Homeschool portfolio evaluations are an easy way to fulfill FL State requirements
As homeschooling parents, it’s our job to make sure our children are making progress in their studies. Thankfully, the laws in FL are set up so that children’s progress is determined according to their own abilities, not some nationwide statistical standard, or arbitrary state goal which ignores the individual child.
Lots of times when we first contact a school district’s office to inquire about homeschooling, the folks in charge of that department tell parents that they need to have the child tested. Although there are many good reasons why a parent would want to have a child tested, it is wrong for a school district to tell parents that a child needs a standardized test, as if there were no other acceptable option. There are several options, and the academic portfolio evaluation is a very good one that many times serves the needs of both the student and parent.
Finding an evaluator can be a challenge, however. Evaluations must be done by a FL certified teacher, preferably one that is homeschool-friendly. If you know a teacher, but aren’t sure they know enough about evaluations, scroll to the bottom of this post.
Here is a county list where you can find a homeschool-friendly evaluator.
Click on the following links to find a homeschool evaluator in your county:
- Indian River
- Palm Beach
- Santa Rosa
- St. Johns
- St. Lucie
WHAT AN EVALUATOR NEEDS TO KNOW & UNDERSTAND
You might know someone who is a teacher that is willing to help, but they are not knowledgeable about the portfolio evaluation process, or the state requirements, and therefore might make you jump through a bunch of unnecessary hoops or require items from you that the state does not require.
If you run into a situation like this, here’s all the information a teacher needs to know in a nutshell – no more, no less.
If you are a teacher and you have been asked to do a homeschool portfolio evaluation, here’s what you need to know:
- The purpose of a homeschool portfolio evaluation is to determine if the child is making progress according to his/her ability.
- You need not be certified in any particular grade or subject area to perform a portfolio evaluation at any level, although you may feel more comfortable evaluating students within our own grade level experience.
- Parents have complete control over the subjects taught. Despite what your professional training may dictate, state law does not obligate a parent to teach their child math, reading, writing, science, geography, literature or any other “grade-level” scope & sequence subject matter.
- A portfolio only has to include samples of the child’s work. You are not required to review the child’s reading list or parent’s log of activities. Although the state requires that a parent keeps these, they are not part of a portfolio review, and a parent does not have to present them to you.
- There is no set format for presenting a portfolio. It can be in any format that the parent educator determines.
- Parents are not required to keep attendance records, and these are not part of a portfolio review.
- Once a child is removed from the state/county controlled education system, a parent does not have to adhere to any type of Sunshine State standards, or even determine a grade level for their child. The focus of home education is progress commensurate with each child’s own ability.
- At the end of the portfolio review (which can be done in as little as 20 minutes – there are no time constraints or requirements) you, the teacher, will provide a statement attesting that you have reviewed the portfolio and have determined that the child has made progress. You must sign the statement and include your FL Certificate #. You need not provide a copy of your teaching certificate with the evaluation, even though some counties ask for it. Anyone can look up your FL # to see if you are current, so it is not necessary to provide any extraneous documentation. Counties notoriously ask for more than what is required by law. Here is a link to the FL Online Educator Certification Lookup
- For further details about portfolio evaluations, please click on this link to the FL State Statute 1002.41 which pertains to Home Education