Updated: Jun 7
The number of home educators has continued to increase year after year and in the very near future there may be a greater increase as parents become disenchanted with things their children are exposed to in the brick-and-mortar schools. If that happens leaders are going to have to find a way to plug them into an established support system to get them started. I am concerned that the current support structures do not have the available mentors to meet the need. Leaders may want to help each new home education parent get started but their mentoring time may be limited and classes provided by home educators to home educators may be full.
It takes time for most parents to figure out a customized learning plan for their child, especially with all the choices. It usually takes about 3 years for a parent to deprogram from the traditional school model to be able to trust their own instincts and adapt learning to each child. It usually helps for them to attend the Florida Parent-Educators Association to see the variety of home education curriculum, hear from experienced speakers and talk to other home educators.
Parents new to home education are often shocked that they have to pay for their own curriculum and are not often prepared to buy it. They are overwhelmed with all the choices and don’t know where to begin. They may feel more comfortable with a program planned for them.
One easy way to get them started with “school at home” is through the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Elementary program – and both the classes and the curriculum are free. So when a new parent calls you and asks “where do I drop my child off,” or “where do I pick up my curriculum,” you can suggest FLVS Elementary as an option. FLVS Elementary allows home education parents to choose from two different flexible part-time clusters or enroll in all five classes. The 2-course cluster consists of Reading and Social Studies while the 3-course cluster consists of Math, Science, and Technology.
Parents have several opportunities to learn more about this program through the Online Information Sessions on the FLVS website – June 16, 23, 30, July 14, 21, 28, August 4 & 11.
School Starts August 15th, but students can enroll anytime throughout the year.
At the present time, home educators can enroll their child in Kindergarten and 1st grade, but the law does not allow them to enroll in grades 2-5. HEF worked very hard during the 2016 Session to get this restriction removed from the law, but was unsuccessful. However, by the beginning of 2nd grade, a parent will have had time to attend a home education convention, attend seminars or connect with other home education parents to see what else is available to them in the world of home education.
Please pass this information on to parents of elementary aged children who may be interested in home educating their children in the 2016-17 school year.
Note: FLVS is an option for older students in grades 6-12 as well. FLVS offers core courses as well as many interesting electives, honors and AP classes, foreign languages, and some career and technical courses. Check the FLVS site for further details.