Back Home for School 2010

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The Home Education Foundation Newsletter

Home Educators' Voice At The Capitol - Florida
Providing information and insights to Florida Home Educators Back Home For School 2010

In This Issue

Ask Brenda

Athletics: Know the rules, Avoid the pitfalls - Part 3

New "Virtual" School Options Cause Confusion
Deciding which option is
best for your student

HEF Hits the Road

HEF at Work for You!

Learn Civics by Experience

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Learning At Home

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Brenda Dickinson

Ask Brenda

Can home educated students participate in all extra-curricular activities offered at their zoned school?

No. Interscholastic is the key word in the law. The law pertains to interscholastic extracurricular activities, which are generally held outside of school hours for which the student does not receive credit. There has to be competition between schools for the law to apply.

Activities such as chorus, band, or drama that are not competition are considered co-curricular activities for which the student would receive credit. Those do not fall under the interscholastic extracurricular activities law. With these activities, there may be a performance after school, but no competition.

For a home educated student to be able to participate in co-curricular classes, the school district has to have a part-time enrollment policy in place. The school district that allows a home educated student to part-time enroll can receive funding for each class the student takes. In other words, if there is an empty seat in the middle school band, the school district is not getting any money for that seat. If they have a part-time enrollment policy and a home educated student takes that seat, the school would receive about $1,000 for the home educated student.

Can my daughter play one sport at a private school and another at the public school?

No. If either or both of the schools are members of the FHSAA, the home educated student needs to select one school in which to participate each school year. The home educated student cannot trade between schools for sports. If a change is to be made it MUST be made at the beginning of a school year. There are other pitfalls to avoid.
(See article Athletics: Know the Rules, Avoid the pitfalls; Part I, Athletics:Know the Rules, Avoid the pitfalls; Part II , Athletics: Know the Rules, Avoid the pitfalls; Part 3)

If you have a home education question you would like Brenda to answer in a future issue, please submit it to

Know the rules, Avoid the pitfalls

Craig Dickinson Act participant

“Thank you Mrs. Dickinson for working hard so I can play sports! I have enjoyed four years of football and two years of baseball at my local school.”
Ty Clark, Tallahassee

Editor's Note: This is the third of a three-part series. See the first part in the April 2010 Newsletter and the second part in the May 2010 Newsletter.

The Florida Home Education Foundation has fought hard to earn numerous privileges, including the right to participate in public school sports, take classes through various private organizations, etc. It is incumbent upon home educators, however, to know the rules that come with these privileges and to follow them.

The third athletic pitfall for Florida Home Educators to avoid is taking too many courses in a public or private school. While home educated students are eligible to take courses through many different programs, they cannot take more than half of their courses in a single school, public or private. Since many school districts run their own FLVS Franchise, the courses are treated the same as if a student is sitting in a public school classroom. FHSAA places no limit on courses taken directly through The Florida Virtual School (FLVS), dual enrollment, any out-of-state correspondence school or through ABEKA Academy (in-state) as long as the home education student is NOT registered in the private school. Each of these options have been very carefully vetted to make these decisions. Home educated students have a lot of choices, but need to be careful so that the student does not lose their home education status.


P.S. If you have a story to share about how HEF has helped you, how your family has benefited from home education, or a question you would like to ask Brenda, please e-mail me here.

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New "Virtual" School Options Cause Confusion

Deciding which option is best for your student

FLVS StudentSince Florida school districts are now offering several public “virtual” school options, there is some confusion as to the differences. While all of these are free, the only options available to home education students at this time are the School District’s FLVS Franchise and the Florida Virtual School (FLVS).  Home educators can go directly to FLVS as they have in the past, but now some school districts have a FLVS Franchise which offers the FLVS curriculum taught by district teachers during the 180-day school year. To make it even more confusing, at the present time students register at for both schools.

Parents must decide which virtual school option is best for their student. “While Florida Virtual School has been around a long time and has received many national awards for excellence, the district virtual schools are new and do not have a track record,” HEF President, Brenda Dickinson explained.

Since there are variations between school districts it is best to check with your school choice office to get the specifics. You will want to compare the FLVS model to the Franchise.

  • Students can enroll in FLVS anytime during the year.
  • FLVS teachers are available 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and are required to respond to a student’s questions within 24 hours.
    • All FLVS teachers teach in the subject for which they are certified.
    • A home education student can take as many courses as he chooses through FLVS and still participate in sports at a private or public school. District FLVS Franchise courses are considered part-time enrollment and a student cannot take more than half of his total classes at any one school or enough courses to receive a diploma OR lose he will be considered a public school student for athletic purposes by the FHSAA. The student would then be eligible only at his zoned public school.

Once a parent decides which option is best for their student, care must be taken to ensure that the student is enrolled in the school of their choice since registration for both FLVS and the School District FLVS franchise is on the same FLVS website. Check the “Course Request” chart on the “Cumulative Academic Report” to confirm in which school the student is registered for each course.

Here is how a parent can confirm which virtual school his child is enrolled in. This is the page you will need to submit to the FHSAA to verify in which school.

After you have registered your child for class(es) go to the child's "Dashboard " page and find the link on the left, put the cursor over "Student Records," and select "Cumulative Academic Records.” On the Cumulative Academic Records page, locate the chart titled "Course Requests" as seen in the sample chart below.

In the column next to the "Course Name" is a column entitled "Virtual School Name." This column will show the name of the school as either FLVS or the School District Virtual School, where your child is registered to take each course.

In the example chart, you will notice that this child is registered for Calculus at FLVS and Geometry at Leon Virtual School.

If you discover that your child is registered in a different school than the one you selected, contact FLVS immediately so they can correct the mistake. The FLVS contact info can be found on their Home Page.

FLVS v Franchise chart
Click to enlarge

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HEF Hits the Road

HEF at homeschool conventions

$5 A Month Helps Fund Your Florida Lobbyist--HEF President Brenda Dickinson (left) and HEF Board Member Sue Puchferran at the HEF booth at the FPEA Convention. Thanks to all the convention goers who have visited the HEF booth this summer and supported HEF's work with a contribution. HEF's work is critical to the ongoing privileges and rights of FL Home Educators. While all 50,000 plus home education families in Florida enjoy the benefits of HEF's work, only some 2,000-2,500 families are supporting HEF financially, many at $5/year. HEF needs contributions of all sizes, but encourages those that can to give $5/month to support their rights to home educate their children. It is vital for a broader base of home education families to support HEF in order to ensure we have a lobbyist and advocate in Florida that understands and fights for home educators. Please familiarize yourself with HEF and consider supporting this work.

Winner of the HEF drawing at the FPEA Convention - Lupe Tucker of Orange Park. Congratulations!

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HEF at Work for You!

Editor’s Note: Even though the legislative session was over months ago, the work of The Home Education Foundation never stops. Summer is a very busy time helping to educate and encourage FL Home Educators. Here are a few ways HEF has been at work for you in the past months.


  • Attended the FPEA Convention and gave a legislative update to leaders


  • Attended the FHSAA Board meeting, reviewed the changes to the forms
  • Met with a career and technical group to discuss possible internships for home education in the manufacturing academy at home and earn an industry certification.
  • Met with Leon Co. Virtual School Office


  • Met with LCVS to discuss the proposed change to the School Board home education policy
  • Conference calls with a statewide group regarding next year's legislative agenda on virtual education and parental choice
  • Attended the Central Florida Home School Expo in Lakeland
  • Attended the HERI convention in Jacksonville, FL, provided leader conference
  • Worked on finding home schoolers to help in campaigns
  • Answered calls from home school leaders and parents

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Learn Civics by Experience

Webster for Congress

Civics and Government Class Labs-- Home Educators have a great opportunity to make a difference in the elections August 24 and Nov. 2, 2010. "One of the best ways home educators can build clout with policy makers is to work in their campaigns," Dickinson said. "Find a candidate you can support and work their campaign. It’s also a great real-life laboratory experience for students to receive credit toward a civics or government class. “If you want to know about FL home educators running for office see our last issue which features candidates running in Aug. 24 primaries and our upcoming issue, which will feature all FL home educators running for local, state or national offices. If you know of a FL home educator running for any office, please e-mail their info.

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