Starting Point: Homeschooling in Florida

Starting Point: Homeschooling in Florida

Podcast #2

New to homeschooling in Florida? Want to know more about how to get started? We can help. In this episode, Suzanne discusses what is required and how to get started homeschooling in Florida.

Visit each link below and carefully read the all the information to better understand Florida homeschooling:

 

You can find Support Groups, Co-ops and Non-traditional private schools here: http://fpea.com/groups

Choosing to homeschool is a decision that requires careful consideration of many factors, and the choice to homeschool is one of several education options in Florida. Homeschooling can be extremely successful and truly enables your children to “learn without boundaries.”  We encourage you to explore fully this option for educating your children.

The FPEA also provides a more detailed resource, the Guide to Homeschooling in Florida, which covers homeschooling in greater depth. One benefit of FPEA membership is free online access to this 100-plus-page resource. The Guide contains information on educational methods, curriculum resources, your legal responsibilities, where to find additional support and/or accountability, homeschooling high school students and teaching special-needs children, as well as helpful forms.

Local libraries and bookstores often have books on homeschooling. A few that come to mind are The Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride, How to Homeschool: A Practical Approach by Gayle Graham and The Simplicity of Homeschooling by Vicky Goodchild. A good book for teaching elementary students is The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick. For those thinking about homeschooling high schoolers, I recommend Piecing Together the High School Puzzle by Joanne Mastronicola. For those with students with learning challenges, an excellent resource is Homeschooling Children with Special Needs by Sharon C. Hensley.

Concerning homeschool curriculum, the good news is there are many choices and sources. The challenge is there are hundreds and hundreds of materials from which to choose. Florida does not require any specific curricula or even specific credits for high school; you are free to select the materials and the courses best suited for your children. It is important to know why you have chosen to homeschool and to be somewhat familiar with the different educational philosophies — traditional, unit studies, classical, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, etc. The approach you take usually drives curriculum choices. Attending an FPEA-sponsored homeschool orientation will help you understand the factors to consider in making informed choices. It is also advisable to consider the learning style and the successful/unsuccessful education experiences of each individual child. Some curricula are better suited to a specific learning style or a particular subject.

The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida includes a full directory of “tried and true” home education teaching materials. Please contact those companies to access their catalogs so you can begin to search for the materials that interest you. Long-time favorite catalog companies are R.O.C.K. Solid (www.rocksolidinc.com), Timberdoodle (www.timberdoodle.com), CBD (www.christianbook.com) and Sonlight (www.sonlight.com). The best catalog companies are owned by homeschool parents, have great descriptions of their products, and offer a wide selection of some of the best materials. In the Orlando area, A.C.C.E.S. (www.acces-inc.com) offers a variety of homeschool curricula and has a public warehouse where you can preview them.

 

Most libraries and bookstores have homeschool magazines that contain reviews of different teaching materials and encouraging articles. Your library may also carry 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy, a highly recommended resource. If you choose to homeschool with a particular philosophy (classical, unit studies, traditional, etc.), specific books recommend curricula based on it. In addition, many local libraries host FPEA-sponsored homeschool orientations.

It can be scary for new homeschoolers to decide for themselves what is important for their children to learn and to have confidence they are not “missing” anything. You can review the Sunshine State Guidelines at http://www.cpalms.org/Public/search/Standard, or look for the What Your Child Needs to Know When books by Robin Scarlata Sampson and E.D. Hirsch Jr. The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida also includes a large section on high school issues, with a sample credit-planning page and a sample transcript. You are free to teach your children whatever benefits them most, but be sure you are familiar with the skills and knowledge they need.

In addition, it is vital to be connected to a local support group. It is a great source for answering questions and providing extracurricular activities and social opportunities. You are likely surrounded by homeschooling families who will help you feel a sense of community. To locate FPEA-recognized support groups that meet in your FPEA district, visit www.fpea.com, click on Find Your District and then click on your geographic area. When contacting groups, be sure to ask what they offer and require. Start with groups that meet closest to where you live, but do find a group you feel comfortable with and that best meets your needs.

It is also vitally important for you to become an FPEA member, as the benefits far outweigh the minimal cost (just five cents a day). You will receive the FPEA’s quarterly Connect magazine, packed with encouraging articles and information; the Guide to Homeschooling in Florida (print copies available for purchase); discounts from select local businesses; exclusive discounts on various products and services; a deep reduction on registration to the annual FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention in the Orlando area; easy access to homeschooling experts such as Mentoring Moms, Friends of FPEA and District Directors; and much more! In particular, because of encroachments on homeschooling freedoms, FPEA membership helps you present a united voice in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. Online member registration is open — the fee is $30 when joining through an FPEA-recognized group or $40 as an individual family.  You can join here: https://fpea.com/webforms/fpea-membership-form-new-memberships-and-renewals

 

To close, we encourage you to visit the FPEA online events at www.fpea.com  for announcements of homeschool orientations and other homeschool events statewide. Also, the annual Convention in May is the largest of its kind in the country. The three-day event offers dozens of workshops and hundreds of exhibitors, as well as extensive activities and entertainment for the whole family at the luxurious Gaylord Palms Resort. Details may be found at www.fpea.com by clicking on Events. Mark your calendar now to attend the coming May — you don’t want to miss this spectacular event!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions — the FPEA is here to serve you.

 

Learn more at our website, www.FPEA.com

 

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