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Howdy! I’m so excited. =) It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve participated in a 5-Day Hopscotch Series. (The Hopscotch, if you remember, is when all the participating bloggers write about one their own topic for five days.) I feel like I can safely add this to my plate right now, so I thought I would continue the Texas theme from my Back to School Gift Basket and talk about “Homeschooling in Texas” for the next five days.
Homeschooling in Texas is really quite simple! If you’ve been homeschooling here for a while, you’re probably thinking, “What’s there to tell?” But the truth is that this is one of the most asked questions my friends and I are asked. People have questions!
So whether you’re a homeschooler who’s new to Texas, or a Texan who is new to homeschooling, I’ve got what you need. (Answers that is.)
Here’s the plan:
- Monday: Laws and Requirements (this post)
- Tuesday: High School,Diplomas, and Transcripts–Oh my!
- Wednesday: Some of the best field trips in Texas
- Thursday: Teaching Texas History
- Friday: Resources and Helps for Homeschooling in Texas
I’ll link everything back here as it goes live. So let’s dig in!
5 Days of Homeschooling in Texas
Laws & Requirements
As I said, homeschooling in Texas is really very simple, but many people don’t know that. There are only a few laws and requirements that you do need to follow. Texas is very homeschool-friendly and allows the parents to be the authority over the homeschool without requiring any kind of government supervision. So what are the requirements?
Legal Requirements for Homeschooling in Texas
In 1987, the case of Leeper vs. Arlington ISD (Case No. 17-88761-85,) upheld the rights of parents to homeschool their children and not be found guilty of truancy. The ruling by Judge Murray stated that:
“A school-age child residing in the State of Texas who is being educated in a bona fide manner by the parents, or those standing in parental authority, in or through the child’s home using a curriculum, consisting of books, workbooks, other written materials, including that which appears on an electronic screen of either a computer or video tape monitor, or any combination of the preceding from either (1) a private or parochial school which exists apart from the child’s home or (2) which has been developed or obtained from any source, said curriculum designed to meet basic education goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship, is in attendance upon a private or parochial school within the meaning of Section 25.086(a)(1) of the Texas Education Code and exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance at a public school.”
In his decision, we find the only requirements given for homeschoolers in Texas.
- Being educated in a bona fide manner
- Using curriculum consisting of books, workbooks, other written materials, including electronic screens and videos
- Designed to meet the basic education goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and a study of good citizenship
“Well what about science??” you say. Well of course you’ll want to include that, too, as well as history and many other things–especially when we start talking about high school. But the freedom of not having science, or which area of science, specified for us means that it is entirely up to the parents (and kids) to decide which areas of science we’d like to learn about or further study. Whether we’re talking about little kids who are fascinated with rocks, dinosaurs, stars, and space, or whether we’re talking about older kids who are obsessed with engineering, robotics, and physics, the freedom is ours. (As an eclectic homeschooler, that makes me very happy!)
Homeschool Freedom as a Private School
One other little tidbit we gain from Judge Murray’s ruling is the classification of private school for the purpose of compulsory attendance. As a private school, we aren’t regulated by the state and we have the freedom to set our own curriculum plan/requirements. We’ll get into that more when we talk about high school diplomas, but for now, that’s the reason that we can choose what kind of science we want to study in what grade. This also means:
- No regulations
- No reports, no filing with the state or public school
- No minimum attendance days
- No testing
As long as we pursue tangible curriculum designed to meet the minimum language arts, math, and good citizenship requirements, we are in good standing with the state and the rest is up to us.
“But who keeps you accountable?”
This is the question everyone asks as soon as they find out how much freedom Texas homeschoolers have.
Who keeps you accountable? YOU DO!
I know why they ask, I get it. People are afraid kids are going to fall through the cracks, that kids will grow up without a good education. And you know what? I’m sure that happens. But truthfully, every homeschool mom I know is terrified at some point–terrified that they will fail to provide a good enough education for their kids. And that right there is what pushes us to keep going and do the best we can.
And the truth is that it is on US to hold ourselves accountable. The state may not require attendance but we can. The state may not have a minimum number of hours or days but we can. The state may not ask us to test but we can.
We can do whatever we feel we need to do to make sure our kids are getting a good education.
But the other side of the coin is this: We can do whatever unconventional thing we feel we need to do to make sure our kids are getting a good education.
- We can school year round.
- We can take extra field trips.
- We can take extra long holiday breaks.
- We can focus on interests.
- We can cater to learning styles.
- We can use online courses.
- We can follow curious rabbit trails.
- We can use whatever method we prefer: Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, Delight-Directed, Workbook, Textbook, Unschooling, Classical, etc.
So yes, in Texas, the freedom to homeschool is a big as the state itself. We must be responsible and accountable, but we are free to do so without any government interference at all. And I agree with the decision because I support parental rights, whether you’re talking about homeschooling, vaccines, or choice of doctor. As the parents, the right and the responsibility to raise our kids should rest on us and only us.
So thanks, Texas!! Thanks for making homeschooling so easy-peasy.
Do YOU have a question about homeschooling in Texas?
To see what everybody else is writing about, just HOP over to this page and then hopscotch your way around the topics as you please. Happy hopping!
Don’t forget that my Back to School Gift Basket Giveaway starts today! Stop by to enter a gift basket of “My Favorite Things, With a Texas Twist.” The giveaway ends Friday!