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June 25, 2014

Portfolio Review Requested in Hernando County


Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Florida. He and his wife homeschool their children. Read more >>

After notifying school officials that they were establishing a home education program for their just-turned 6-year-old in early January, an HSLDA member family received a letter requesting that a portfolio for the child be submitted by April 28. The family submitted their child’s portfolio within a week of when they received the district’s request and thought this would be the end of it.

However, in early May they received a second portfolio request. One reason the district requested a second portfolio was because the first didn’t include samples from mid-March to the end of April (when the portfolio review was conducted). The reason there were no samples for this time period was because the family had submitted the portfolio immediately after the request was made.

HSLDA Intervenes

When notified of the situation, HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt contacted Hernando County officials and requested that they drop the request for a second portfolio review. Schmidt pointed out that the first portfolio review had shown that the child was being educated at home and that was all that was necessary. Shortly after this, Hernando County officials withdrew their second portfolio request.

We believe the reason a portfolio was requested in the first place was because of the family’s misunderstanding regarding when they should have notified school officials that they were adding their daughter to their home education program. The family assumed that they should notify school officials within 30 days of beginning their home education program when their child turned 6.

However, Florida law states that a child is compulsory attendance age for the full school year when the child turns 6 on or before February 1. Thus, if a child turns 6 on January 27, a parent should notify the school district that the child is part of a home education program within 30 days of the beginning of the start of the school year (i.e. generally in August/September when the child is 5).

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