Home School Court Report
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Reminder: What the law really says

Under Florida law, there is no arbitrary deadline for the submission of annual evaluations. A homeschool family may submit the evaluation any time within one year of the anniversary of their original notification.

If an evaluation does not demonstrate progress, the parent has one year to provide remedial instruction to the student. At the end of the one-year probationary period, the student shall be reevaluated to determine if he has progressed commensurate with his ability. The school district has no authority to instantly terminate a family's homeschool program and force the child to attend school.

Unfortunately, a number of Florida school districts needed to be reminded this fall what the law really says.

Pinellas County threatened that if it did not receive a member family's annual evaluation by April 8, their children would be "dropped from the home education program and would need to be enrolled in either public or private school." Home School Legal Defense Association contacted the school district, explaining the law—there is no specific deadline for the family's submission of their evaluation.

Similarly, Hillsboro County informed a member family that that if their annual evaluation was not received by June 30, "the homeschool program will be terminated and the student will be required to enter a school." HSLDA immediately challenged the school district's misstatement of Florida law.

Franklin County Schools insisted that an HSLDA member fill out a new homeschool notification form for the new year. HSLDA informed the district that a notice of intent is only required once—when a family begins homeschooling.

In Lee County, HSLDA members were being told that they were required to submit their phone number and information pertaining to their child's previous school location. HSLDA wrote a letter explaining that these "requirements" were not mandated by law.

Much to the credit of Lee's superintendent, he responded,

You are correct in your description of what information Florida statutes require parents to provide the school districts in order to establish a home education program. As superintendent of Lee County Schools, I assure that no homeschool program will be denied by Lee County School District due to a parent's failure to provide more information than is required by the statute.

Duval County School District insisted that a member's 5 year old needed to attend school or the parents would have to submit a notification and evaluation at the end of the school year. HSLDA explained that children in Florida are not subject to the compulsory attendance law until the child turns age 6 by February 1 of the current school year.

— Christopher J. Klicka