fbpx

Home schooling

Home school enrollment

Home school numbers continue to rise

The number of home education students in Florida grew by 2.7 percent last year, continuing a steady upward trend over the past decade, according to the latest annual report released by the state Department of Education. In the 2017-18 school year, 89,817 students participated in home education programs, an increase of 2,355 from the previous year. Over the past decade, enrollment has increased nearly by half, from 60,913, with increases in nine of the 10 years. Brenda Dickinson, a lobbyist with the Home Education Foundation, said the home option is becoming more mainstream and accessible to parents. “There are more programs where...

A Gardiner Scholarship transformed Emily Beasley’s life

Emily Beasley was a typical 6-year-old. Precocious yet shy, she was learning to read, loved to dance and enjoyed playing with friends. Everything changed suddenly one night, as she stood in her family’s kitchen. Her parents noticed her staring with a blank expression. Her lips moved, but she wasn’t speaking. She didn’t move and lost control of her bladder. “That was the exact moment when everything changed,” said Doug Beasley, her father. Emily recuperated over summer vacation, but when school started again, there more problems. She had a “rather large” seizure at school one day, her mother said, leading to a brief hospital...

Black and homeschooled, continued

A compelling new feature in The Atlantic examines a stereotype-defying thread in the fabric of parental choice: black homeschooling. The homeschooling population in the United States is predominantly white and concentrated in suburban or rural areas. In 2016, black children accounted for 8 percent of the 1.7 million homeschooled students nationally, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics. What federal education data don’t show, though, is what’s driving those 136,000 or so black students and their families into homeschooling. Nor do the data reveal the tenacity and tradition that bond this homeschooling movement—a movement that challenges many of the prevailing stereotypes about homeschooling, which...

Florida homeschoolers group: New law limits information requests

A statewide homeschooling group is informing school districts that a new law bars them from creating new roadblocks or information requests for would-be homeschoolers. Florida law requires homeschoolers to register with their local school districts. Parents must send a signed notice of intent to the district superintendent with the students’ names, birthdates and addresses. But House Bill 731, recently signed by Gov. Rick Scott, bars districts from requiring other information. In the letter to superintendents, the Florida Parent Educators Association cites the new statute, explaining that once a parent contacts the district about beginning a home education program, the district “shall accept...

Florida Legislature passes major homeschooling bill

On the last day of their annual legislative session, Florida lawmakers unanimously passed the most significant legislation to impact homeschool families in years. House bill 731 would rein in school districts' inquiries to parents who start home education programs. The legislation came in response to concerns among parents that districts were adding hurdles for homeschool registration. That likely contributed to a decline in homeschooling in some districts, even though state statistics show its popularity is growing statewide. Home education advocates proposed similar legislation multiple times, but it did not pass until this year. The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Scott.Florida law requires homeschoolers to...

Homeschool advocates go to bat for non-traditional private schools

Provisions in a wide-ranging education bill moving through the Florida Senate provoked fears among home education advocates. But they may prove to be a short-lived glitch. Right now, as worded, the Senate's rewrite of HB 7055 would prevent parents from using private tutors, as well as certain non-traditional private schools, to satisfy school attendance requirements. However, a key lawmaker facilitating negotiations in the late stages of the legislative session said Tuesday that she intends to fix the issue. She said her goal is to eliminate out-dated provisions of state law, not to restrict homeschooling. "We are going to amend the bill to take care of...

Fla. House panel unanimously backs home education bill

A unanimous Florida House panel approved legislation that would limit requirements school districts can place on homeschoolers. Rep. Jennifer Sullivan’s bill, HB 731 would also increase homeschoolers' access to dual enrollment and career education courses. Sullivan was home-schooled growing up. She said she was inspired to file the bill because of her educational background. She said superintendents in some school districts are overstepping their authority. The bill comes in response to concerns among parents that districts add hurdles for homeschool registration. That has likely contributed to a decline in homeschooling numbers in some parts of the state, even though statistics show its popularity is growing statewide. Florida law...

In memory of Brandon Berman

Brandon sat quietly in his wheelchair but grew increasingly agitated as his lawyer, Clint Bolick, answered rapid-fire questions from an aggressive reporter. His mother, Donna Berman, stood behind him, worrying he might erupt into a fit, or worse, a seizure. Brandon’s service dog Cody even sensed the frustration and made a noise in defense of his best friend. “Can we get him out of here?,” Brandon muttered about the reporter. Another reporter noticed his agitation. "We've been trying to get rid of him for years," he quipped. Brandon, who had autism, smiled and kept his composure. Brandon was 16 at the time. He and his mom had come to Tallahassee to attend a hearing for Faase v. Scott. Florida's statewide teachers union filed the case to...