Whether you are moving to Texas or have lived here your whole life, if you are thinking about homeschooling your child, here is your step by step guide to start homeschooling in Texas.
Step 1: Know your rights
Texas is very liberal when it comes to your rights as a parent. You have every freedom to educate your child how you see fit. There is no government oversight meaning you don’t have to prove up any records or track attendance or anything. You are entirely responsible for your child’s education if you choose to homeschool.
There are only three ‘requirements’ to homeschool in Texas and if you are genuinely planning on homeschooling your child, then meeting the requirements is no problem at all. Here’s the three requirements:
- Instruction must be bona fide
(basically you can’t just keep your kids home and let them run wild. You actually have to teach them something)
- Curriculum must be in visual form (basically you can’t just tell them all they need to know. You need to use books or video)
- Curriculum must include reading, spelling, grammar, math, and civics (basically teach them the stuff they need to know and how to be a virtuous member of society *and a proud Texan! 🙂
See? All the freedom and no government oversight. Ahhh don’t you just love Texas? Now if your child is currently enrolled in a Texas public school, you do need to withdraw them but that is it. Basically you gotta let them know not to expect to see your child anymore.
If you are moving to Texas from out of state, presumably you withdrew them from the school they were attending. There is no need to contact a Texas public school to inform them you will be homeschooling. You answer to no one!
The Texas Homeschool Coalition is basically the number one place to go for all the legal information you need on Texas homeschool laws. They even offer a template for withdrawing your child from a Texas public school if you don’t know what to say in your withdrawal notice.
Step 2: Understand Educational Methods
There are many educational methods out there and it can get pretty overwhelming, especially if you are just getting in to the homeschooling world. Quite honestly, you don’t need to know and understand them all in order to get started. Don’t let NOT knowing the educational methods prevent you from starting to homeschool. You are the parent and are completely capable of educating your child how you see fit. Whether that fits into a specific educational method or not is irrelevant. What works best for you and your children is the right way.
That being said, it is helpful to learn the different methods out there if only to discover and learn different ways of educating your child. Consider it professional development.
To be clear, you don’t have to research ALL the educational methods out there. You don’t even have to know a single one in order to start homeschooling. You could very well skip this step altogether and be just fine. Bu if you want to take your teaching abilities one step further, a good goal would be to research at least one educational method a semester.
In this way, as a new homeschooler, you have one less thing to worry about. Then, you can just jump in to homeschooling and do what naturally feels best while at the same time, researching homeschool methods until you find the one that fits what you like and how you have been schooling this whole time.
The main educational methods to research are:
- The Classical Method
- Charlotte Mason Method
- Montessori Method
- Unschooling Method
- School-at-Home Method
- Unit Studies
- Eclectic Education
For an overview of each method as well as great resources for further research, check out this awesome article.
Step 3: Purchase Curriculum
You know you have to at least teach the 5 basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, math, and civics based on the state requirements. So you are going to want to choose curriculum for each of those subjects. (Of course, you can add any additional subjects you want, those are just the minimum) Now this is where understanding the various educational methods might come in handy. It makes narrowing down your curriculum options much easier.
For example, if you have decided on the classical method, you will know that memorizing facts in each subject is a good place to start. Plus, you may want to stick with curriculum that is classically based. On the other hand, if you prefer unit studies, finding a curriculum that covers all the subjects with one main theme will be what you are looking for.
Additionally, some things you might want to consider when purchasing curriculum is:
- Is everything included in the curriculum
- Do I need extra materials
- Are there lesson plans and sample schedules
- Does it teach anything I don’t believe in/agree with
You don’t want to buy a book and realize you need extra materials you don’t have, or come to a lesson on evolution that you don’t believe in. Likewise, maybe you would rather have a sample schedule but it turns out the curriculum doesn’t come with one. Purchase the curriculum that best suits your needs and wants for each subject and then you are ready for the next step.
Step 4: Plan your year and begin!
Now that you are equipped with all the curriculum you need to homeschool your child, it’s time to plan out your school year. You can either follow along with the sample schedules that your curriculum came with (if it was included) or you can create your own.
To create your own, I will walk you through that process step by step in another post. So if you are ready to plan your homeschool year, head on over to this post to get started.
Once you have planned out your homeschool year, all that is left to do is start! That really is how you start homeschooling in Texas my friend. I hope this post conveyed how simple it is because I really don’t want you to feel overwhelmed or stressed out about it. To start homeschooling in Texas is super simple. If the only takeaway you got from this post is the state laws on homeschooling, then you are ready to homeschool your child.
Everything else will fall in to place and I have no doubt that you are fully capable of educating your child. Just dive in and trust God. He will take care of the rest.