1.) Call the county school department. Check your white pages, telephone book's government pages. Under the county offices, locate the school board of your county. Look for the sub-title "Instructional Division" for the Home Education. In Hillsborough County, Florida the number is 813.273.7346. If you cannot locate the proper subtitle just call the operator/switchboard information line and they will lead you in the direction.
2.) Tell them you are interested in home schooling and they will mail you a packet. The packet will contain a letter to the parent with the necessary information to initiate and maintain a Home Education Program. (Start a folder for this information.) It will contain the state statute that will require you to notify the District Superintendent of Schools in writing of your intent to initiate a Home Education Program. In order to register, you will need to complete and mail in this Letter of Intent. Read the material carefully. You must furnish the Superintendent of Schools with an annual educational evaluation of each child's academic progress.
Sample Letter of Intent - is located below. Change the information to suite your situation. Mail this certified receipt for your records that they received it. This does not have to be done every year. Your homeschool will remain open until you close it. However if you need to add a student to your homeschool, you will have to send that info in. I made a copy of the form and kept the original blank in case I need it again. Use the same form when adding a child to your program.
My packet contained a form, sample letter of intent to home educate. I filled it out and still sent this letter along with a list of the materials we are using.
3.) Plan a curriculum. There are several curriculum's available on the market. "Learn At Home", McGraw Hill's Big Book of Everything, etc. and two basic ones that will get you started until you find a curriculum that suits you. You will have to decide which is best for you and your child(ren). My kindergartener was at a private school where we purchased Abeka for her to use there. We withdrew her in February and obtained all her learning materials (workbooks, reading books, etc.) I did not purchase the parent material from Abeka since the year was almost over. We continue daily with the seatwork. I visitied a local teacher's store (Teacher's Helper in Brandon, Florida) and bought some charts, a math bead board, a blow up globe and a reading comprehension book. I went through all of the pages left from the workbooks, added them and calculated how many we will have to do daily for her to finish the kindergarten program by May. I planned our week accordingly.
4.) Start your school.
5.) Annual evaluations are a requirement if you choose the home education option through the Dept. of Education. They will send you a form and a list of testers. There is a deadline when to have your child tested and have the report sent in. It is ONE YEAR from the time that you mailed in your letter of intent. So if you mail your letter in January 2008, you will test and send in the results January 2009. You may receive a letter in the mail stating its due by a particular date, that is not true. You do not have to follow that. It must be one year for the time you register.
6.) Private school option. We have choosen the private school option. We discontinued with the county by terminating our home school option. I found some great private schools on the internet. I report regularly our attendance. Records, grades and testing is all our responsibility and is not due on a particular date.
7.) Year round school. We have decided to learn year round. 50 days on / 15 days off. This is working very well for us. It gives us a March, June (including July 4, our anniversary), September and December break. I really like it because it lets me have some down time to regroup and refresh myself.
eMail me any questions and I'll try to assist.