Patricia Anthony immigrated to the United States from Colombia 12 years ago.
Settling in Lake Worth, Florida, Anthony decided to homeschool her daughter after their school didn’t meet up with her expectations.
“You can tailor the education for your child according to what they need,” she said of home education.
Because English is not her first language, Anthony wanted to ensure her two high school daughters, Vanessa and Emily, received English instruction from a teacher specializing in the subject. Now, as it turns out, Vanessa, 17, wants to major in English.
Anthony enrolled her children in Home Education Enrichment Day, (HEED), a Christian university model program in South Florida that assists homeschool parents by providing classes once a week from instructors in varied fields. The instructors include high school teachers, engineers, scientists, lawyers and pastors.
Anthony’s story is just one example of how homeschooling is growing and becoming more accessible to families in Florida because of a growing network of support and tools. No homeschool family is an island. In addition to programs that offer curriculum and instructors, there are support groups for parents and other services such as a guidance counselor and a coach offering an accredited physical education program.
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.