When it comes to annual evaluations, portfolio reviews are the most popular of the 5 options available to Florida home educators. Quick and easy, portfolio reviews are inexpensive, suited to all kinds of learners, and take less than an hour to complete.
Probably the hardest part of the portfolio review is finding a Florida-certified teacher to do it! Rest assured, however, that part isn't hard at all.
When looking for a homeschool evaluator for your student's portfolio, just remember two things:
The teacher must be Florida-certified with an active license (professional, not temporary).
The teacher should be very familiar with evaluating students under Florida homeschooling laws.
Certified teachers do not need to be certified in any specific grade or specialty to evaluate your homeschooler. Certified teachers do not need to be presently working for a school district, either (in fact, we recommend looking for teachers who are homeschool parents themselves).
WHERE TO FIND EVALUATORS
Here are some ways to find evaluators and other tips you might need.
Most homeschool groups have an evaluator list or some other way of connecting their members to homeschool evaluators. For instance, in our online community, we provide a place for evaluators to advertise their services once a month. In this way, our members can find the names all in one place, making it easy to choose a person they'd like to work with. If you're a Florida homeschooler, you'll enjoy being in our group anyway, so check it out.
Referrals From Friends
A good way to locate an evaluator is to ask other homeschoolers you know. Families who've been homeschooling a while are great sources of information and support. Evaluators also appreciate referrals like this, to meet new clients. Connecting with other homeschoolers is important anyway, so why not make it a goal to meet other families this year?
Can Parents Evaluate Their Own Kids?
Florida home educators who also possess an active teaching license may evaluate theirs and other students they know. Nothing in the law prevents parents from evaluating their own kids, although some parents prefer to have objective third parties do it for them.
Non-Standard Portfolios, Unique Learners
We at FLHSA remind parents that all students can be evaluated using the portfolio review, no matter the educational style, method or philosophy used in the homeschool, and no matter the ability of the students. Parents sometimes ask whether self-led learners, students with unique abilities, or students without a standard portfolio can "pass" the evaluation. We affirm there are ways that progress can be demonstrated via portfolio no matter the kind of work or experiences a student has completed.
If you have any questions about evaluations, consider a group membership or attending one of our events. We're always happy to help. We also provide other articles about the portfolio and the annual evaluation process on our website.