Homeschooling in Texas is popular because the state is both lenient on regulations and offers many resources for an at-home education. Despite this, homeschooling in Texas can still be intimidating due to the amount of information available and how challenging planning a homeschool curriculum can be.
Every parent deserves the right to feel confident in their child’s education, which is why it is so important to do adequate research before choosing to homeschool your children. There are countless resources online, including homeschool curriculum examples and homeschool support groups. Here we will break down some Texas homeschool laws, look at Texas homeschool graduation requirements, and offer ideas and resources to alleviate the stress of your homeschool journey.
How to Start Homeschooling in Texas
Texas makes it easy to begin the homeschooling process. The first step is to withdraw your child from their school. You must notify your child’s current school that they will be officially withdrawing from school and that you intend to homeschool them. This can be done by sending a letter of intent to withdraw to your child’s school, and must include the date you intent to begin homeschooling. Following your child’s official withdrawal, you should prepare a curriculum for the school year. Texas is lenient on what your homeschool curriculum must include, but the bare necessities of the program must consist of the following five courses: mathematics, English reading, spelling, and grammar, and good citizenship.
To properly follow Texas homeschooling laws, parents must genuinely attempt to educate their child. In addition, the curriculum must be visual, but the format of the visual curriculum is up to the parent. Popular choices generally include textbooks and online programs.
Texas does not have a minimum number of days required for homeschooling, so parents are allowed to choose the number of days their child will attend school. There are no other legal requirements for homeschooling in Texas.
Homeschool became legalized in 1994 with the Texas Supreme Court decision in Leeper v. Arlington ISD. With it, Texas allowed the right for parents to home educate their children and a large degree of freedom regarding their child’s education. One of the few requirements was that the parent give the child a “bona fide” education. According to Leeper, this means homeschooled children must utilize a written curriculum to teach the five required courses listed above. Homeschool classes can be lead by parents or others in parental authority, such as foster parents, step-parents, and grandparents.
What is Good Citizenship? And How to Teach It
While it is easy to teach your child math and English with the plentiful resources available, how do you teach good citizenship? According to the Texas Homeschool Coalition, good citizenship is about caring for both our neighbors and our environment, from our own homes all the way to the plant as a whole, as much as we care about ourselves. Essentially, it is teaching your child about civic duties and the government.
This standard, like many homeschool laws, is up for parental interpretation. Some parents celebrate federal holidays and give their children a government component to the curriculum. Learning about history, government, and holidays from conception to the present day is a great way to expand your child’s understanding of good citizenship. Highlighting history allows children to learn from others’ successes and failures. Regardless of what subjects you choose to teach this concept, teaching good citizenship should help your child foster love for their country and civic responsibilities.
Create Space for Your Child’s Education
Ideally, your child should have a designated “school space” in your home. This area will serve as the designated classroom so that they can easily focus on their learning. Cultivating the right environment is crucial for the success of homeschooling. Ensuring that most schoolwork happens in the designated area will help your child keep a routine about their schooling. It is also a great idea to involve your child in maintaining and decorating this space. This can help students feel more attuned with their education.
Homeschooling in Texas – Homeschool Planning
Homeschool planning can be stressful, but it is necessary for the success of your child’s education. Ideally, the curriculum and material for the year should be prepared before you begin homeschooling. This is to ensure that your child understands the goals and expectations for the school year. Luckily, there are many options and resources available for homeschoolers, so you should be able to find the curriculum that best fits you and your child.
Parents have full control of the curriculum for their child, minus the few Texas laws stated above. Some parents opt for a subject-based curriculum where students have lessons in pre-chosen subjects through learning platforms, while other parents will decide on a religious-based curriculum where school subjects are taught alongside their faith. And many homeschoolers also choose a completely virtual program done at the student’s pace. You do not have to stick to one program, so feel free to change accordingly to your and your child’s needs. If your child is older, involving them in choosing their homeschool program can help them feel more confident and in control of their education.
Reach Out to Homeschool Communities
If you are ever stumped on what your curriculum should look like or need tips on how to best proceed with your child’s education, reach out to homeschool communities! Many homeschooling parents who join homeschool communities can also make friends, receive homeschool ideas, and homeschool help. Texas law allows for plenty of creativity when it comes to planning your curriculum, and it can be helpful to brainstorm with other parents.
Graduation for Homeschool Students
Homeschools in Texas are treated as unaccredited private schools, so all homeschooled students are eligible for undergraduate admission. The state recognizes homeschool education as equivalent to public high school education. Texas colleges must treat homeschool graduates with the same standard procedures they do public high school graduates.
Set Goals and Expectations
Just like traditional school, homeschooling should be focused on enrichment and education. This can be done by setting goals and expectations with your child. How this discussion takes place will depend on your child’s learning style. Some students do better with vocal affirmation and reminders, while others prefer a printed syllabus accompanied by an explanation.
Setting goals and expectations in the beginning is important, as it shows your child the separation between their schooling and their home, despite their physical co-existence. It also allows students to give input on how the goals align with what they think is the right fit for them. Having this discussion is important to their educational autonomy and integrity.
Homeschooling in Texas – Support Your Child’s Education with Study.com
Study.com is a leader in online education resources and helps over 30 million students monthly. The site has nearly 2 million learning resources for students ranging from practice tests to worksheets to curriculum examples. Lessons are designed to help with better cognitive retention and absorption of the study material. The Study.com Homeschool Hub is specifically designed to help homeschoolers receive quality instruction and higher learning.
Homeschooling is about taking charge of your child’s education and ensuring they are being properly enriched and supported. Across the Study.com website and in the Homeschool Hub, you’ll find articles, tips, and tricks that are designed to assist homeschooling parents with their curriculum and classroom management.