Homeschooling laws can change, so be sure to check the Texas Department of Education website for updates.
If you are thinking about homeschooling in Texas, you will want to start with understanding the Texas homeschool laws. There are many resources available, but sometimes the amount of information can be overwhelming.
Here is some information to get you started:
Texas Education 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)).
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.
Texas Homeschool Policy
What happens if you are interested in enrolling in public school after homeschooling in Texas? While the state does not issue diplomas to homeschooled students, homeschooled students can return to public school at any time.
What do homeschooled students need to know about how to transfer from homeschool to public school in Texas? 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)).
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.
Homeschooled students are also 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).
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.