How do I enroll my child in Cheerful Heart Academy?Answer
Enrollment requirements are found under the 'Enrollment' link on the Registrations page. In short, you will need to send the enrollment form, the health form, the immunization form, the birth certificate, and payment of $25 for the first child; $15 for each additional child to Cheerful Heart Academy.
I do not have regular access to the internet and prefer to do everything by 'snail' mail. Can I do that with Cheerful Heart Academy?Answer
YES! The requirements are the same, but everything can certainly be done by mail. The address is: Cheerful Heart Academy, 581 18th ST SE, Naples, FL 34117
Does my student need to be registered with the county/state if he or she is enrolled in a private school such as Cheerful Heart Academy?Answer
When you enroll your student in Cheerful Heart Academy or any private school, you do not need to register him or her with the Home Education program through your county. Registering with the county as a home education student and registering with a private school is not statutory. If your county requests it, please follow up with them concerning the law.
What if my child is already registered with the county under the home education program?Answer
If a student enrolls with a private school, the parent or guardian must file a ''Notice of Termination'' with the superintendent's office within 30 days of said enrollment. Here is a list of public school district superintendent's contact information. The ''Notice of Termination'' should include the same student information as the ''Notice of Intent.'' You can tell them where you plan to enroll, or if you are moving out of state, but it is not required by law. As with all official correspondence, it is always a good idea to make a copy for your file and send the notice via certified mail, return receipt requested to guarantee delivery.
Who do I need to tell that I've enrolled my child with Cheerful Heart Academy?Answer
You do not have to notify anyone of your decision to enroll your child with CHA unless he or she is already enrolled somewhere else. If your child is currently enrolled in a public school, then you MUST formally withdraw him or her from that school. The front desk should have a form for you to fill out. When they ask where you are transferring your child, you can tell them that you are transferring him or her to a private school. It's up to you if you want to give them the name of the school.
If your child is enrolled in another private school, you should inform them of your decision to withdraw from that school.
If you want your child's records from their previous school, ask for them. If they need an official request, just let me know and I will send one on your behalf.
If your child is homeschooling under the county's supervision, then you will need to send a Letter of Termination of Home Education Program to the county superintendent's office. Please be sure to only send the notification after you've confirmed enrollment in Cheerful Heart Academy.
Can I enroll in a school that is not in my County?Answer
Yes, you can enroll in any private school registered with the Florida Department of Education. Cheerful Heart Academy is registered in Collier County if you are looking on the DOE website and our DOE number is 5844.
Do you accept the Step Up Scholarship? I found Cheerful Heart Academy on the DOE's website, so you must, right?Answer
The short answer is no, CHA does not accept the Step Up Scholarship. Cheerful Heart Academy is on the DOE's website as a private school that is available to all children. To find the private schools that accept the scholarship, you must click on those filters (the one on the far left that says "All Schools" is NOT for the scholarships, it is truly all of the schools in that county).
Now, for the longer answer. I do have some students in CHA that do have the scholarship. I provide a letter for them each year when the parent asks for it that basically says that they are home educated students of Cheerful Heart Academy, what grade they are in, and that they are in good standing. It's a form letter that I've used throughout the past several years and it has worked well. Every so often, something will change and we will have to tweak the letter to add something, but as of right now, it is still working.
Do you require a statement of faith?Answer
No, Cheerful Heart Academy does not require a statement of faith.
Record Keeping, Tests, & Curriculum
Does being a member of a private school (that offers a homeschooling option) take the place of the record keeping and testing requirements required of homeschooler by the county/state?Answer
Registering with a private school is a valid alternative for homeschoolers who choose not to register with the home education state statutes. Those registered in a private school must meet the requirements of that private school within the law. Cheerful Heart Academy does not require a particular method of record keeping or testing. However, we encourage all families to document learning activities in some form. Portfolios are a great way to document your child's progress and accomplishments. These portfolios will not only serve as a scrapbook of your child's work, they can also be invaluable in later years when apply to colleges or seeking job positions.
Will my child need to take the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test)?Answer
Florida does not require private school students to take the FCAT. While enrolled with Cheerful Heart Academy, your student will not be required to take the FCAT.
Who will be teaching my student, and where is the instruction given?Answer
You (the parent-teacher) will be giving instruction to your student in your home (the classroom).
Does Cheerful Heart Academy provide or require certain curriculum to be used with myAnswer
No. You (the parent-teacher) will choose whatever curriculum works best for you and your student.
Does Cheerful Heart Academy offer classes?Answer
No, not at this time.
Can my child take classes through Florida Virtual School?Answer
Yes! Cheerful Heart Academy has signed an affiliation agreement with Florida Virtual School. Students may take up to 6 classes at a time. If your student wants to use FLVS, please contact Cheerful Heart Academy for special instructions for signing up.
If I sign up with Cheerful Heart Academy, am I automatically signed up with Florida Virtual School?Answer
No, Cheerful Heart Academy and Florida Virtual School are two separate entities who have an articulation agreement. Signing up with one does not automatically make you a student in the other.
Are we required to teach a certain number of days per year?Answer
Cheerful Heart Academy believes that parents should have the freedom to determine their own school calendar however, at a minimum, each student must accumulate 180 days of attendance per school year. Florida Statutes require that all students attend school for a minimum of 180 days per year.
How is Compulsory School Attendance defined?Answer
Florida Law (Section 1003.21, Florida Statutes) states that all children who are either six years of age, who will be six years old by February 1 of any school year, or who are older than six years of age but who have not attained the age of 16 years, must attend school regularly during the entire school term. A student who attains the age of 16 years during the school year is not subject to compulsory attendance beyond the date of which the student attains that age if he/she files a formal declaration of intent to terminate school enrollment with the school district.
(taken from the Florida DOE website)
How often does attendance need to be submitted?Answer
Cheerful Heart Academy requires attendance to be submitted at least once per year on or before your renewal date, but will accept it quarterly if that works better for you. You can find the online form on the Attendance page. Other options are located in the sidebars on that page as well.
Do we need to teach a certain number of hours per day?Answer
Cheerful Heart Academy does not require a record of a certain number of hours per day. The hours per day for your child will depend on the grade level, individual needs of the student, and the curriculum used. You can find the Florida Statutes information pertaining to hours per week on the Attendance page.
What if my child is enrolled in the middle of the school year?Answer
Cheerful Heart Academy accepts enrollment throughout the year. If a student is enrolled mid-year, they have one year beginning on the date of enrollment to complete the required minimum of 180 days of attendance.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Do you sell my child's (or my) information to mailing lists? Will I suddenly be getting a lot of spam mail or email from curriculum vendors?Answer
No. Your information, and your child's information, goes no further than this office unless you ask me to share it with a school for a record request. If there were to be a time that I would need to share your information, I would contact you first.
Do I have to submit something to Cheerful Heart Academy so that my child can be promoted to the next grade?Answer
No. You as the parent decide what grade level to teach and how you will promote. Some homeschoolers do not use grade levels or promotions.
What happens if I decide to enroll my child back into public school?Answer
If you were to enroll them in a public school in the future, you would have to submit to the enrollment requirements of the state. Most often a child will be put in an age appropriate level. You can read more about this here on the DOE's website.
If my child will not receive a diploma, how will he go to college?Answer
Students may apply directly to the college or University of their choice with a signed affidavit attesting that the student has completed a home-education program. Students will be required to take placement tests or submit an SAT or ACT score. Please contact your desired college or University for more information, as each institution may have additional requirements. UPDATE: Cheerful Heart Academy now offers a diploma to seniors who have completed all of the requirements - see our Extras page for details!
Can my high school age student participate in public school "extra-curricular" activities?Answer
In some Florida districts it is easy to enroll in extra-curricular activities. Some middle schools also allow this. However, each school, and school district has been known to set their own policy. The best thing to do is ask your assigned school or district about the procedures. It has been argued that the Florida statutes allow all students in private schools or those registered with the state's home education program to participate.
Do you accept the McKay scholarship, or any other funding?Answer
No. We believe that the parent should have direct input as to what and how their student is to be educated. If we accepted this scholarship, or any other state funding, our teachers (the parents) would be required to follow the guidelines set forth within these scholarships. It is our belief that such requirements hinders the progress of some students and does not give parents the freedom to direct according to their beliefs or personal knowledge of their student.
Are you an accredited school?Answer
No. In order to the keep the cost of tuition low, we have opted not to become an accredited school. Cheerful Heart Academy is currently registered with the Florida Department of Education as a private school.
Does Cheerful Heart Academy issue diplomas or transcripts?Answer
Again, in order to keep our fees low, Cheerful Heart Academy does not issue diplomas or transcripts. We do, however, provide record maintenance and will provide a 'letter of good standing' upon request.
UPDATE: I have been helping CHA Seniors with their transcripts for several years now as a ministry and have recently begun to put together report cards here and there as well. Because of the amount of students that have this need, I have put together a worksheet that allows you to get the information I need to me so that I can begin to build the report card or transcript. These things do take time and will not be done overnight in most cases.
Cheerful Heart Academy now offers a diploma to seniors who have completed all of the requirements - see our Store for details!
About "Umbrella" Schools
What does the term ''600 school'' or "umbrella school" mean?Answer
Many private schools serving homeschoolers call themselves ''600'' or ''umbrella'' schools. The fact is that they are non-public schools just the same as every other non-public school in Florida. The ''600" refers to the statute numbers that some schools choose to incorporate under. It is not required to incorporate to be a non-public school.
What is the difference between enrolling with Cheerful Heart Academy and registering with the county as a home education student?Answer
Cheerful Heart Academy is a private school. Therefore, its students are not bound by Florida homeschooling laws. Cheerful Heart Academy provides an 'umbrella' to its members in all counties in the state of Florida. While its students are taught at home, they are students of Cheerful Heart Academy and are not required to register with the county in which they live nor meet the requirements of the state of Florida.
|County Pros||County Cons||Umbrella Pros:||Umbrella Cons|
|No Requirement for Attendance||Portfolio evaluation/testing can be stressful for some families||Accountable to a person of your choosing (umbrella administrator) rather than government entity||Tuition/fees can be costly depending on the school|
|No registration fee||Cost of evaluation/testing||No need for portfolio evaluation or testing(unless required by particular umbrella||180 days of attendance required|
|No proof of immunizations, health physical||Possibility of portfolio inspection by school board (notice required).||Transcripts/diploma provided||Must meet particular umbrella schools requirements, which can range from minimal to quite restrictive|
|No specific required subjects||County may attempt to invoke requirements beyond those provided for by state law||Helpful counselors||Immunizations/physicals often required.|
|Ability to participate in sports with area schools||Government aware of what you are doing||Tuition/fees can be inexpensive depending on the school||Must have an articulation agreement in place with local college for dual enrollment to take place|