1) What is SHARE?
Support Homeschool Activities Reaching Everyone
*It's a local homeschool support group (of approximately 700 K-12th grade families) for the Manatee and Sarasota counties, focussing on activities. Be sure to click on "Please Read" to find out about the history of SHARE. More info will be sent to you about "How SHARE Functions" once you "join" SHARE (for FREE).
2) What do I need to do to get started?
*Decide on whether you're going to register with the county or with a private school, then join a local support group.
*Research articles/books at the library about homeschooling.
*Consider the curriculum options (or unit study choice), then gather your books.... and
*Attend homeschool orientation workshops whenever offered. www.fpea.com for more info, as well as in the SHARE calendars.
*PRAY a lot..... looking forward to an exciting time with the "lifestyle of homeschooling."
* www.fpea.com and/or www.flhef.org for further info
*check out the links on this website: www.sharebradenton.homestead.com
*Be encouraged: After all, you taught your child a language, potty-trained, use of eating utensils, etc... You CAN do this!
3) Can I begin anytime during the school year?
*Yes. If you are registering with the county, you must submit your "letter of intent" within 30 days of beginning your home education program. Keep in mind that if you are enrolling in a private school, you would need to enroll according to its schedule - some have only a window of enrollment period while others have "open enrollment"
*Read www.flhef.org for the statute and www.fpea.com for the Guide to Homeschooling also found at the bottom of SHARE's main page.
4) What records do I need to keep?
*No matter "how" you homeschool, you should maintain a portfolio and a log of the student's work (along with a list of books read). Please check out the statute at www.flhef.org for further description to the requirements when registered with the county and www.helpsonline.org for helpful hints on how to do this.
*If enrolled in a private school, you will need to keep an attendance record, PLUS you will need to provide birth certificate and immunization record (or waiver).
5) How many hours a day do I teach?
*As many as you "need." Kindergartners should not require more than two hours of formal teaching per day.... Increasing through high school of about four total hours per day of "formal teaching." Know your child, and take as long as you NEED, and let them continue at their pace as quickly as they can, being sure to have a well-rounded learning experience. PLEASE participate in a support group's activities.
Remember that textbooks are designed for classroom busywork.... so, if your student is doing well in math (for instance) and is understanding it just fine, you may want to have them do no more than one half of the problems (or TAKE the end-of-chapter test, and if making at least an 80% to proceed to the next chapter). This will help remove any bitterness if they should feel being "punished" for understanding the subject.
6) What qualifications do I need in order to homeschool in Florida?
*Florida does not require parents to have professional or educational degrees. We recommend that LOVE of your child be the first priority, believing that this educational choice (homeschooling) is the best way to meet your student's needs at the present time. FL statute can be found at www.flhef.org
7) How do I prove that my child is learning?
*Florida requires an annual evaluation (choice of options): evaluation by a state-certified teacher, standardized test, FCAT (which I do not recommend as it is designed for testing the subjects/books used in the public school system), or psychological assessment. They must indicate "improvement commensurate with their ability" if the student is registered with the county OR "recommended for promotion to the next grade level" if in a private school (not all private schools require this). This is noted at www.flhef.org in the FL Statute.
*SHARE offers the Iowa Testing in April... and has a listing of area "certified teachers" in the SHARE Directory. Horizon Educational Systems offers the PSAT test in October.
8) How much will it cost?
*This will vary according to your creativity and searching. Some parents spend very little money utilizing the "unit study" or Charlotte Mason method OR purchasing used curriculum OR borrowing books, while others spend hundreds of dollars on "canned" curriculum per child, or near $3,000 on satellite and/or part-time school.
9) Do I HAVE to teach specific subjects?
*Not in Florida. However, if your student is in high school, it is in their best interest to try and meet the core subjects (4 credits of English/Literature, 3 credits of math, 3 credits of science (2 with lab) (Algebra I and higher if seeking academic scholarships), U.S./American History, World History, American Government, Economics, and 2 credits of foreign language (if seeking college scholarships).
10) Do I have to teach my own child - or can someone else do that?
*The Supreme Court and the Lord say that it is the responsibility of the parents to educate their child. In overseeing their education, many parents choose to send their students to a "class" or "co-op" group for certain subjects. If you are hiring a full-time tutor, you must be registered in that manner or in a private school. High school students are allowed to "dual enroll" at local community colleges for two courses, receiving college credit without paying tuition (book costs are responsibility of parent). www.flhef.org for the FL statute. Florida statutes says that the education is to be "directed by the parent" (so this would imply that others "can" instruct your child. If they are being "tutored," however, that is one of the other "options" of schooling and is NOT homeschooling in the legal sense.
11) Does SHARE have a membership fee?
*NO... There ARE activity fees, however.... Skating: $45/family or $23/single skater/school year $10 "general email" subscription or $5 "calendar access only" subscription ... membership to FPEA with group discount price of $18 (instead of $28), fieldtrips that charge admission, etc. Once you "join" SHARE, payment info will be provided. Skating:
12) Why must I "Join SHARE" to get further information about SHARE fieldtrips?
*While SHARE is open to homeschoolers, we MUST know who you are. SHARE is only open to families that are actually home schooling. It is FREE to join SHARE. Having said that, please be advised that you may freely pick up our annual and monthly calendars during the school year at area libraries, Living Word Bookstore, Family Christian Bookstores, Keyboards & More, School Days Education Store, and Florida Wheels Skating Center during our monthly roller skating session.
13) Where do I get books/curriculum?
*Various locations locally AND thousands of places online, and this is included in the SHARE Directory and our website at: www.sharebradenton.homestead.com, as well as in the info provided to you once you "join" SHARE. It IS the parent's responsibility to gather curriculum. The School Boards are NOT required to supply it, but they do offer free books usually once a year. Locally, SHARE has about 400 textbooks, and a Sarasota teacher has a curriculum rental.
14) Are there "private" homeschools in the Manatee/Sarasota area, so that I don't have to register with the county superintendent?
*They are listed in the SHARE Directory, which is included in the "new homeschooler" packet. We do NOT include any private schools that require the "Growing Kid's God's Way" parenting course - www.ezzo.info for reasons why. Horizon Educational Systems is a choice and its link is found on SHARE's homepage.
15) I want my child to play sports. Can I do this and still homeschool?
*Be sure to check out www.flhef.org regarding "extracurricular activities" law for 6th-12th graders who are registered with the county as home-educators and www.manateeheat.org (a FHSAA-sanctioned, yet homeschooling team of 6th-12th graders)
16) Are homeschooling children allowed to take classes at their local public schools?
*Some schools (K-12) and some counties (ie Manatee County for 6th-12th) allow for "partial enrollment" wherein a student (may take up to 3 courses) for free. Florida Virtual School and Connections Academy are two online public schools (and are free). www.flvs.net and www.connectionsacademy.org
17) Are there classes available for my student to take academics and electives?
*As part of "partial enrollment" or with "dual enrollment" at the local community college. Check out www.flhef.org and www.fpea.com. There are also "classes" offered by area teachers at various organizations or locations which are advertised via SHARE's calendar, Directory, and emails.
18) Can I pay someone to homeschool my child?
*It depends on which option you choose: private school, tutor, or home-educator. Home-educators who are registered with their county MUST direct the teaching.
www.flhef.org and www.hslda.org
19) What about socialization?
*The wonderful world of homeschooling has LOTS of socialization - with parent-participation which makes it better. There are 700 families in SHARE, and LOTS of activities, including skating, fieldtrips, extra "opportunities, yearbook staff, high school prom, graduation, etc. Besides the SHARE calendar, please read the "Guide to Homeschooling" at www.fpea.com We find that a more serious "socialization problem" is over-socialization with their peers.
20) Why are SHARE's activities only on Fridays?
*With 700 families, we must choose ONE day to focus upon the homeschool fieldtrips.... It would be too confusing otherwise. Other opportunities (ie tennis, arts, drama, music, etc) find it helpful for THEIR scheduling on non-Fridays so that homeschoolers can have an easier option.
21) How can I send out a notice to SHARE families?
*SHAREbradenton@cs.com It will be reviewed by Debbie Dykes, the SHARE Coordinator, and the SHARE Advisory when needed, for discernment on whether the notice should be forwarded out or not. The SHARE emails will be posted, but are not "interactive."
22) I'm considering homeschooling, but my children are still pre-schoolers. Can I get involved with SHARE?
*SHARE focusses on K-12. If you want to get involved in a group, please consider the MOPS International. Do a "search" for MOPS, and the county's name. In Manatee County: Mothers of Preschoolers, West Bradenton Baptist, 748-6926
Jenel Katzenberger, Coordinator JenelMOPS@msn.com
In Sarasota County: http://mommasaid.net/meetingroom.aspx
22) How can I find a "mentor" to help me in this new lifestyle of homeschooling?
*Please be sure to PLUG IN to a SHARE "Small Group" = that is what they are for.... They are listed in the SHARE calendar, Directory, and emails. Several other moms have stepped forward, and their contact info can be forwarded to you once you "join" SHARE.
23) What if we decide to enroll our student in a public school the next semester or school year?
*Different counties and principals treat homeschoolers differently. FL does have a Uniform Transfer of High School Credits policy which can be viewed at: www.flhef.org You should contact the school about what they will require in order to have proper grade placement of your student as soon as you are contemplating such a change. I've seen students have to repeat entire grades (that they actually completed as a homeschooler), because the principal was not homeschool-friendly AND the parents did not have their student evaluated by a FL-certified teacher or take a standardized test.
24) What about graduation and post-high school for my homeschooling student?
*SHARE has a fabulous graduation typically held the first Friday in June with cap and gown, as well as a county judge (in judicial robe) who awards the diplomas. Information about course codes to complete a high school transcript can be located at: http://nwrdc.fsu.edu/fnbpcm02 and a sample transcript at www.hslda.org, which also has high school diplomas - or you can design your own. Typically, if your student is enrolled in a private school (umbrella school), they offer a diploma.
Bright Futures Scholarships can be earned by homeschooling students (with slightly higher requirements). http://www.firn.edu/doe/brfuture/home0072.htm
College Admissions offices look at THE student, the courses, grades, SAT/ACT scores.... they do NOT look at "accreditation* of the school. http://www.nacac.com/
To register for SAT www.collegeboard.com or ACT www.act.org
Be sure to read our website thoroughly for encouragement as well as the Guide to Homeschooling in Florida (on the main page of this website)
**This information is not to be construed as the rendering of legal advice.**
There are 1,000s of homeschooling websites out there - we hope that the ones we listed will be of assistance. For other input, please use your search engine.