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Homeschooling High School

Homeschoolers in Florida have two main options in terms of registration. This includes registering with an umbrella school, or private school that caters to home education. With this option, homeschooling families need to follow the requirements of their umbrella school, for their student to obtain a high school diploma. This will vary from umbrella to umbrella, as each umbrella school can select their own requirements. Many will have their requirements be similar to those of public-school students. The other option is to register as a homeschooler with their county. 

High school students who register with their county or umbrella school (check to make sure your umbrella participates) are eligible for dual enrollment and bright futures scholarships. However, homeschool students registered with their county do not receive a high school diploma from their county or from the state of Florida. Rather, parents will complete the end of year evaluations as required and complete an affidavit stating that their student has completed their “schools” high school requirements and prepare their students high school transcripts (templates below). Colleges and universities in Florida must accept these documents as the state treats each home school as its own private school.

The state of Florida does not mandate specific requirements for a high school student to complete or “graduate” from their home school if they are registered as a homeschooler with their county. Each home school can determine their own requirements for this and are not required to follow what is required of public-school students. Even so, many homeschool families choose to follow a similar path of those in public schools to ensure that their students are well prepared for employment or college/university admission after completing high school. Keep in mind that if you are registered with an umbrella school, you will need to follow the requirements of your umbrella school.

The requirements for a standard high school diploma for public school students requires specific classes/credits. Each credit is equivalent to 120 hours of instruction in that class. These requirements can be found here and are summarized below.

Classes & Credits (24 total)

➔   English Language Arts: 4 credits

➔   Mathematics: 4 credits (one must be Algebra 1 and one must be Geometry) 

*A student can receive 2 credits for Algebra 1 if it took two full-year courses to complete the course.

Computer science can take the place of one math credit (except for Algebra 1 and Geometry) OR one science credit (except for Biology)

*A course in 3D Rapid Prototype Printing may be used for two math credits (with the exception of Algebra 1)

➔   Science: 3 credits (two must include a lab component and one must be Biology 1)

*Computer science can take the place of one math credit (except for Algebra 1 and Geometry) OR one science credit (except for Biology)

➔   Social Studies: 3 credits which should include U.S. History (1 credit), World History (1 credit), Economics (0.5 credit), U.S. Government (0.5 credit)

➔   Fine or performing art, speech and debate, or practical art: 1 credit

➔   Physical Education: 1 credit

*Participation in a sport for two full seasons meets the credit requirement. 

➔   Electives: 7.5 credits

➔  Personal Financial Literacy: 0.5 credit

*At least one course in high school must be completed through online learning. An online course taken in middle school meets this requirement.

*Public school recommends that 2 credits in a world language are completed by students who plan to attend college or a university*

Public school students are required to take EOC (end of course) assessments for specific classes above in order to receive credit. EOC assessments account for 30% of their final grade in the class. These are not required of homeschooled students and are completely optional. However, the end of year annual evaluation is always required of homeschooled students. The EOC may or may not be required of those registered with an umbrella school (check the umbrella’s requirements).

The curriculum used or methods used for the above classes are completely at the discretion of those who are registered as homeschoolers with their county. Including any and all of these classes as a homeschooler with the county is optional but highly recommended for college entrance. Keep in mind that umbrella schools set their own requirements, which may or may not be similar to what is required of public school students. If you are registered with an umbrella school, always check with your umbrella!

Homeschool families registered with their county should

  • Maintain records of the curriculum used for all classes

  • Maintain the annual portfolio for the end of year evaluation

  • Keep a working transcript for your highschooler and update their records and grades at the end of each year [colleges will ask for this and noting “official” at the top of your transcript makes it an official document; if taking FLVS classes or other classes where a grade is assigned to your student from a teacher that is documented permanently the grade you enter for your student on the transcript should match the grade assigned]

  • Keep a log outlining the classes taken, year they were taken, a description of the class, and materials/curriculum used for the classes [colleges may ask for this]

Templates

"Official" High School Transcript
Course Descriptions
FL DOE Template for Affidavit of Homeschool Completion 

Affidavit of Homeschool Completion Template 

*After your student has completed all high school requirements you must complete the end of year evaluation and submit a letter of termination to your county.*

 

Standardized testing is not required of students registered as a homeschooler with their county and may or may not be required of umbrella schools. Sometimes, however, parents want to have their student tested to see where they stand in comparison to public school students in their “grade.” The ​California Achievement Test is a good test for this purpose. It is low cost, untimed, online, and results are available immediately. Also, scores do not need to be shared with anyone.

Dual Enrollment

Homeschooled students that are registered with their county are allowed to participate in the dual enrollment program. If you are registered with an umbrella school, you will need to check with your umbrella to determine if they participate in any dual enrollment opportunities. If your umbrella school does participate, make sure you know which colleges or universities they participate with. Those colleges or universities will be the ones your student can apply for dual enrollment at, unless your umbrella school forms an agreement with a different college or university for you.

Dual enrollment means students can take college level classes at a participating college or university and the classes count toward college credit and high school at the same time. Most colleges and universities require dual enrolled students to reside in their county or a neighboring county. The college or university may also have similar residency requirements of umbrella schools. Each college and university can set their own testing requirements and other requirements to participate in dual enrollment. To get started, contact your county’s college or university.

Many students will participate in dual enrollment at their local county state college. If you want to attend a different college or university, you may need to request a “Dual Enrollment Residency Exception Request” form from the college you want to attend. You will then take it to your county college and ask them to approve the form. Once it is approved there, you will take the form back to the college you want to attend. If this form is not approved or accepted, your students will have to participate in dual enrollment at their county’s community college.

You can obtain information about dual enrollment admission requirements by searching “dual enrollment” on the college’s website. Most requirements are as follows (but these will vary by college and county).

  • Be in grades 6-12th and have completed at least one high school level course.

  • Be at least 13 years of age.

  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • Take a college entrance exam (SAT, ACT) and meet their minimum scores OR take the PERT exam, offered at the college. Note that the PERT exam is good for 2-3 years so students really need to do well on the exam. Each college or university can set their own required test scores to participate in dual enrollment. Check with your college to make sure you know what is needed.

  • Show proof of being registered as a homeschool student with your county. If you are registered with an umbrella school, the umbrella administrator will need to submit OR sign and approve required forms for you.

  • Complete a Home School Articulation Agreement, which is obtained from the college. If you are registered with an umbrella school, you will not have to do this as your umbrella school already has an articulation agreement with the college or university. 

If you are registered with an umbrella school, they will have different requirements for your student to participate in dual enrollment. You will need to check with both the college and umbrella to make sure all steps are followed.

Many students will choose to take the PERT to get started with dual enrollment. The SAT or ACT is still required for many scholarships (such as Bright Futures) and many college or university admissions. 

A study guide for the PERT can be obtained from your county’s state college. They are all pretty much the same. A study guide can be found here: https://www.seminolestate.edu/media/testing/pert/PERT-Study-Guide.pdf

You can also search the internet for practice tests. One can be found here: https://college.measuredsuccess.com/mscollege/practiceTest2/index.html

After your student has met all of the dual enrollment admission requirements, they will be able to begin taking college classes. Many of these can be completed online and others will need to be on campus. Admission officers at the college can help you pick the best classes to take. It is not required that homeschool students who are participating in dual enrollment take any additional classes other than their college classes.

Before transferring from a dual enrollment student to a regular college student, your student will need to take the SAT or ACT. These are college entrance exams and are required at most 4-year universities, even if your student is already taking college level classes at the state college. Scores on these tests determine eligibility for Bright Futures scholarships.

Your student can prepare for these exams by taking online classes via Khan Academy for free: https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep

Information about the SAT exam and how to schedule and pay for the exam can be found here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat

Information about the ACT exam and how to schedule and pay for the exam can be found here:

https://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act.html

Make sure you plan accordingly because the tests and colleges have different due dates for admission or transferring from a dual enrolled student to a regular college student.

A few things to note

Ideally, parents aim for their homeschooler to participate in dual enrollment and earn their AA degree at the same time they complete high school. This means that they will do dual enrollment their 11th and 12th grade years. If your student plans to then transfer to a 4-year university, such as UCF, they must complete at least one semester as a regular college student at the college they completed dual enrollment courses at before graduating with their AA and transferring to the 4-year institution. This may have changed but this is what happened to my oldest. Also, most community colleges will not allow dual enrolled students to attend full time, which is a 12-credit (roughly 4 classes) load. Rather, many only allow dual enrolled students to take 6 or 9 credits a semester (2 or 3 classes; most classes are 3 credit hours, but some are 4 or 5, depending on the class). Keep this in mind. This means that your dual enrolled student will not have enough credits at this rate to graduate with their AA degree at the same time as they complete high school. This does not mean that you enroll your student in more than one college for dual enrollment. This is highly frowned upon, risks some credits not transferring or “counting,” and may cause academic issues at the college level. The colleges set a credit limit for a reason. Most AA degrees require 60 credit hours (roughly 20 classes). Also, if your student plans to transfer to a 4-year institution you should note their general education, world language, and other requirements for your students desired academic major. These will likely vary from what is required to graduate with an AA degree at the state college BUT these additional classes can be taken at the state college as elective credits (the classes count as electives at the state college AND required general education classes at the 4-year institution). Some 4-year institution's will assume that all general education courses are complete if your student is transferring after earning their AA degree.

Bright Futures
 

Many homeschoolers want to be able to take advantage of the Bright Futures Scholarship for their high schoolers. If your student is able to do dual enrollment and receive this scholarship, their college education will be virtually free (theoretically).
 

Information about the scholarship can be found here:

SAPBFMAIN - Florida Student Scholarship & Grant Programs (floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org)
 

The requirements for the scholarship continue to change, so make sure you check out the new handbook each year. Also, requirements for public school students, students registered with an umbrella or private school, and homeschool students are different. For a student registered as a homeschooler with their county to qualify they must be registered with their county as a homeschool student during the 11th and 12th grades. If you are registered with an umbrella school, check with them in the 10th grade to make sure they participate in the Bright Futures Scholarship. If they do not, simply withdraw your student from the umbrella school prior to their 11th grade year and register as a homeschooler in your county. Your student will complete both their 11th and 12th grade years registered with the county as a homeschooler. You will not want to move around during this time. 
 

The Bright Futures Scholarship focuses on college entrance exam scores and number of volunteer hours if you are registered as a homeschooler with your county. If you are registered with an umbrella school, in addition to college entrance exam scores and number of volunteer hours, there are also specific required courses to complete during high school. Check the scholarship handbook to make sure you are aware of the requirements for your student.

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