Homeschooling State by State: Homeschooling in Florida
While you may know Florida as a fabulous vacation destination, those of us who call the Sunshine State home know that homeschooling in Florida is super easy thanks to three flexible options.
It’s simple to choose one that fits your family’s homeschooling plan.
Also, with the warm weather, beautiful beaches, state parks, and family friendly attractions, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Whether you’re taking a formal field trip or just exploring, there’s plenty here that’s fun and exciting.
It’s definitely a unique place to homeschool.
Any links in this post may be affiliate links. See my disclosure statement.
How to Homeschool in Florida
Wondering where to begin? There are three distinct paths you can take to homeschool in Florida:
- Establish a home education program
- Enroll in a private school designed for the home educated student
- Establish a private tutoring program
They each have their pros and cons, so you’ll need to think a bit about what you want your home school to look like.
Personally, we set up a home education program and went with year-end evaluations. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful evaluator for most of our homeschooling journey who made the process super simple for me and fun for the kids.
As you get started, make sure you know how to legally homeschool in Florida.
Online Homeschooling in Florida
If you’d like to look into a more formal, “hands-off” option, check out Florida Virtual School (FLVS). This is a wonderful online option that’s free for Florida homeschooling families. My kids took some individual courses through FLVS, like photography, health, and foreign language. I love that they were able to learn from someone other than me and get the experience of online classes. And you can’t beat free!
When signing up for classes, make sure you choose the right path for your family. They have a flex option where kids take whatever classes they’re interested in, with a flexible schedule. Basically, kids do the work whenever they want, as long as they keep on track with their teacher. This is a great option if you have early birds or night owls, kids who like to plow through the lessons, or want to have the ability to work over the weekends to keep other days free.
FLVS also has the option of enrolling your students into full-time online school. While this means kids do their work at home, it’s not actually “homeschooling.” This path requires students to follow a traditional school day and calendar. As you can imagine, there’s far less flexibility built into this choice, but it works for a lot of families. It’s essentially public school at home.
Both options have value depending on what your needs are. Just make sure you check with FLVS before enrolling to make sure you choose the right option.
Home Schooling in Florida – Keeping it Legal
Worried that homeschooling won’t stay legal in Florida? We are fortunate to have the Home Education Foundation providing a “year round presence and a consistent voice for home educators in the Legislature and Department of Education.” That means that we have people regularly talking to our elected officials in Tallahassee, helping to protect our right to homeschool.
They post legislative updates on their website so it’s easy to stay informed about homeschooling issues here in Florida.
Homeschool Groups in Florida
Are you afraid that you’re going to be all alone on your homeschooling journey? Don’t worry. There are tons of homeschool organizations and groups around the state for you to choose from. You can be as connected as you want.
There are a variety of reasons to join a homeschooling group and it helps if you know what you’re looking for before you sign up. Are you mostly interested in field trip opportunities, do you want the option of a more formal co-op, or are you just trying to find some new friends? Having an idea of what you want out of the group will help you pick one that best fits your needs.
And don’t think you have to stick with it if it’s not a good fit. We were a part of a number of different groups over the years as our needs and interests changed. Trust me, people are constantly coming in and out of the various homeschooling groups around here.
Regardless of what state you live in, there are some basic homeschooling questions you’ll most likely find yourself asking at some point.
How can I teach multiple ages?
One of my favorite resources for homeschooling advice is the Big Book of Homeschooling Ideas. Inside, dozens of moms share their experience and expertise on over 100 topics.
Homeschool Field Trips in Florida
As I mentioned, between the beautiful weather and being known as a tourist destination, there are no shortage of places to visit in our state. Because it can get quite busy when traditional school is not in session, many of us homeschoolers plan our field trips during the slower months. In fact, there are times throughout the year that some locations actively recruit homeschoolers with special deals.
Field trips can be educational or just for fun. Consider what you want out of the trip before booking. Are you looking for a way to add some hands-on learning to your history lesson or do you just want to meet up with some friends?
Either way, there’s always a benefit to putting aside the formal school work and getting out of the house for a bit.
Here are some general ideas for field trips in Florida:
- science centers
- theme parks
- local theatres
- indoor trampoline parks
- ice skating arenas
- bowling centers
- art classes
- state parks
Fun Ideas for Homeschooling in Central Florida
If you live in or are visiting Central Florida, here a few great ideas for your next homeschooling field trip, outside of the larger theme parks.
- WonderWorks – indoor attraction focused on science
- Orlando Science Center – hands-on science museum
- Orlando Repertory Theatre – professional theatre with shows geared toward kids
- Blue Springs State Park – a great place to see some manatees
- Central Florida Zoo – our awesome local zoo
- Audubon Center for Birds of Prey – a place to see birds of prey up close
- Bok Tower Gardens – beautiful gardens, bird sanctuary, and historical carillon that plays every day
- Gatorland – get up close to Florida gators
- Holocaust Memorial Resource and Educational Center of Central Florida – a great location for kids to learn about the holocaust
- Medieval Times – get a taste of the middle ages
- Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour – a fun way to see some local wild life
- Morse Museum of American Art – American art, including an incredible collection of Tiffany glass
- Central Florida Railroad Museum – perfect for train lovers
- Dinosaur World – walk amongst the dinosaurs
- Florida Air Museum – a must visit for aviation fans
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but hopefully will get you started on your field trip journey.
Learning at Florida’s Theme Parks
We used our local theme parks for years as places to learn. If you’re interested in turning your next visit to Disney into a learning opportunity, check these out.
- Literature Lessons from Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Meet African Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Studying History While Visiting the Magic Kingdom
Homeschooling State by State
Homeschooling, but not in Florida?
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a wonderful clickable map that you can use to see what the homeschooling laws are in all 50 states. And here are some tips for understanding individual state laws for homeschooling.
Here are resources you can use to find out about homeschooling in the United States.
- Homeschooling in Alaska
- Homeschooling in California
- Homeschooling in Georgia
- Homeschooling in Hawaii
- Homeschooling in Idaho
- Homeschooling in Illinois
- Homeschooling in Iowa
- Homeschooling in Massachusetts
- Homeschooling in Minnesota
- Homeschooling in Mississippi
- Homeschooling in Missouri
- Homeschooling in New York State
- Homeschooling in North Carolina
- Homeschooling in North Dakota
- Homeschooling in Oklahoma
- Homeschooling in Pennsylvania
- Homeschooling in South Carolina
- Homeschooling in Texas
- Homeschooling in Utah
- Homeschooling in Virginia
- Homeschooling in Washington State
- Homeschooling in Wisconsin
Personally, I think homeschooling in Florida is easy and fun. I’m thankful that each one of the 50 states provide a path for us to school our kids at home. Because regardless of which state you’re from, that’s what matters the most.
Comments are closed.