Homeschooling has become an excellent alternative for parents; lately, its popularity has increased in Texas. This rise in popularity might be due to having more control over what and how the kids will learn.
To start homeschooling in Texas, you will have to choose a curriculum and present it in writing, remember to teach the mandatory subjects and, of course, withdraw the kids from public school.
This article will provide all the information and complementary details and ideas you need to get started as a homeschooling parent.
Homeschooling Options In Texas
When discussing parents’ options, there is just one option in Texas. Homeschools are categorized as private schools in Texas. To be able to homeschool legally, you must meet the following requirements:
- Teach the mandatory subject
- Make sure to use a written curriculum
What to do if the public school contacts you regarding your child’s enrollment:
If a public school contacts you to inquire about your child’s enrollment status, you should respond with a letter informing the school that your children are lawfully schooled at home.
What About The Cost?
Though setting a budget for each school year per kid might be essential, you must spend no specific amount on the curriculum.
Homeschooling can be done for free, but it could be time-consuming. The whole curriculum is designed and implemented by parents; the only costs they will have to worry about would be the required supplies, such as pencils, pens, notebooks, printer paper, etc.
You might easily spend several thousand dollars if you decide to pay for tutoring or include non-essential extracurricular activities.
Choosing A Homeschool Curriculum
According to the Texas Supreme Court’s interpretation of the private school statute, you must employ some written curriculum (online programs fulfill this criterion), run your homeschool in a “bona fide” way, and include the five basic subjects.
Homeschool through a school or program.
You can enroll in homeschool programs that will give your curriculum, either all courses or just a few, with you picking the curriculum for the remaining topics. These can be done online or in person, and they typically have defined class days that you must adhere to for homework.
During the non-meeting days, you plan your calendar to ensure that the work for the following class and other subjects not covered by the program are completed.
Homeschooling on your own.
With this style, you have total control over the curriculum. You may purchase an all-in-one package that contains everything you will need for that grade level, or you can put together your own by deciding which curriculum is ideal for your student in each subject.
Online or textbook-based curriculum options are available. You, as the parent, are the instructor, and you decide on the homeschooling style, curriculum, and speed. Many homeschool providers that offer an all-in-one package will also allow you to pick and choose whatever subjects you want to use from their curriculum. Then hundreds of small and large businesses specialize in one or two areas.
A few well-known companies that work with homeschooling families are ABC Mouse, Adventure Academy, Khan Academy, Schoolhouse Teachers, Alpha Omega Publications, Supercharged Science, Code Advantage, and Abeka. Most companies will advertise a free trial for their programs, allowing the students and parents to explore the curriculum and see if it aligns with learning styles and objectives.
Curriculums can be found at:
- On the internet (for free)
- In your neighborhood library
- Booksellers and bookstores
- Book fairs for homeschoolers
- Booksellers on the internet (like Rainbow Resource or Timberdoodle)
- Homeschool conventions.
Besides the selected topics that you would like your kids to learn, Texas has mandatory subjects that need to be included in the curriculum; these are:
- A course about good citizenship
Record Keeping And Testing Requirements For Homeschooled Students
Keeping records provides your student with proof of their learning process for continuing their education, joining the military, or passing a background check for a job. It could also be helpful if you have questions about your homeschooling method.
Even though Texas statutes do not require recordkeeping for homeschooled students, it is recommended to keep filed the following records as they could be helpful:
- Records of attendance
- Schoolwork examples from the student
- Information about the textbooks and workbooks used by the student
- Correspondence with school authorities
- Portfolios and examination results
- Any additional documentation demonstrating that your child is receiving an excellent education in line with the law’s requirements
When talking about assessments and exams, the state of Texas does not demand to test private school students; many parents provide nationally normed achievement tests to their kids annually. Inquire with your homeschool group for assistance.
Homeschooling And Special Education Services
If you are homeschooling a child with special needs, you must follow your state’s homeschool rules. There are no additional considerations for homeschooling children with special needs.
Because homeschooling is permitted under Texas law as a “private school,” your homeschooled kid may be eligible for services paid for by both the federal IDEA program and the state.
Homeschooled Students And Public Schools Access
Since there is no legislation in Texas allowing homeschooled children to engage in public school classes and activities, it is up to individual schools and school districts to determine whether or not to allow homeschoolers to participate. Policies differ a lot from one district to the next.
Students interested in participating in public school classes or activities can inquire about their district’s policies by contacting their local school.
The main league, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), does not accept participation. Homeschool kids are banned from competing under UIL regulations and Texas Education Agency policy.
However, the Texas Musical Educators Association (TMEA) does allow homeschool participation as long as the homeschool student auditions in the same TMEA area as the student’s local ISD.
Texas 4-H encourages homeschool students to compete and does not demand anything additional from them.
The only legal criteria for graduating a homeschooled student in Texas, according to the Leeper decision, are:
- Run the homeschool in a bona fide way.
- Teach the mandatory subjects.
- Make sure to use a visual curriculum.
The parent has complete control over any additional graduation criteria as long as the student has met the requirements of the Leeper decisions. The student’s parents should create a transcript and a diploma for the kid and sign both documents.
Field Trips For Homeschooled Students.
With homeschooling, the schedule is flexible enough to fit more field trips; here are a few ideas on where to go:
- Amarillo Museum of Art
- Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center
- Heritage Farmstead Museum
- Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
- Frontiers of Flight Museum
- Southwest Dairy Museum and Education Center
- Texas Energy Museum
- Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
- Abilene Zoological Gardens
- Inner Space Cavern
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
- Imaginarium of South Texas
- Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center
- Sea Turtle, Inc.
- Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures
- American Wind Power Museum
- El Paso Museum of Archaeology
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park
- Museum of the Southwest
Starting to homeschool in Texas is simple and can be done by anyone; parents must comply with Texas’s homeschool legislation and provide a good curriculum.