Cheerful Heart Academy

A Non-Traditional Private School

header photo

Connect with

Cheerful Heart Academy!

 facebookicon  pinteresticon Click to email me

How is Compulsory School Attendance defined?

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)


Do you have a student at Cheerful Heart Academy? Are you thinking about enrolling a student at CHA? 

Please answer my quick survey - just a few questions - to help me serve you better! 

Thank you ~ Lynda 


Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment Questions

Question- 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.

Question- 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

Question- What is the yahoogroups webpage that you mentioned?

Answer- Upon enrollment, you will receive an email invitation to our private yahoo group. Only those enrolled with Cheerful Heart Academy will have access to it. It will be used to send reminders about attendance, special notices or information, and more. You are not required to be a part of the yahoo group, but it is strongly suggested. The webpage for the yahoo group will contain files for printable documents such as enrollment and attendance forms.

Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- Do you require a statement of faith?

Answer- No, Cheerful Heart Academy does not require a statement of faith.  



Recordkeeping, Tests, Curriculum

Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- 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).


Question- Does Cheerful Heart Academy provide or require certain curriculum to be used with my student?

Answer- No. You (the parent-teacher) will choose whatever curriculum works best for you and your student.

Question- Does Cheerful Heart Academy offer classes?

Answer- No, not at this time.

Question- 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.

Question- 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. 



Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- 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

Question- 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. 

Question- 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.

Question- 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.  

Question-  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!

Question- 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. 

Question- 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.

Question- 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.

Question- 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: Cheerful Heart Academy now offers a diploma to seniors who have completed all of the requirements - see our Extras page for details!

About "Umbrella" Schools

Question- 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.

Question- 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 AttendancePortfolio evaluation/testing can be stressful for some familiesAccountable to a person of your choosing (umbrella administrator) rather than government entityTuition/fees can be costly.
No registration feeCost of evaluation/testingNo need for portfolio evaluation or testing(unless required by particular umbrella180 days of attendance required
No proof of immunizations, health physical Possibility of portfolio inspection by school board (notice required).
Transcripts/diploma providedMust meet particular umbrella schools requirements, which can range from minimal to quite restrictive
No specific required subjectsCounty may attempt to invoke requirements beyond those provided for by state lawHelpful counselorsImmunizations/physicals often required.
Ability to participate in sports with area schoolsGovernment aware of what you are doingLower ACT/SAT score for Bright Futures Medallion ScholarshipMust have an articulation agreement in place with local college for dual enrollment to take place