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Do my kids have to go to school while in Florida?

As a parent in Florida, you're responsible for getting your child the education he or she needs. To meet your child's education requirements, you need to understand the education laws in the state and how long your child is required to have a formal education.

To start with, every state in the U.S. requires children to receive a formal education at home, a private school, a public school, or through another arrangement. In Florida, compulsory education laws require children to go to school when they're as young as six and as old as 16; some children may be able to graduate early in certain circumstances.

If your child isn't enrolled in school, then you're breaking the law. You'll need to enroll your child into school, or you could face criminal prosecution. The Florida superintendent has the power to pursue criminal charges against parents who refuse to enroll their children in school.

If you decide to home school your child, then you need to notify the superintendent of the school system. You need to keep records of the courses your child has been educated with, and you will need to have your child take a national student achievement test as required for evaluation.

Your child may be able to leave school early in some cases. For instance, if he or she works, then a work release could allow your child to work a job outside school during the school day. If your child is over 16 and wants to leave school before graduating, then a declaration to terminate school enrollment needs to be filed and an exit interview will have to be performed.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Compulsory Education Laws," accessed Aug. 27, 2015

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