Private Homeschooling FAQs
Here are answers to the more frequently asked questions we receive about the Private School option. Please feel free to contact us if you have a question not addressed here.
How Long has Atrium School Been in Existence?
Atrium School was founded in 2001 and has been operating continuously since then. You can search for us on the Florida Department of Education’s Florida Private Schools Directory by clicking “All Schools” and then selecting Duval as the district. Schools are listed alphabetically.
May I Enroll in a Private School and Still Homeschool My Child?
YES, as long as the private school offers a non-campus or homeschooling option.
What is a 600 School?
The name 600 School has come to be applied to those Florida private schools that offer a homeschooling option. The reference to ‘600’ has to do with the number of the state statutes that govern the incorporation of private schools. From a legal point of view, there is no difference between a private school that offers a homeschooling option and one that does not.
What is an Umbrella School?
An Umbrella School is the name often given to non-campus-based private schools, in other words, schools like Atrium School that exist to support homeschooling families. Umbrella schools are sometimes known as Cover schools, based on their providing legal cover of homeschooling to the families enrolled in them.
Must I Notify the Superintendent if I Enroll in a Private School?
No! Once you enroll in a private school, you are no longer considered to be homeschooling according to Florida state statute. This does not mean that you will be any less of a homeschooler from a practical standpoint, simply that the law recognizes a difference between private school students and home education students and applies different rules and privileges to each. You must weigh the pros and cons of each status before deciding whether to register with a private school or as a home educator. Again, this legal distinction has no bearing on your ability to teach your children at home, but may have other implications for your family, as shown below.
Enrolling with a Private School Vs. Home Ed. Statutes
|Feature/Requirement||Private School||Home Education Statutes|
|Register with Superintendent||No||Yes|
|File Annual Evaluation with School District||No||Yes|
|Possible “audit” of records by School District||No||Yes|
|Adhere to Florida State Attendance Requirements||Yes||No|
|Eligible for Bright Futures Scholarship||Yes||Yes|
|Participate in Inter-Scholastic Extracurricular Student Activities||Maybe||Yes|
|Take Classes with Florida Virtual School Flex||Yes||Yes|
When looking at this chart, bear in mind that it reflects legal requirements only. Private schools also tend to offer services to their students such as:
- Recommendations for curriculum
- Report Cards
- Guidance Counseling
- Credit Verification
Each private school may set its own requirements regarding curriculum, samples of work, testing, evaluations, and so on. The key difference between enrolling in a private school and registering as a home educator is this:
- Private school students are overseen by administrators you select. Identifying data about the student and samples of the student’s work are never shared with anyone outside of the private school (other than at your request).
- Home education students are overseen by government employees at the school district. Parents must file annual evaluations with the district and may be required to show their record-keeping and samples of the student’s work.
Aren’t Private Schools Expensive?
Not necessarily. In many cases, the annual tuition is comparable to the cost of an annual evaluation, which is what you’ll have to submit if your child is registered with the school district.
Are All 600 Schools Alike?
No. Each school has a unique personality, as well as procedures and requirements that are unique to that school. Some factors you may want to take into consideration when selecting a private school with a homeschooling option include:
- Courses Taught – Are there certain courses you must teach and, if so, are these courses you believe will enhance your children’s education?
- Educational or Religious Philosophy – Is the school’s educational and religious philosophy consistent with yours? Will your educational choices, lifestyle and belief system be tolerated, supported or frowned upon?
- Curriculum – Is the amount curriculum support correct for your family? Some schools provide or require curricula, while others let you select materials yourself. Do you feel stifled? Left hanging? Just right?
- Record keeping – What type of reporting is required from you and on what frequency? Can you visualize yourself having an easy (or difficult) time complying?
- Grades/Transcripts/Diploma – If these options matter to you, make sure the school you are considering offers them.
- Support Services – Is it important to you that your school have a support group or library? If so, ask about these and other support features before you sign up.
- And More – If there are issues that are important to your family, be sure to discuss them with school personnel before you enroll.
What Does Atrium School Offer?
Atrium School is a private school with a homeschooling option offering two distinct programs:
- A Basic Program that allows families complete freedom over all aspects of their homeschooling with minimal involvement; and
- An Extended Program that allows families complete freedom over all aspects of their homeschooling while also including report cards, a transcript and a diploma (upon successful completion of high school).
For a complete list of features and side-by-side comparison of the programs, visit the Programs page.
Note: Atrium School does not participate in any government-funded programs as we believe that the costs of such programs — most notably parents’ loss of freedom to direct their children’s education — outweigh the benefits. We recommend that you review the Private School Directory on the Florida Homeschooling web site for assistance in locating a school that meets your needs.
What is Atrium School’s Philosophy?
We believe that a love of learning is the greatest gift you can give your children. Because we’re home educators ourselves, we understand that there is no one right way to achieve high academic standards or to create a well-rounded education. What works for one child may not work for another. Each child – and family – is unique. That’s why we’ve created a school that supports a learning environment where all children can thrive.
Our mission is to:
Provide an educational environment that fosters a love of learning and high educational standards in a family-based setting.