Is SSHA an accredited school?
The short answer to this is no. The state of Florida does not accredit private schools in the state. There are accrediting agencies for private schools, but SSHA has decided to not seek accreditation from them. Most are faith based and require a statement of faith. They also have exceptionally high fees, which would have to be passed on to SSHA families. Our goal is to provide low-cost services and charging families such high fees is inconsistent with those goals. Even so, this does not reduce the quality of education received by our students as SSHA is a state recognized private school with the FL DOE.
Why do I need to submit immunization and health records if I am homeschooling through SSHA?
SSHA is considered a private school in Florida and must comply with Florida laws for private schools. This is why these records are required.
When can I enroll in SSHA?
You can enroll in SSHA at any time. We are a year-round school. You will notice that there are two payment options (grades k-8 or grades 9-12) that are based on when you enroll. If you enroll between June 1 and Sept. 30, you get an early registration fee. This is discounted compared to those who enroll later, after Oct. 1. The difference in the fee charged is based on the process to transfer a student to SSHA mid-year, especially those who are enrolled in a public school.
How do I select curriculum?
Curriculum and educational devices are not included in your enrollment with SSHA. You can select whatever curriculum best fits your student(s) and your needs. Upon enrollment, you will receive an enrollment packet that includes curriculum options. You are welcome to select any of those options but do not have to. SSHA also has an articulation agreement with FLVS so that Florida residents can take some or all of their courses online for free via FLVS. There are tons of curriculum available for homeschoolers. Usually a quick internet search of “homeschool curriculum ____ grade” will be enough for some of your options to pop up. Keep in mind your budget and how you prefer classes (online, traditional textbook, all in one, unit studies, note booking, etc.) when searching for curriculum. High school students need to select “verifiable” curriculum so that SSHA can confirm grades and courses.
What is “verifiable” curriculum?
Verifiable curriculum can include several things: (1) FLVS, which verifies all classes and grades, (2) purchased curriculum from legitimate curriculum publishing companies that either grades your students work or provides specific guidance for how parents should assign grades. These curricula include clear course descriptions as well as learning and teaching methods, and (3) courses taught via tutor who assigns grades to your students work and is willing to write a statement of such and provide the final grade to SSHA. There may be times when parents need to design their own course for their student. This can also be done in such a way that verifies grades. This would generally require a clear course plan, required materials for the course, course syllabus specifying how the student would be graded in the course, what assignments are required, and what constitutes the final grade in the course, along with a course schedule. Once the course has been approved by SSHA, the parent can then begin the course but will need to maintain clear records on all graded assignments in order to have verification for the final grade earned for such a class.
What is a course plan?
The course plan is used to help parents plan their academic year and courses for their students. Parents enter their course plan in our reporting portal. The course plan usually includes the name of the curriculum used and can include reading lists, any course descriptions needed, and any grading plans needed. Course plans can be changed at any time as they are tentative.
What if my student is a senior this year?
That’s great! Your senior can join SSHA their senior year and be able to graduate with their high school diploma. Your student will be eligible to graduate from SSHA after they have completed a minimum of one full semester or 75 school days with SSHA. SSHA will need to verify all courses and grades earned for each academic year (9th, 10th, 11th) completed prior to joining SSHA. Verifiable documentation to support students’ grades are due within 30 days of enrollment with SSHA. Verifiable documentation can include, but is not limited to, official school transcripts (from FLVS, public school, or other private school), end of course evaluations (for those who were homeschooled prior to joining SSHA), or portfolio reviews (for those who were homeschooled prior to joining SSHA). For those transferring to SSHA from a location other than Florida, verifiable documentation to accept transfer credit will be consistent with the homeschool laws of your state. The fee to verify transfer credit is $50 per academic year completed prior to SSHA.
How many hours of school do I need to complete each day?
The answer to this depends on how you structure your homeschool. Students are required, as private school students, to document 180 days of school each year. The number of hours completed each day of the 180 days varies based on grade level: K is 3 hours a day, grades 1-3 is 4 hours a day, and grades 4-12 is 5 hours a day. Remember, these hours are based on a 180-day schedule. Keep in mind that SSHA is open year-round, allowing 365 days for families to complete the school year. Some families stick to the 180-day schedule and take the summer off from school, but most do school year-round. Some do schoolwork on the weekends. Others do schoolwork in the evenings. You can structure your school year as needed but need to make sure your school hours average to the 180-day requirement. For instance, if you school year-round six days a week, you will complete around 311 school days. This is much more than the 180 minimum, meaning that you can do school for less hours each day. It will still average to the 180 minimum, but you will likely find that you actually end up spending more time doing school with your students taking this approach.
What “counts” as schoolwork?
The answer to this also depends on how you structure your homeschool. In seat instruction is usually what comes to mind when people think of schoolwork, but learning is much more than that. Learning can be experiential. Learning can be hands-on. Learning can be “student led.” Field trips can count as schoolwork. Educational free play can count as schoolwork. Interest based student led learning can count as schoolwork.
Why does SSHA require quarterly grade reporting?
SSHA is a private school that caters to homeschool families. We participate in the Bright Future’s scholarship, our students graduate with a high school diploma, our students apply and get accepted into colleges, and SSHA is a NCAA approved school. In order to provide these opportunities to our students, SSHA needs to maintain accountability. This means that grades are reported by parents to SSHA each quarter. Failure of parents to report grades means that SSHA could lose the opportunity to participate in these programs. That is not fair to our students. Additionally, SSHA also accepts students from most U.S. states and territories, which means we must be in compliance with their laws as well. Our requirements were designed around various state laws and the program requirements that we participate in to ensure that we remain in compliance in all of these areas.
Why does SSHA require annual attendance reporting?
SSHA is a private school in Florida and must follow all private school laws in the state. This means requiring that our students complete and document 180 days of school (minimum) each year.
What about end-of-year testing? SSHA does not require nor administer any end-of-year testing. If parents wish their student to participate in such testing, they will need to make arrangements for their student.
How will I know if my student is progressing if end-of-year testing is not required? End-of-year testing is only one way to assess progress. Keep in mind that test results are also influenced by social pressure and test anxiety, meaning that test results often underestimate a child's ability. You will be able to determine how your student is doing by being actively involved in their education as a homeschool parent. Remember, you are the teacher too. You will know what they know and you will know what they struggle with. Also by being actively involved in their education, you will learn more about your own student. You will learn how they learn and think about the world. These are things about your child that no test can ever tell you.
Does SSHA issue refunds?
All fees are per-student and payable at the time of enrollment/service. All fees are non-refundable. Payment must be received prior to receiving any services.
How are grades, attendance, and course plans submitted?
SSHA uses a reporting portal for all of this. You will receive information on how to set up your account once you enroll in SSHA. There is no additional fee to use the reporting portal as the fee is already included in your enrollment fee.
How much does it cost to attend SSHA?
SSHA is set up so that parents only pay for services they need. This helps keep costs low. You will pay a new or returning student enrollment fee at the beginning of the school year or upon enrollment. If you have a high school student any transfer credit verification fees will be paid upon enrollment. The enrollment fee is the only fee you will pay unless you request optional services or acquire a late fee for not submitting grades or attendance by the due dates. High school seniors may have additional fees based on services that are requested, such as Bright Futures processing. At the end of the senior year there is a request to graduate fee.
Can my student transfer to a public-school next year?
You can transfer to a different school at any time. We have never had any issues with students transferring to a different school. Usually, the new school will request records from SSHA and that is all they need. The new school may require testing for correct grade placement or course credit for high school students. Please check with the new school prior to transferring to make sure you know what they will require upon enrollment.
My student is currently attending a public school but we would like to enroll in SSHA now. What do I need to do?
You can enroll in SSHA by completing our new student enrollment form and submitting payment. You will then contact the public school and let them know you are withdrawing from the school. You will need to return any books, devices, or other materials that have been provided by the public school. Each public school is different so make sure you check with them regarding their requirements to withdraw your student. Sometimes schools will want a letter from SSHA verifying enrollment. If this is the case, please let me know so I can send one.
Where do I drop off my student for class?
You don’t. Remember, this is a homeschooling program. You, as the parent, are the teacher and are responsible for teaching your student. Curriculum, courses, classes, and devices for educational purposes are not included in your enrollment fee with SSHA.
Who will teach my student?
You will. You are the parent and take on the “teacher” role as a homeschooler. As the parent, you can hire private tutors or teachers if you like but this is not included in your enrollment with SSHA.
What is the difference between registering with an umbrella and registering as a homeschooler with my county?
When you register with the county you are considered a homeschool student and work with the state to homeschool your student. You will need to keep a portfolio, schedule, and reading log and then at the end of the year you will find a teacher to review your portfolio and sign the form “passing” your student to the next grade. When you register with an umbrella school, you are considered a private school student by law. You work with the umbrella school, not the state, to homeschool your student. Each umbrella school is different and likely has different requirements for their school.
Does SSHA participate in the FES (formerly Gardiner) scholarship?
SSHA, like other umbrella schools, is considered a homeschool option for scholarship purposes. We do not accept funds directly from FES. Instead, scholarship recipients can request reimbursement from FES. There are two organizations that manage scholarship funding, Step Up for Students (SUFS) and AAA. Each organization has their own process for review and approval of the scholarship. Both SUFS and AAA require a letter from SSHA verifying that your student is enrolled with SSHA.
What is the dual credit opportunity for high school students? High school students enrolled in SSHA can earn dual credit (college and high school credit) through our partnership with TEL Education and Jacksonville University.
Does SSHA participate in the Bright Futures Scholarship program?
Yes, we participate as a private school. More information about the requirements for the scholarship can be found on their website and the specifics for requirements from SSHA are provided upon enrollment.
Does SSHA participate in the dual enrollment college program?
Yes we do! Beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year, SSHA students can participate in the dual enrollment college program with Seminole State College and the University of South Florida. Please send SSHA an email if you have any questions or are ready to get started.
Can I enroll my student in SSHA and another school (or as a homeschooler in my county) at the same time?
No. You will need to select one school option for your student.
What about socialization?
This is up to each family. You should search for homeschool support groups in your area. Many times, in person meet ups and field trips are organized in those support groups. You are also welcome to join Sunshine State Homeschoolers, which is organized via Facebook. There you will find field trips, coop classes, social meet ups, clubs, parties, and dances for kids and annual teen dances. Any parent in the support group can organize events. Members of the group include families enrolled in SSHA as well as families who are enrolled with their county as homeschoolers or other umbrella schools.