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How HEF Started



In 1984, there were no laws in Florida that made home education legal, but the Dickinsons desired to change the law. Craig and Brenda contacted Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Orlando) and Sen Dick Langley (R-Clermont) and worked with them to pen and introduce a bill. The bill passed the Legislature, but Gov. Bob Graham's staff placed the bill on a recommend veto list.  However, the Dickinsons met with the Governor, Craig was able to address his concerns, and the Governor signed the bill into law. When the sunset provision was up two years later, Governor Martinez signed it permanently into law. 

Gov_signing Home Ed 1987.png

The "Craig Dickinson Act"

It was a miracle that such a controversial bill passed in just one session with Republican sponsors in a Democratically controlled Legislature with a Democrat Governor.

As a part-time lobbyist, Craig worked diligently to fight attempts to add regulation to the law. In 1990, he defeated six proposals to change the requirements, but another challenge passed in a massive bill which could have shut down home education. 

Brenda with Home Education Students

A Full-Time
Lobbyist is Needed.

After the 1990 session, it became obvious a full-time lobbyist was needed. Craig and Brenda invested their time and money touring the state to inform support groups of the need, and the Home Education Foundation (HEF) was established in 1991.

In 1992, Craig was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma cancer and passed away in 1993.With the loss of her husband, the challenge of raising and educating two children, and the overwhelming responsibilities associated with lobbying, Brenda considered dissolving HEF.  However, she felt directed to continue the work and has been the full-time home education lobbyist since 1993.

Why HEF Exist


We are full-time lobbyists. We serve families in Florida by protecting their home education freedoms, creating opportunities, speaking on their behalf at the Capitol, organizing the grassroots lobbying efforts. informing them about issues that affect them, assisting them with challenges to their home education program.


We want to give parents the freedom to direct their child's education and provide families with a broad range of choices and opportunities to meet the education needs of their children.

What HEF has done


Since the 1980's, HEF and Brenda as the key lobbyist have worked diligently to develop relationships with legislators, state agencies, community organizations, and persons of influence within the home education community throughout Florida. Each year, HEF monitors approximately 1,800 - 3,000 bills depending on the Legislative Session to make sure that bills that are written do not negatively impact home education. When situations arise, we seek alternative solutions, language options, and we consult with respect and a collaborative spirit to prevent restrictive legislation. 

From the 1980s to Today


Home Education Legal

Home Education law passed. 

1994 - 1996

Dual Enrollment

Lobbied to get dual enrollment 


No Survey Database

Elimination of the child abuse provision and database survey requirements.


Craig Dickinson Act

Extracurricular activities at public schools or private schools for home education students.


FLVS at no cost

Creation of a Public virtual school which was established in 2000 as the Florida Virtual School


State College Admission

Admission to state colleges with an affidavit, in lieu of a high school diploma or GED.


Bright Futures

Inclusion of home education students in the Bright Futures Scholarship Programs


Parents in Charge

Revisions to home education law clarifying that parents were in charge of all aspects of a home education program.


H.E. Review Committee

Creation of the Home Education Review Committee to keep truants from registering in a home education program to avoid compulsory attendance


Re-write School Code

Served on a Educational Governance Task Force to re-write entire school code.



The Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities (FES-UA), formerly the Gardiner Scholarship.


Transfer of Credit

Transfer of Credit Rule for home educated students entering public schools.



Personalized Education Program (PEP) was separated out in statute to differ from Home Education as a parent-directed educational program to protect Home Education from onerous restrictions.

HEF Connet is Born

HEF Lobbying

To learn more about the importance of Lobbying, and what HEF is doing currently, please check out the link below.

HEF Connect is born.

HEF Connect logo white


HEF Connect, Inc is a 501c3 Non Profit Organization that emerged out of the original work of HEF, hence the name: HEF CONNECT (HEFx).


HEF Connect is not a Lobbying Organization. However, HEFx works alongside the Home Education Foundation as they lobby for our freedoms, and HEFx supports the home education community with information, advocacy and connections.

HEF Connect Vision:

We create community, share accurate information, advocate for parents and students, and network opportunities to promote parent-directed educational freedom, because:

 "Our Classroom is the World."

What HEFx Connect Does:


We have been hard at work developing an online community in the form of live and active forums, live stream podcasts, and an active/interactive Facebook presence to help us reach parents across Florida.


We work alongside the Home Education Foundation and other organizations to collect and maintain a connection to the most accurate and helpful information and resources. 


We walk hand-in-hand with parents in times of need and help them exercise their rights when their freedoms and choices might be infringed. We stand with them and arm them with information and support. We also maintain a close connection with the Home Education Lobbyists at HEF.


We strive to network and build a collection of opportunities and share them with the parents in our community so they can know all of the exciting paths to success in life that their children may access.


The Right

We believe that parents directing the education of their children is an innate right and responsibility. 

The Fight

We believe the freedom to exercise that right must be fought for and maintained.

The Strength

We believe that unity and community are the best ways to show strength and advocate effectively.

HEF Board of Directors


Get Involved & Support

Whether you want to:

  • Learn how to fight for your freedoms with HEF,

  • Learn how to support parent-directed educational freedoms with HEF Connect,

  • Or if you want to help us fund our initiatives so we can continue to do what we do. 

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