“Every child is entitled to a public education, but the public schools are not entitled to every child.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry, April 2009, on homeschooling in Texas.
If there’s one thing we can say about Texas, it’s that Texans love their freedom and are passionate about their families! As a current or potential homeschooler, that is true about you as well. What greater way to combine those loves can there be than to homeschool your children? But are you aware of Texas homeschool requirements and how they can help — and potentially hurt — your family? Homeschooling is perfectly legal in the United States, but each state sets the rules and standards that must be followed by homeschoolers. Read on to learn all you need to know about Texas homeschooling and our suggestions for success.
“Freedom” is the word when it comes to Texas homeschooling, beginning with the fact that Texas does not require notification of intent to homeschool, or any registration process. This makes it difficult to count the number of homeschoolers, but estimates indicate roughly 350,000 students from 150,000 families are homeschooled across Texas, the leader among all of the states. And this number is growing. Why? Because Texas homeschooling has few barriers, and the community in the Lonestar State is one of the largest and most supportive.
With freedom comes diversity. There are many different flavors of Texas homeschooling, and it’s completely up to the parents as to how they choose to homeschool. However, there are a few requirements set down by the state of Texas that every homeschooling parent will want to be aware of to ensure you are complying with them and setting your child up for success. Here’s what you need to be aware of if you’re homeschooling in Texas.
Texas Homeschool Requirements
- Compulsory school attendance is required. Children must attend public or private school (homeschool is considered private school) from Age 6 – 19, until they graduate or earn a GED.
- Parents are considered teachers! “A parent or one standing in parental authority” may educate a child. There are no requirements, such as certification or curriculum approval. And rightly so! Because let’s face it, you know your child best and are the most committed to their success.
- You must teach 5 core subjects. These subjects are math, reading, spelling, grammar, and a course in good citizenship. However, common sense would dictate teaching science and history to meet college entry requirements.
- It’s important to use a “written curriculum.” Some form of written curriculum must be used. Good news: Online courses meet this requirement! Better news: Bridgeway Academy offers a full range of textbook, online, and Blended Learning courses!
Read more about the specific laws, and find links to important websites like the Texas Department of Education, on our Texas homeschooling state laws page.
How to Homeschool in Texas
- Get out there! Staying connected while homeschooling, whether you’re homeschooling in Texas or not, is critical. There is a ton of co-ops and local homeschooling organizations that can be your source for socialization, support, and community. Make use of them, along with your local YMCA, library, and civic organizations. If you have an athlete, you may be in luck! While currently there is no Texas law requiring schools to allow homeschoolers to participate in athletics, this may soon change. The Tim Tebow bill may add to the freedom of homeschooling in Texas. This bill would allow homeschoolers to participate in various extracurricular activities at their local public schools.
- Keep solid records. Although Texas homeschooling laws do not require it, we suggest you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. Laws can change at any time, and you’ll also want to have records indicating what your child has accomplished for college entrance. For guidance on how and what to record, or if you want the support of an expert, plus homeschool accreditation, read this.
- Attend a convention. Spring is the time when flowers and conventions pop up all over the country, Texas included. It’s a big state with big conventions that can include exhibits, speakers, workshops, curriculum, encouragement, fun, fellowship, parenting, special needs, etc. Here are a few to look forward to:
- Texas Home School Coalition Association
- Great Homeschool Conventions’ Texas Homeschool Convention
- Teach Them Diligently
- Texas Unschoolers
Homeschoolers in the Lone Star State needn’t feel alone! There are few regulations but plenty of resources to make homeschooling in Texas an experience of true “friendship.” (That’s the state motto, but who knows who knows it?)