Although there are critics of the homeschooling system out there, statistics and research have consistently demonstrated that homeschooled children perform better (and above public school averages) both academically and socially. Homeschooling in Florida, like in other states, is regulated by Home Education Laws. These laws insist that while a parent does not have to have any specific educational background, they must maintain their child’s records of work and make them available to the school district if it requests them. This means that literally anyone can home educate their child and with all the resources available online to help parents prepare lessons and adhere to the state curriculum, it is easier than one might think to get started. One of the secondary benefits to homeschooling in Florida is that, although these children are not part of the public system, they still have access to scholarships such as the “Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.” Concerns about post-secondary funding and accessibility to education grants and bursaries need not deter one from choosing to home educate in the state of Florida.
The 2012 EOC Assessments addressing public school student performance in Florida, from middle school (Gr. 6) through to the end of high school (Gr. 12), identify an overall pass rate of only fifty-nine percent. Does this, in itself, not advocate for homeschooling in Florida? Everyone wants the best for their child’s education but with public school class sizes increasing and restrictions on curriculum content that prevents the teaching of topics such as religion, is the public system the best option? Private school can be extremely costly and by homeschooling in Florida, or any state, you can not only teach material that is otherwise restricted in the public system, you can avoid issues like bullying and provide the one-on-one attention that is critical to the learning process.
Unfortunately not everyone is in a position that allows them to home educate their children. It takes time and with single-parent families, where working and providing are paramount to the well being of their family, homeschooling is a pipe-dream. Typically, homeschooling in Florida is practiced amongst dual-parent families where one parent does not work and instead educates at home. Surprisingly this is not common practice among the upper class but is rather most common among the middle class households. It’s an interesting trend that has been developing and stabilizing in Florida and the rest of the US since around 1996. Will the time come when all high income families in Florida are exclusively enrolling their children in private schools? When all homeschooling in Florida falls exclusively to the middle income families who have the leisure of time, and all low income families have no choice but the public system?
While sitting back and watching the data pour in and allowing for the trend to play itself out, it is important to know that homeschooling in florida is an excellent option. Regardless of where the educational systems ultimately end up, if you can afford the time to home educate then it’s an option you should consider. Above all else, recognize that there are education options and the public system is not a foregone conclusion.
This guest post was written by Tara Lapusnak on behalf of Score at the Top, offering full-service learning centers and schools throughout Palm Beach and Broward Counties. To know more about home schooling, you may also visit About.com.