For parents of high-school-aged students
NOTE: Valencia College is, apparently, not accepting umbrella school students again. The reasons are unclear. If your child plans to go to Valencia, consider switching to the county. As of 4-23-20.
If your child is headed to college or wants to use FLVS for some high school courses or might apply for Bright Futures or wants to use the dual enrollment option. . . things can get complicated.
Note that not all of these complications apply to all students. Most students will need a high school transcript to move forward but if your child is not applying for Bright Futures, you don’t need to meet the Bright Futures requirements. If dual enrollment at the local state/community college is not being considered, no need to worry about that confusing mess. If you don’t want to use FLVS, you don’t have to.
The form to withdraw or graduate your child from Florida Unschoolers is here: Withdrawal or Graduation.
Transcripts: High school is 9th through 12th grades. If your child is headed to college of any kind, you will need to work with them to put together a transcript for those years. Find a simple template online or use the sample below. The transcript should be one or two pages, should be titled Official High School Transcript, and should include:
student’s name, address, email, phone number, birthdate
high school name and address : Florida Unschoolers, 8680 SE Eagle Avenue, Hobe Sound, FL 33455
school code: 3463
number of volunteer/community service hours
course names, subject areas, course codes, course credits
You will need to provide your child's Social Security Number at some point but you don’t have to put it on the transcript.
The course information may come from FLVS and/or dual enrollment courses taken or independent study or activities -- either using a curriculum or not. You should document the volunteer hours.
Your child may need a high school transcript in the future, even if they are not immediately entering college. It is easier to keep the information as you go along than to try to pull it all together after 12 years of homeschooling.
There is a transcript template here -- Transcript and Diploma Samples.
Dual Enrollment: This is an option for high-school-aged students to take courses at their local state/community college with no tuition charges (books and other expenses are not covered). But, in June 2013, new legislation was passed that changed the way this option works.
The bottom line is private-school-enrolled home educators, like Florida Unschoolers students, no longer have the dual enrollment option at most of the state/community colleges. The only exception I am aware of, as of July 2020, is Polk State.
I suggest anyone who wants their child to take dual enrollment courses at their local state/community college withdraw their child from Florida Unschoolers and register him with the county as a homeschooler. Here’s a good FAQ about the HEP/county-registration option -- https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7709/urlt/Home-Ed-FAQs.pdf
Make sure that you meet with the Dual Enrollment Advisor at the college to be very clear on the AA graduation requirements. They change and are not the same as the requirements to graduate from high school. In particular, foreign language credits done at home, without utilizing an accredited third-party provider like FLVS Flex, can be problematic and may need to be validated with SAT2 or other proficiency exams, when needed for college entrance and exit requirements.
Note that the move to county registration of your Home Education Program should be made before 11th grade. That is when most dual enrollment is available (some colleges have courses for 10th graders and even younger students) and Bright Futures requires that students be registered with the county for at least the last two years of high school to qualify as homeschoolers. Counties will usually accept the transcripts from dual enrollment courses as the annual evaluation but go over all of this with the homeschooling coordinator at your local school board.
Bright Futures: Private school students, like those enrolled with Florida Unschoolers, may apply for Bright Futures, a Florida grant program for college financial aid. You will need to go to the website -- http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/bf/ -- to see the different options. Look under “Requirements for Three Scholarship Types", pages 3-6 (not home-educated), for eligibility requirements.
This is one of the reasons you need a transcript for your high schooler. You can see if your child has met the Bright Futures requirements and document them on his transcript. Then you send the transcript to me and I enter it into the Bright Futures system.
In addition to your child meeting the academic, volunteer/community service and test score requirements, you will need to fill out a Florida Financial Aid Application (https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/SAPPRFILE/SAPPRFILE). I can’t access your child’s Bright Futures application until you submit a Florida Financial Aid Application which can usually be done starting in October of your child's senior year. You will need your income information, tax return, etc., to complete the financial aid applications.
You should also fill out a FAFSA (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/) even though Bright Futures doesn’t require it any longer. You will need it for other financial aid. Note that the school code for Florida Unschoolers is 000003 for FAFSA and other financial aid applications. That is the code for private schools that have not been assigned a school code by the College Board.
After everything is entered, Bright Futures processes the application and I can access an evaluation report, usually the next day. I will send you a copy of the evaluation report to check to make sure everything is complete and correct, we’ll make any changes needed, and then I will submit the application for final processing. The whole process usually takes less than a week if we have all the information ready.
Note that the requirements for county-registered homeschoolers are different from the requirements for private school students. Also note that Bright Futures requirements change so keep an eye on them.
GED: If your child graduates while they are enrolled with Florida Unschoolers, they will be a private school graduate and will not need a GED. But if they leave school before graduating, they may want to pursue a GED. It is not an easy test but there are prep classes and study guides available. For information on the GED, see this page -- http://www.fldoe.org/academics/career-adult-edu/hse
Remember, you don’t need to memorize any of this or learn everything about the items that do not apply to you. Many homeschoolers go right through their school years never concerning themselves with any of these options.
This is my understanding of where things stand today but things can change so be aware that these options and issues exist and get the latest information ahead of the time when your child will need it.