Getting Started > What is Homeschooling?
Decisions regarding education and school choice are ones that every family has to make. Florida affords K-12 families the right to educational choice, and there are several options. One of these options is a home education program or homeschooling. The Library has several resources to help you in making the decision to homeschool your child, as well as materials to assist you in implementing a homeschool program. We have prepared this eGuide to assist in answering any questions that you may have regarding a home education program.
Homeschooling provides a flexible and diverse option for educating your child. There is a variety of ways to structure a homeschool program. Some educators opt for a traditional approach, which mirrors public schools, while other educators choose a less-structured format, determined by the child's interests, needs, and abilities. The Florida Department of Education has created a School Choice Brochure for Home Education, which provides an overview of homeschooling in Florida.
Getting Started > Deciding to Homeschool
As a homeschool parent, you will choose your child's curriculum and educational materials, and assume the responsibility for record-keeping to determine your child's progress. Orange County Public Schools' (OCPS) School Choice Web site is a valuable resource to learn more about homeschooling in Orange County, Florida. The OCPS Home Education Program Information Packet outlines what is required to comply with the Florida State Statutes and compulsory attendance laws pertaining to a home education program. For more information, the Library has homeschool guides available to assist in making the right decision for you and your family.
Getting Started > Homeschool Education Options
There are several alternatives available for the homeschool family. One option is to create your own curriculum using public resources, the Internet, and the many materials available at the Orange County Library System. Online classes or virtual school is another option for homeschooling. Florida Virtual School currently offers high school and middle school curriculums including online honors and advanced placement courses. These classes are free to Florida middle and high school students including home-educated students.
An umbrella school may assist parents looking to supplement their homeschool program with classroom time. Umbrella schools are generally private schools with homeschool options. School Tree, a Web site listing public, private, charter, and magnet schools, is a great place to find contact information for private schools in Orange County. Check with individual schools to see what systems of accountability they may offer for parents who provide the majority of their child's education. These schools may also be a source for high school diploma programs, guidance and curriculum counseling, provision of official student transcripts, and testing resources.
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For high school students, dual enrollment is an option. Dual enrollment allows eligible high school students to enroll in postsecondary courses. They earn credit toward high school graduation and at the same time earn credit toward a college degree or technical certificate. The Florida Department of Education answers frequently asked questions about dual enrollment.
Getting Started > Resources for Home Educators
The Florida Department of Education's Sunshine State Standards define what students in public schools should know as a result of their elementary and secondary education. The Sunshine State Standards Web site is an invaluable tool for planning your student's curriculum and determining goals. Upon entering the Web site, make a selection from the subject area drop-down menu, and then choose your grade level to access lesson plans, worksheets, and other curriculum resources for each benchmark.
The Library has books, databases, computer classes, and children's programs that may be useful for the homeschooling family. In the course of this eGuide, you will find subject searches to help you gather the wide array of resources at your fingertips.
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The Library also has an online catalog, which is available 24/7, to find specific items that will best serve your student and complement your lesson plans. If you are new to the Orange County Library System, we have three simple catalog tutorials to get you up to speed in no time.
In the following sections, we have described the Library resources available for the core academic subjects of Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies followed by the electives of Fine Arts, Foreign Language, and Health. We have divided each subject into resources for younger and older students; browse the sections most appropriate for your child. Information about extracurricular activities, local and national organizations, and support concludes the Homeschool eGuide.
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To get your curriculum started, here are a couple of general resources to help you begin planning your student's educational program:
School Resources Web InfoPath
The Library can help you score high marks this school year! Visit the School Resources page which collects our most helpful school-related Virtual Galleries, databases, and test preparation resources in one quick and easy to use place. Be sure to take advantage of all the literature resources as well, which include downloadable media, Accelerated Reader lists, books and reading databases, and suggested reading lists.
Teacher Connect Virtual Gallery
As you begin planning your curriculum be sure to visit this helpful resource for teachers which includes suggested books, DVDs, CDs, digital downloads, Virtual Galleries, databases, programs, videos, and so much more.
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ALA and ALSC Great Web Sites for Kids
Each year members from the American Library Association and Association for Library Services to Children compile what they believe to be the best Web sites for children. Their choices are based on criteria such as authorship, purpose, design and stability, and content. The list encompasses all areas of the curriculum and may become an invaluable tool in your home classroom.