Homeschooling with an Umbrella School in Florida

Umbrella School or Register with the Superintendent?
Of the three options available to Florida families homeschooling their children (establish a home education program, enroll in a private school, or maintain a private tutor program), only those families who choose the first option — establish a home education program — are counted in Florida state statistics about homeschooling. So when you read statistics concerning the number of homeschooled children in Florida, you can safely assume that the real number is at least double the stated number, since children being homeschooled through a private umbrella school are not counted as being homeschooled.

In fact, legally, children who are being homeschooled through a private school are considered to be private school students, NOT homeschoolers. While this distinction has no bearing on how you teach your child, it does have an impact on the laws that govern your program as well as the opportunities available to you.

This chart shows some of the legal differences between homeschooling through a private school and homeschooling by registering with the school district.

FeaturePrivate SchoolHome Education Statutes
Register with SuperintendentNoYes
Submit a Letter of IntentNoYes
Maintain PortfolioNoYes
File Annual Evaluation with School DistrictNoYes
Possible “audit” of records by School DistrictNoYes
Advice from Experienced HomeschoolersYes (usually)No
Low CostYesYes
Parents Select CurriculumYesYes
“Attendance” RequirementsYes (easy to meet)No
Eligible for Bright Futures ScholarshipYesYes
Receive transcript, diploma, etc.YesNo
Take Classes at Florida Virtual SchoolYesYes
Participate in Inter-Scholastic Extracurricular Student ActivitiesNoYes (student may need to try out)
Participate in dual enrollment programsYesYes

When looking at this chart, bear in mind that it reflects legal requirements and differences only. Private Umbrella schools for homeschoolers may set their own requirements regarding curriculum, testing, and so on. If this is an option you wish to pursue, you will want to talk to several schools so that you can find one that matches your educational philosophy, need (or lack thereof) for support, and budget.

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar