If you’re living in the Lone Star State and are looking for an alternative to public or private school education, you’re in luck. Texas not only allows you to homeschool, but it’s one of the more lenient states as far as homeschooling rules and regulations, and is considered to be one of the most homeschool-friendly states in the US. In fact, according to the Texas Homeschool Coalition (THSC), Texas leads the nation in the number of homeschooling families! Based on THSC data, more than 750,000 students are taught at home in Texas.
Homeschooling exploded everywhere over the past couple of years as a result of COVID-related school closures and distance learning, but the numbers in Texas outpaced the nation’s increase in homeschooled students–between spring 2020 and fall 2020, the percentage of homeschoolers in Texas nearly tripled, from 4.5% to 12.3%! Diving deeper into the data, some notable growth occurred among Hispanic students (from 6.1% to 12.1%) and Black students (up to 13%).
So, if you’re looking to join the ever-growing ranks of homeschoolers in Texas, read on for some important rules and information you need to get started!
Requirements for Homeschooling in Texas
Fortunately for families, there simply aren’t many requirements that need to be satisfied in order to homeschool. In fact, there are really only three:
- Instruction must be legitimate (meaning, real education)
- Curriculum must be in visual form (books, workbooks, video, online)
- Five basic subjects must be taught:
- Good citizenship
- Science and history, while not required by the state, are highly recommended if your student plans on applying to college; most colleges will require these subjects be learned for admission
As far as testing is concerned…there are no requirements. Moreover, there really isn’t much in the way of regulation of homeschoolers once they’ve been removed from the Texas public school system. Additionally, there are no teacher qualifications necessary to educate your child at home, which is a common source of concern for new homeschooling parents and caregivers.
Like every other state, however, there are compulsory ages for children to attend school–in Texas, children must attend either public or private school (including homeschooling) between the ages of 6 and 18, until they graduate or earn their GED.
How to Remove Your Child from School
Before you begin homeschooling your child in Texas, you must withdraw him/her from their current public school system. There are a couple different ways to do so.
- By mail: This is the recommended approach. To do so, the Texas Homeschool Coalition has an easy-to-use withdrawal tool to help make the process seamless. First, go to their website here and fill out the form. Then check your email, which will provide instructions on how to send a letter to your child’s school. Send the letter, and your child has been officially withdrawn! Certified mail is suggested so you have proof of the school’s receipt of the letter. It’s also recommended that you send a copy of the letter to the Texas Home Educators registrar.
- In-person: If you prefer, you can also go to your child’s school and let the administrator know that you will be withdrawing your child with the purpose of homeschooling him/her. When you visit the school, you can deliver your letter of withdrawal in person or sign a form (usually called “Intent to Homeschool” or “Homeschool Assurance Statement”. According to Texas Unschoolers, these forms might contain a question asking you what type of curriculum you plan to use–you are not required to answer this.
Once you’ve withdrawn your child, it’s a good idea to settle up any debts you may owe to the school, such as library fees, overdue books, unpaid cafeteria payments, etc. And if, for any reason, you run into any unforeseen obstacles or issues from the school, contact an attorney or a group such as the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
If your child has yet to attend school, you don’t need to do a thing–just keep them home and start homeschooling!
Can You Still Access Public School Facilities and Activities?
This depends on each school district in Texas, as they decide individually whether to allow homeschooled students to participate in classes or extracurricular activities. If you are looking to have your child participate in your local public school’s classes, sports, clubs, and other activities, you should contact the school to ask about the district’s policy.
Is It Necessary to Keep Records?
No, it’s not legally necessary, but it’s definitely a good idea to do so–and to save them for a couple of years. Why? Because these records serve as proof of their education when it’s time to apply for college, pass a background check for a new job, or enter the military. What types of records should you keep?
- Textbook and workbook titles and information
- Attendance records
- Any correspondence with schools
- Portfolios and test results
- Schoolwork samples
- Any other documentation illustrating that your child is receiving a legitimate education (especially during the high school years)
And that’s all there is to it! Homeschooling in Texas is legal, growing, and welcomed, and if you’re planning on homeschooling in the Lone Star State, now is as good a time as any to start! As you continue to research homeschooling, call the experts at Bridgeway Academy at (800) 863-1474 to discuss your options, learn about our award-winning programs and curriculum, and enroll!