Tag Archives: unschool

What to Look for in a Florida Homeschool Evaluator

A common concern in homeschool and unschool support groups is how to find a great evaluator. In Florida, if you have a letter of intent filed with your county you will need an evaluation or to submit test scores (if you and your county office agree on a test). There are also some school districts which allow FLVS grades to serve in place of your evaluation. Check with your home education office for details.

Many families choose a portfolio evaluation because it is less stressful than standardized testing for many kids. Finding the best evaluator for your family is important. Check out the tips below so you can be certain you have the best evaluator for your family.

 

 

Evaluator Attitude and Personality

You will want an evaluator who is kind, thoughtful, friendly, and positive. They must be good with kids to help alleviate any  stress your child feels. Most evaluators will fit the bill. They are happy to help and want your family to succeed. Do interview the evaluators you are considering before making a choice. Just because another person suggests an evaluator does not mean that the evaluator is right for your family.

 

 

Knowledge of the Law

Your evaluator should know that student growth is measured via a portfolio of work samples, activities, or other information you deem important to your child’s year. The child must make progress commiserate with their abilities. This means that you do not have to teach what public schools teach and you do not have to have a child on grade level according to state standards. Many parents choose to use state standards to guide them, but this is up to you. Students with special needs and those who unschool may have non-traditional items in their portfolios. Life skills acquisition, therapy reports, parent observation, and other options can be included in a portfolio. If your evaluator does not accept these types of proof that learning occurred, then you should find a different evaluator.

My job is to work with you and your child.

Evaluators MUST Speak to the Student, Except…

One issue I have seen come up recently is that evaluators are not speaking with students. Speaking with a student about their portfolio is required by Florida statute. There is only 1 reason they should skip this step and that is if the student is unable to communicate due to special needs, including but not limited to anxiety or lack of a way to communicate due to special need. Evaluators will usually try to communicate, then if a child seems anxious or fearful, a good evaluator will move on in discussion with the parent. I have completed evaluations with those who do not speak. We have used assistive technology, ASL with parents translating, etc. There is almost always a way unless a special need prevents communication with the student. Keep in mind that some students prefer online evaluations, and this is an option with some evaluators. Check with your evaluator for details.

 

 

Evaluators Should Not Turn in Your Forms

Evaluators should not turn in your forms to your school district home education office. It is important that parents retain the right to review and turn in correct forms after the evaluation takes place. Many evaluators  have been turning in letter of intent forms as well as evaluation forms. This has led counties to try and demand that this occur every time, not just in these select cases. That is not how the law is written and puts all homeschoolers in danger of not having recourse if an evaluation is done incorrectly.

I hope these tips help you to find the best evaluator for your family. You are always welcome to contact me with additional questions about this post or other home and unschool topics.

Do you need an evaluation, consultation, transcript writing, or reading coach training? Click here to contact me. Let me put my experience to work for you!

 

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

 

I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my dissertation for my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, moving from middle school to high school to college, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. Additional services include public speaking, transcript preparation, and more. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you.

Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at 407-712-4368

 

FLVS Flex and Umbrella Schools

Parents often ask if they can use one or more FLVS flex courses if they are enrolled in an umbrella school.  FLVS flex is a version of Florida Virtual School which allows parents and students to choose one or many courses without being enrolled in the public school version of FLVS with all of the testing mandates and mandatory courses for graduation. The short answer is “maybe”. There are some details which affect whether you can or cannot do this.

If your umbrella school has an articulation agreement with FLVS, then your child will be able to use FLVS flex. The umbrella school owner will act as the guidance counselor. You will sign up for an account and request one or more courses. Then, the guidance counselor approves those courses. You may need to email your umbrella school owner to let them know you have requested one or more FLVS flex classes unless the school owner has given you other directions for this process.

If your umbrella school does not have an articulation agreement, you could request that they set this up. However, they may choose not to do so. If that is the case, then you have to decide if you prefer to stay with the umbrella school or change to a letter of intent and annual evaluation with your county as all Florida counties are able to approve your FLVS flex courses.

Remember that some counties will accept an FLVS transcript as proof that learning occurred. You may do this instead of having a certified teacher or psychologist complete an evaluation each year. However, your child may have to complete a certain amount of courses for this to suffice. FLVS flex allows your child to take one or multiple courses so please check with your county before doing this in order to be certain your child will qualify for this alternative to a yearly evaluation with the amount of courses they are taking.

Remember that FLVS is public school at home. FLVS flex is the same coursework but allows you to pick and choose classes though the flex option does not allow your child to graduate with a diploma whereas FLVS does. Either way you receive a transcript for courses taken.

 

Do you need an evaluation, consultation, transcript writing, or reading coach training? Click here to contact me. Let me put my experience to work for you!

 

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

 

I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my dissertation for my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, moving from middle school to high school to college, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. Additional services include public speaking, transcript preparation, and more. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you.

Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at 407-712-4368

 

 

How Do I Begin Homeschooling in Florida?

 

How do I homeschool in Florida? Is unschooling allowed? Do my children have to take tests? What happens if my child has special needs and homeschools? These questions and others are found throughout support group websites and Facebook groups. The great news is that Florida is very homeschool and unschool friendly. Read on to find out how to get started homeschooling in Florida.

Florida provides a few different ways to homeschool.

  • Umbrella School
  • FLVS
  • Letter of Intent

 

 

Umbrella Schools

Umbrella schools are private schools used by homeschoolers. They are sometimes brick and mortar schools. But often are virtual. Umbrella schools are largely used for recordkeeping and collect data such as attendance (a few times per year) and vaccine records (or exemptions) and the records from a doctor’s physical exam (or exemptions).

Some umbrella schools have support beyond record keeping. Also, some umbrella schools have a fee while others are free. It is possible that an umbrella school will articulate with FLVS flex and/or state college dual enrollment programs, though not all do this. An evaluation form is not required for the county if you choose an umbrella school.

 

FLVS

Many families choose either the full-time or part-time (called FLVS flex) options. Some umbrella schools and your county will allow FLVS flex enrollment, but you must ask them to be sure. You may also use FLVS full-time, but your child will be on their roles as a public school student which means a diploma but also standardized testing and test-prep activities.

Keep in mind that your child will be held to the same testing and curriculum pacing schedules as public school students who go to brick and mortar schools if using full-time FLVS. Some counties also have their own version of virtual school. Check with your county’s school choice office for details if you are interested in FLVS full-time.

 

 

Letter of Intent

The letter of intent option means you are homeschooling through your county or school district. This sounds difficult, but it is not as much of a “big brother” situation as you might think. If you choose this option, you will need to send a letter of intent within 30 days of withdrawing from a public school, moving into a district, or beginning home education with your child. Keep a copy of this letter for yourself, then send another copy to your school district home education office. Many offices accept USPS mail, emails, and faxes. You may use the form found on the county website, though some counties may require you to write your own letter instead of use a pre-made form.

Then, each year you must submit an evaluation form saying that your child is making progress at their developmental level. To show that progress is being made, you will keep a portfolio throughout the year. You will keep a few samples from each subject your child learns. These do not have to be perfect but should show progression where possible.

Many families choose a sample from the beginning of the year, one from the middle, and one from the end for each subject covered. Parents choose the subjects taught so if you focused on math more than language arts because your child needed more math practice, that is okay. Just make sure your evaluator knows this in advance of your evaluation.

To comply with Florida law, you will need to either use FLVS flex transcripts, hire a psychologist to do testing and complete a form, have your child complete a standardized test that you and your county agree is appropriate, or have a certified teacher complete a form. Most people choose either the FLVS flex transcript or an evaluation, using an evaluation form, with a certified teacher who regularly completes evaluations and understands the homeschool law in Florida.

Some counties send a copy of their evaluation form near your anniversary date, but they are not required to do this. Keep in mind that there is no state required version of the form so you may use your county’s form or another form your evaluator has on hand. Be sure you keep track of your due date which is on the anniversary of your homeschool journey beginning, as noted on your letter of intent when you sent it to the county. You will keep your portfolio for a minimum of 2 years, but I suggest keeping your evaluation form from each year as long as your children are in homeschool, unschool, or college so they have that proof of learning happening.

A letter of intent allows homeschoolers to utilize their zoned school for IEPs, testing for some special needs, and extracurricular activities in some cases. Additionally, a letter of intent generally allows you to use your local state college for dual enrollment, though the PERT test must also be passed to begin at most state colleges.

 

Do you need an evaluation, consultation, transcript writing, or reading coach training? Click here to contact me. Let me put my experience to work for you!

 

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

 

I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my dissertation for my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, moving from middle school to high school to college, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. Additional services include public speaking, transcript preparation, and more. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you.

Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at 407-712-4368

 

My Homeschooler Won’t Listen To Me

Parents and teens often hit rough patches along their homeschool route. There is always the chance for disagreements or conflicts when making choices about education regardless of how or where your child attends school. But what do you do when your child won’t listen, complete work, or choose to improve their skill set?


Change Curriculum/Homeschool Style

Sometimes the homeschool style a parent prefers will not work for a child. Some parents are very traditional while others prefer a relaxed homeschool option. Many times, the conflicts families deal with have to do with a mismatch in homeschool or curriculum style with a student’s preferences or educational needs.

If you use online courses, try paper and book courses. If your child prefers to work outside of the house due to distractions from siblings, see if your local library has a study space. If workbooks are not working, try online options. If you are unsure of which options are best, consider looking for used or free curriculum, asking others in homeschool groups to text you a few photos of the types of lessons in a curriculum you are considering, or call the company to ask for a trial (if they offer this). You could also check your local library for curriculum options. Doing a little homework can often save you cash in the long run, especially if you try several types of curriculum before finding a good fit.

 

Have Someone Else Teach

It can be difficult to let go of the teaching portion of homeschooling. After all, the goal is to bond the family and learn together. Sometimes, though, it becomes necessary to hire a tutor, join a co-op, or utilize other local or online options. If your child refuses to complete tasks, is not making progress, and you find yourself arguing and punishing often, consider changing up who does the instruction for one of more subjects. Sometimes you or your child needs a break. Sometimes our kids prefer to learn from others. Often there are online or local options to help part or full time with this issue.

 

Ask Your Child For Input

One of the best pieces of advice is to include your child, especially teens, in the decision-making process whenever possible. Have them consider their future goals and job interests along with where they are now with skills such as math sense and reading level. This often helps motivate students t do well. If they can choose several courses, the type of materials used, and see their goals clearly, you may have less conflict over completion of school tasks.

 

Deschool/Unschool

Another great option is to either deschool, then go back to homeschooling or deschool and move into unschooling. Deschooling means you take time off from schoolwork to rest, recharge, and feel more at peace. Then, once you have deschooled for the length of time you feel works for your family or child, you move back to either homeschooling or unschooling. Unschooling is allowing child-led exploration and education instead of having adult-driven lessons. Unschooling may look like coding a website for fun, painting all day, exploring outdoors, playing at the park, reading a self-chosen book, etc. The key is that the child chooses and the adult supports if needed but does not push any particular topic or schoolwork.  The deschooling time period is a good time to make changes to curriculum or structure of your school day. You could use this option in conjunction with taking time to re-evaluate homeschooling options.

 

 

If you feel stressed out, need encouragement, or want to know what your options are, schedule a consultation with me. I am happy to put my experience to work for you.

 

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

 

I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my dissertation for my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, moving from middle school to high school to college, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. Additional services include public speaking, transcript preparation, and more. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you.

Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at 407-712-4368

 

Use Movies to Teach

 

 

 

I remember way back in school when the teacher would roll out that lovely tv on a cart. I

rarely knew exactly which video was on the roster that day, but it was often better than regular

classwork.  It’s always fun for kids to have variety so with the advent of streaming options (like

Amazon and Hulu) and DVD rental services (like Redbox and Netflix), there are plenty of options

for media use in schools and homeschools alike.

 

 

Any topic can be taught using movies. Documentaries are available for topics from poverty to

living in counties outside of the US to how to make things. On top of that, there are TV shows

about history, physics, and Earth.

If you find that a topic has not yet been covered, consider it a challenge and ask your

students to research and produce their own documentary. Consider creating a YouTube or

SchoolTube channel. Or, if you prefer, create a website where you can instantly post the movie

your students create.

 

 

To extend learning, ask students to consider what happens next, how they can help if a

topic requires action, or to retell the information. Allow for individualized or group projects.

Give options for presentations which are flexible such as songs, art, acting it out, etc.

Don’t be afraid to learn with your students. Nobody knows everything. Learning together is a

great way to show that you are human. Plus, learning with kids helps them understand that you

are a life-long learner, which shows them the pros of being a learner for life.

 

 

So, what are you waiting for? Teaching through movies is only a click or two away. ?

 

About Melissa, The Reading Coach

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

 

I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. Additional services include public speaking, transcript preparation, and more. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you.

Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at

407-712-4368

 

My Favorite Valentine Books

Every year I go back to old standbys for each holiday clients wish to celebrate, but I also

like to add in new activities when possible.

I was working on lesson plans for clients and found some cool books for your homeschool or

classroom this year. Links are included if they are available for each book. Some links may be

via affiliates.

 

The Berenstain Bears’ Valentine Party

Berenstain Bears’ books tend to teach solid life lessons while entertaining children. Try opening your lesson to include student discussions about the topic of how to include others. Also consider allowing students to act out the book using puppets, action figures, or students themselves.

The Valentine Bears

Consider using The Valentine Bears as a whole group activity or in listening centers. Discuss how people sacrifice for each other to brighten a day. Allow students to discuss kind acts and safety boundaries to round out the lesson.

Junie B. Jones: Junie B. My Valentim

Junie B., the B. is for Beatrice and don’t forget it, makes mistakes and has some fun along the way. Junie books help students evaluate wise choices versus inappropriate choices with some laughter along the way. Consider having students rewrite a chapter or page to tell what happens if Junie makes a different choice.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!

Given the popularity of books like “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”, it’s likely that kids will enjoy this book, too. Consider using this book to practice predictive text, make valentine’s in the classroom as not every student will have an opportunity to do so at home, and practice rhyming activities.

 

 

 

Orlando Science Center

My family enjoyed a recent homeschool open house at the Orlando Science Center. OSC invited homeschoolers to reserve a spot for a 4 hour free preview of what we can expect if we attend homeschool classes this year.

We were greeted by helpful and knowledgeable staff members, enjoyed a short presentation about the upcoming classes, and enjoyed time with our friends while exploring the exhibits and classrooms.

From DNA to archeology to weather and engineering, OSC has got you covered.

We explored exhibits telling how clouds are made, what makes a tornado form, how to build a structure that withstands earthquakes, and more.

We learned how the force of air can affect items like balls and scarves. The tubed structure above was a maze for the scarves which were carried through by suction which worked like a vacuum. The air from the rods below held balls in the air.

Do YOU know how to build an arch from the ground up with out everything falling to pieces? Each piece has an important role!

Orlando recently came together to support each other and our community after a horrendous hate crime.

We are thankful that OSC is an ally!

More on the heart memorial here. 

Homeschool Classes 

Homeschool classes at OSC currently run on the first Monday of each month, except January. Parents can choose to purchase admission to the class with their children for under $30 per parent/child ticket. You can also add another student for a nominal fee.

In addition, if you choose to stay beyond the 10-2 class time to explore OSC, the fee is $4 per person for an extended time ticket.

Topics for classes this year include (but are not limited to) magnets, forces of nature, STEM, 3D printing, bridges, and chemlab. Check the information page for details for your child’s age/grade group each month. Sign up in advance as classes sell out quickly!

Also, consider attending a homeschool overnight event. This information

is below the class info.

As a certified teacher, homeschool parent, and tutor, I highly encourage homeschool families to participate in the homeschool courses OSC has to offer. The pricing is great, your child will have an enriching day, and everyone goes home happy!

7 Science Lesson Tips

Sometimes people ask how I deal with teaching so many different ages and grades when tutoring or homeschooling. They have a point. There are a lot of ways to make teaching easier, though. Lets talk about how to plan for science lessons and NOT give yourself a headache.

1. Plan ahead.

Planning lessons in advance and having the correct tools on hand makes life so much easier. But with busy lives and multiple children, I know this is a challenge. It may help to take a day or two off and plan a week or month in advance, create lists of materials needed, and even set up folders or shelves with the items for each experiment on them assuming nothing dangerous is in the reach of kids.

 

 

2. Safety first!

Post and review safety rules often. Include pictures of items like safety goggles so your kids are more likely to remember the rules. Remember to set the example.

If they need goggles, you need goggles.

If they need to walk while holding a beaker, so do you.

If someone breaks a rule, refer back to the rule and it’s matching image. Make your own or buy one like this.

 

 

3. Practice using tools.

I don’t know about you, but when I get a new thing, I want to check it out. This holds true for science tools like beakers, bunsen burners, pipettes, etc. Kids ALWAYS want to play with new items.

ALWAYS.

The question is, have they had enough time to play safely, then practice using the materials responsibly? If so, then you are ready for lessons. If not, well, let’s just say broken glass isn’t fun so let the kids practice A LOT under your supervision before beginning lessons.

 

 

4. Stop for safety.

If your students are not focused or are being unsafe, stop. You can always start again later or on another day. Sometimes it takes a brain break or time outside to get those wiggles out and refocus on the lesson.

 

 

5. Ask your kids.

Ask your kids what they want to learn. Ask them how they think a scientific inquiry should proceed. When you use open-ended questions and student-chosen lessons, when possible, it helps your children to internalize the information because it will likely be more important and interesting to them.

 

6. Try it again.

Try experiments more than once. Scientists do this, so why can’t you? Consider changing one thing in the experiment such as the independent variable and see how that changes the findings. Ask the kids to decide what to change and how. Record the results each time and compare them in a log book like this one.

 

 

7. Have fun!

It’s also okay to have fun! There is no reason that science should be boring. Science is always open to change and to new questions. If an experiment sounds bor-ring, consider doing a different one. The goal is to learn how to make a scientific inquiry and go through the scientific process to ensure results are unbiased, reliable, and valid. It’s okay to have fun while you do it!

If you want some ideas to help you get started, check out the options below!

Keep in mind that I reserve the right to use affiliate links throughout my website.

About Melissa, The Reading Coach

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Several years ago, I left my teaching job to spend more time with my children. I was sad to go, but am thankful for the experiences that classroom teaching provided. My educational experiences paired with real world experiences give me a unique perspective when working with families to achieve their behavioral and educational goals.

I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you. Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at

407-712-4368

 lissa_kaye54@yahoo.com

7 Reasons Homeschooling Works and One Reason It’s Tough

 

  1. Flexibility

When a family decides to homeschool, they get to set their schedule. Does mom work the night shift? No problem, homeschool in the morning or afternoon. Does dad have a business trip during the week and you are invited? Awesome! No absentee notes to write and have rejected by the principal because they aren’t sick notes.

Head on out to Boston, New York, or nearly anywhere you’re your wallet can afford. You may even learn something about history, cultures, transportation, architecture, or art while out and about.

  1. Family Time

Because your schedule is not set by the local school, you can decide when you have classes, trips, chores, movie night, and other events. It can be easier to schedule family time when it is convenient rather than in the time left over after dealing with schedules other entities give you.

  1. Developmentally Appropriate Lessons

I hear complaints every day. Either schools are asking students to do things they are not yet ready to understand or schools are giving kids busy work they have already mastered. We can’t blame schools and teachers too much for this. They are stuck. They have many kids and a curriculum which says it is for all, but really has expectations that all students will master the same benchmarks. Sure, teachers scaffold, remediate, and try their hardest, but some kids are ahead or behind the given benchmarks due to their developmental stage.

This means that many come away from public school frustrated because this learning model does not meet everyone’s needs. Homeschool families can choose to work at a student’s developmental stage and build from there. With one on one or small group lessons, such as in a co-op, this is an easier task than in a classroom with 18 or more students.

  1. Time for ESE

There are some fantastic ESE programs at brick and mortar schools for those living with special needs. However, there are also advantages to one on one and small group instruction provided in a home education setting. Students who are easily distracted, are too shy to speak up when they do not understand, or who get lost in the shuffle when there is a large group will benefit from having more attention and help. There is no comparison between an 18 to 1 ratio and a 1 to 1 ratio. There just isn’t. Keep in mind that with less time spent waiting for his turn, your child will have more time to attend therapist and doctor appointments, if needed.

  1. Extracurriculars

Is your child a budding actress? Does your child have an aptitude for baseball? Less time in class waiting on others to complete work or have questions answered equals more time for extracurriculars. Sometimes your local school also allows homeschooled students to join their teams so keep this in mind, too.

  1. Friends

In brick and mortar schools you meet the people who are in class with you. Hopefully, you make friends with them and see each other outside of class, too. After school time is limited, though. During school, your job is to work on academics. You don’t get to practice social skills, navigating friendships with ample time to put towards solving problems.

Homeschool students often have friends of different ages and socioeconomic statutes. They also tend to have more time to devote to getting together, volunteering, and working on social skills such as problem solving

  1. Pursue childhood

Seems like we see articles about recapturing childhood and getting rid of screen-time. One great way to do this is to give your child the gift of time to play and exercise without imposing rules about how they should do this, though safety rules may be needed in some cases. Sure, those who attend brick and mortar schools can do this on weekends and after school. That can definitely work. Homeschoolers can do this, too. They can suspend lessons to enjoy a beautiful day attend a field trip outdoors, or explore a local town.

When It Gets Tough

Homeschooling isn’t without it’s challenges. Personality conflicts may occur between siblings or parent and child. Plus, the time and commitment needed to plan and stick with this schooling model can be overwhelming in some cases. Thankfully, there are online and local support groups which often help for free. There are also bloggers, consultants, and local classes in most areas. The idea is to take a team approach rather than going it alone. Plus, adjusting lessons and activities when you see a need to do so can be beneficial and lower stress.

 

If you would like to discuss homeschool or unschool options, feel free to reach out to me. I receive questions every day and am happy to help. Should you need a more in-depth meeting, reading coaching or lesson writing services, please let me know. I am happy to help. Allow me to put my experience to work for you!

 

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas

 

 

English as a Second Language and Homeschool

I recently heard about a local homeschool service provider who was drumming up business by claiming that those who speak English as a second language cannot homeschool their children. This person said that a parent who speaks English as a second language must pay others to provide this service.

This is someone from a small service provider not affiliated with any of the big names in charter or home education. I have left the entity unnamed on purpose. This person also claims that you must teach specific subjects under state law. Again, this is inaccurate information. At this point, I will not encourage clients to seek out this person’s services because preying on homeschool families is unacceptable, in my opinion.

I want to state clearly that any parent or guardian who would like to homeschool their children is welcome to do so under current Florida state law. Speaking English as a second language, or not at all, does not restrict this right.

If you are a parent who would like to homeschool with your child, you need the time, interest, and patience. You can teach subjects in your first language, join a co-op, join a local homeschool report group, use websites and curriculum options with DVDs, or hire a tutor, if you want to do so. This is your choice. It is not required. Remember, many people who speak English as their first language have difficulty with grammar and vocabulary and that doesn’t revoke their right to homeschool or prevent them from learning more about these topics.

The only subject you may want to spend extra time on would be language arts in English. When working on skills, don’t be afraid to learn alongside your child if you teach this subject in a language other than your first language. Many homeschool families learn together. Parents often tell me that they learned more while homeschooling their children in subjects, like science, than they ever did in school when growing up. Homeschooling is a second education for most parents, me included.

It is important for parents to know the law and what can or cannot be done. While I think most service providers have good hearts and want to help, some take advantage of clients. I want to be sure that everyone knows that speaking English as a second language while homeschooling is not against the law in Florida at this time.