This post comes from a member of our FLHSA team, who recently experienced the loss of student records when an online provider changed its delivery system. Read and share this valuable advice with anyone experiencing a loss of student information, or the loss of records needed for the annual homeschool portfolio.
Oh No! My students’ records are gone! What do I do?
There may be a time when something happens, such as an online curriculum mishap, that leads to a loss of student course records or course progress for your student. If this were to happen, what are some things you can do to retrieve those records and remain in compliance with Florida home education laws?
Let's begin by remembering that, based on Florida home education laws, it is YOU, the parent that is in charge of all aspects of your student’s education. YOU can select any curriculum (or none) that you prefer. You are also free to make changes as needed as you move through your school year.
Florida law does require that parents maintain a portfolio of records and materials that should include:
1) A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction and that designates by title any reading materials used.
2) Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student.
Parents also need to “provide an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with their ability.” Many families choose to have a teacher evaluate their students’ education progress by reviewing the portfolio and having a discussion with the student.
The loss of student course records and course progress can lead to parental and student stress, as well as concern regarding their portfolio and end of year evaluation. But, no worries. Here are a few things you can do to recover online curriculum records for the portfolio and annual evaluation:
1) Contact the online curriculum provider and request a copy of your students’ most recent progress report, course history, and/or curriculum transcript.
2) Check your inbox and spam for communications from the online curriculum provider. Sometimes, providers email monthly progress reports or other important information regarding your students’ work, that you didn't realize were there.
3) Save any emails or other communications to document mishaps or technical errors that lead to a loss of student records.
All of the above information can be saved and/or printed and included in your portfolio, to supplement your own records, as a way of documenting student progress and any changes that may have occurred throughout your academic year.
Remember, as a Florida home educator, YOU are in charge of the curriculum, if any, you choose to use in your homeschool. There are hundreds of online and traditional curriculum providers, and you are free to choose what works best for your family.
Also, please remember that for a program or provider to be considered a school in Florida, they must be registered with the Florida Department of Education and receive a four-digit code for their school. Some online curriculum providers are considered online schools and offer diplomas to students who graduate from their program. While you are free to utilize these services for your student, keep in mind that if they are not registered as a private school in Florida, you will still need to follow applicable laws, including sending in a letter of intent to your county, maintaining a portfolio, and completing end of year evaluations OR registering with a FL DOE private school and working with that school as you educate your students.
Always check for the FL DOE four-digit code. You can also search the Florida Directory of Private Schools yourself here Private School Directory (floridaschoolchoice.org)
This article may also be helpful when deciding how to use a curriculum or course provider.
FLHSA is devoted to supporting homeschooling families in the state of Florida and stands by the decisions of homeschooling families, whatever that may be, as they educate their children. When curriculum or programming issues happen, home educators can find solutions in what they are able to recover, or choose from any other program or educational solution they want to continue with.