the convention. I am setting that as my deadline to learn what I think will benefit Luk most.

The information above came from the FPEA "The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida" 14 edition/2009

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning the Art of Homeschooling

The decision to homeschool our children came with ease. It was an obvious choice; the school system is struggling academically, and as caring parents, my husband and I want our boys to have a strong religious and personal sense of self that is not taught by people that have no real care for our boys' well being. However, it is now that the true test is starting as we try and figure out what is the best curriculum for them. Our oldest would technically only be in Preschool, yet he is more in the range of a Kindergartner level.

Some choices were easier to make than others:
Handwriting: Handwriting without Tears
Math: Right Start

Handwriting was the first curriculum that was chosen back at my first visit to the Florida Homeschool Conference of 2009, yet it took some time to find the right math program. Luk is a hands-on boy, and it was the many different manipulative exercises that sold us on this curriculum.

These blogs will depict what we are going through in picking our boys' education. Along with the things that we learn along the way. The next blog will help those that are living in Florida, the laws, and the decisions that have to be made on evaluations and methods.