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Umbrella option and county option -- which is better?

Florida home educators have two basic options for enrollment/registration -- enroll your child in a private school that operates as an umbrella school like Florida Unschoolers OR register with your county as a homeschooler. 

Each choice involves different paperwork to start with and different recordkeeping/reporting requirements as you go along. That is the biggest difference for most people and choosing between the two options comes down to deciding which set of paperwork you want to deal with. 

Florida Unschoolers enrollment information is here. It is the minimum required by law. Other private/umbrella schools require more and offer more services. See your county school board's website for information about the county option -- sending in the Letter of Intent, keeping the portfolio and daily log/journal, and having the annual evaluation.

Exceptions that apply to SOME home educators:

If your child wants to participate in extracurriculars at the local public school, you should register with the county. Extracurriculars are available to county-registered homeschoolers (usually only during high school but you can check with your local public school to see what they offer) but not to private school students. 

Special needs: This is complicated. Your local public school system will do assessments of your child to determine if they need any special needs services that the public school offers, no matter where the child is enrolled/registered. But they will only provide services to your child if he is registered with the county as a homeschooler. On the other hand, all students, county-registered homeschoolers or private school students like Florida Unschoolers students, may use the Gardiner funding if they qualify and that can pay for therapies/services done privately. 

Dual enrollment is another complex area. Dual enrollment at the local community college used to be available to all students but the law changed in 2013 and now it is available at all community colleges to county-registered homeschoolers BUT only at a handful of community colleges for private school students like Florida Unschoolers. Making the change to county registration for dual enrollment should be done by the end of 10th grade if your child will be applying for Bright Futures.

Neither option is better than the other and people move from one option to the other as needed. It is up to you to choose which option suits your family best!