Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Texas Department of Education website for updates.
Are you ready to start homeschooling in Texas? You may have many questions about topics like what you need to do to begin, what recordkeeping and testing is required, and how you need to interact with your local school district. You will want to start by understanding Texas homeschool law. You may feel overwhelmed as you start this process, but there are resources available and other homeschoolers who have already succeeded on this adventure!
Here is some information on Texas homeschool requirements to get you started:
Texas Homeschool Law
Laws regarding homeschooling in Texas are found in the Texas Education Law. According to the Texas Education Agency, the state agency that oversees public education, homeschooling in Texas has been a legal alternative to public schooling since 1994 when the Texas Supreme Court upheld the decision of a lower court in Leeper et al. v. Arlington ISD et al. This ruling allowed the same exemption to the compulsory attendance requirement that private school students enjoyed (Texas Education Code (TEC), §25.086(a)(1)).
What do I need to be eligible to be a homeschool parent?
There are no minimum qualifications for you to homeschool your child in Texas.
Do I need to notify the school district of my intent to homeschool my child?
For students who have never been enrolled in public school, no notification is necessary to begin homeschooling. You can just choose a curriculum and start homeschooling!
For students who are already enrolled in public school, switching from public school to homeschool status in Texas is simple. Parents simply need to submit a letter of withdrawal or signed withdrawal form to their school district stating that they intend to homeschool their child(ren) and the start date of homeschooling instruction. It is recommended that you begin homeschooling the next school day after sending this letter in order to avoid truancy charges.
According to state memo dated July 11, 2019, school districts may also require a letter of assurance stating that the homeschool curriculum “is designed to meet basic goals including reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and a study of good citizenship.” However, you can mail this letter; you do not need to come to any school office or submit curriculum for review.
Texas Homeschool Requirements
What are the requirements for homeschooling in Texas? Texas is a homeschool-friendly state in that there are basically no requirements. In fact, Texas is one of the 36 states in the US that has no parent qualifications for homeschooling. The state also does not regulate the number of days per year of instruction, nor does it require a minimum number of hours to homeschool each day. School districts have no authority to approve or not approve curricula used for homeschooling, and homeschool students in Texas are not required to take any standardized tests, including the STAAR tests.
However, the Leeper case did establish some guidelines for Texas homeschool curriculum requirements:
- Instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
- Curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
- Curriculum must include reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.
You should also begin homeschooling by age 6 and stay current with homeschooling laws and requirements.
Do I need to administer testing to my homeschooler?
No. There is no required standardized testing for homeschoolers in Texas.
Homeschooled students are eligible to participate in any PSAT/NQMST and Advanced Placement (AP) testing provided by school districts and must be notified via public notice along with any notification available to public school students (TEC §29.916).
What records do I need to keep when I homeschool my child?
Although there may be no required recordkeeping, we recommend you do some personal recordkeeping to provide verification of education in the event you would need to show some form of educational proof to the state or other legal entities or to prepare for re-entry into public school or postsecondary pathways. This includes the following:
- Immunization records
- Lists of texts and workbooks used
- Student schoolwork samples and/or portfolios
- Test and evaluation results
- Correspondence with school officials
You may also be able to find more information on Texas homeschool requirements through your local school district.
Other Texas Homeschool Policies
Once you make sure that you are following Texas homeschool law and meeting Texas homeschool requirements, here are some other things you need to know:
What if I want to re-enroll my child in public school after homeschooling?
Homeschooled students can return to public school at any time. In most cases, homeschooled students entering public school will have to take placement assessments so that the school district can determine appropriate coursework levels and award any credit. Alternatively, or along with the placement tests, the curriculum or work of homeschooled students may also be reviewed to establish credit. Homeschooled students should be treated like their peers who have attended unaccredited private schools (TEC, §74.26(a)(2)).
What are my child’s postsecondary options after homeschooling?
The state does not issue diplomas to homeschooled students. Successful completion of home school education is considered equivalent to graduation from high school in Texas, so postsecondary schools in Texas must apply the same standards for undergraduate admissions, including standardized test score requirements, as the standards for graduates from public schools.
As you help your homeschooler plan for life after high school, you may want to contact non-Texas colleges and universities, employers, branches of the military, or other post-secondary organizations regarding admissions and eligibility requirements.
If you want more information regarding Texas homeschool laws and Texas homeschooling in general, the Texas Education Agency also recommends visiting the websites for the Texas Homeschool Coalition and Texas Home Educators.
Connect With Local Homeschoolers
One thing you will want to do is connect with local homeschoolers from your state. They are the ones already dealing with the Texas homeschool requirements personally, so they can offer you advice on how to legally homeschool in Texas and offer suggestions for everything from choosing a curriculum to establishing a daily homeschool routine. Click the image below to Texas Homeschool Groups by county.