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Homeschooling in Texas
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I am not a native Texan, but as the saying goes, I got here as fast as I could. As a family, we have been blessed to spend the past ten years of our homeschooling adventure in one of the nation's most homeschool-friendly states. It is estimated that Texas leads the United States with over one-hundred-fifty thousand homeschooling families.





A History of Homeschooling in Texas

This has not always been the case. The freedoms we enjoy today are the result of a series of hard-fought legal battles. In the early 1980s, the Texas Attorney General publicly stated that he did not believe parents were qualified to raise their children, much less teach them at home. In 1981, homeschooling was banned by the Texas Education Agency, and many Texas homeschooling families were either prosecuted or lived in fear of fines, prosecution, or jail time for educating their children at home.

The freedoms we enjoy as homeschoolers in Texas are the result of the Leeper v. Arlington ISD decision, a court battle that lasted almost ten years. The state appealed the lower court decisions in favor of homeschooling on two different occasions. In both instances, the decisions were upheld, and the courts again ruled in favor of homeschooling. Finally, on June 9, 1994, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously upheld the previous rulings that parents were entirely within their rights to educate their children at home. 

This case set a precedent for homeschooling families here in Texas and across the nation. Leeper v. Arlington ISD's decision was one of the first published court decisions on homeschooling, stopping the prosecution of homeschooling families in other states. In 2015, June 9 was declared "Leeper Day," by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, to commemorate this hard-fought victory. 

 

Texas Homeschool Requirements 

From ages 6 to 18, children in Texas must attend school (this includes homeschooling) until they graduate or get a GED. If your child has already been enrolled in school for transitional/pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, or 1st grade, before age 6, then the child must continue going to school for that academic year.

 

If your child has never attended a public or private school, you are not legally required to register with your local school district or receive their permission to homeschool. But, if your child is already enrolled in or attending school, the Texas Education Agency requires you to withdraw your child and specify the date that you will begin homeschooling. (The Texas Home School Coalition and the Home School Legal Defense Association offer legal advice and sample withdrawal letters to help withdraw your child from public school.)

 

In Texas, homeschools are considered private schools, and therefore are exempt from compulsory attendance laws. Homeschools are not regulated and do not require a certified teacher or third-party curriculum approval. 

The only requirements for homeschooling legally in Texas are:

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., good faith, not a sham or subterfuge)
  • The curriculum must be in visual form, consisting of books, workbooks, or other written materials. Online or video programs also meet this requirement.
  • The required subjects of Math, Reading, Spelling, Grammar, and Good Citizenship must be taught. (Science and History are not required by state law, but because most colleges do require them for admission, it would be wise to include them in your lesson plans as well.)




Homeschooling Resources

In addition to advocating for and protecting homeschoolers' freedoms nationwide, joining the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) will give you access to legal information, resources, and representation.

The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) has been at the forefront of the fight for Texas homeschool families' rights and freedoms from the beginning. They host the annual Called to Teach Conventions, where you can be equipped and encouraged for the school year ahead.

 

Texas Field Trip Ideas 

Texas is a state rich in history, culture, food, music, and ethnic and geographical diversity. The big cities, small towns, and wide, open spaces each offer unique homeschool field trips.

 

Texas History

Initially, Texas was home to several Native American tribes. Over the years, six different nations (Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, The United States of America, and the Confederate States of America) have had control over Texas's current state.

 

Check out these landmarks for a look at some significant moments in Texas History:

  • The Alamo – For 13 days, a small group of Texans (including James Bowie and Davy Crockett) fought General Santa Anna's forces at the Battle of the Alamo. 
  • Barrington Living History Farm – Explore Texas history at the home of the last president of the Republic of Texas, Anson Jones. Barrington Plantation was the Jones family home and offers visitors a peek inside life on a cotton plantation in the 1850s. 



This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Texas Government

  • Texas State Capitol – The Texas State Capitol is open to guided and self-guided tours throughout the year, with specialty (themed) tours available and various times. Or join THSC's Capitol Days for an opportunity to learn about our state government, meet Texas representatives, and lobby the Texas legislature on current issues of importance to homeschoolers and families.
  • Texas Governor's Mansion is the fourth oldest continuously occupied governor's residence in the country and the oldest governor's mansion west of the Mississippi River.
  • Texas is also home to three Presidential Libraries: 

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

LBJ Presidential Library

 

Industry

  • Space Center Houston (NASA) – Space Center Houston is the Official Visitor Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center. It houses the world's most extensive collection of moon rocks and lunar samples for public viewing and is known worldwide as the home of NASA Mission Control and astronaut training.
  • Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum – Learn about the discovery of oil at the Spindletop oilfield and its impact on the Texas economy.
  • Fort Worth Stockyards – The Fort Worth Herd is the world's only twice-daily cattle drive. Watch as real Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down East Exchange Avenue.

 

National Parks and Historic Sites

Do you have a 4th Grader? Be sure to check out Every Kid Outdoors. This program offers 4th Graders (and their families) free access to national parks and historical sites!

 

Or visit one of the many State Parks and explore Texas's natural beauty and geographical diversity.

 

Food 

In Texas, "food is love." It is a long-running joke that Texas's four major food groups are barbeque, Tex-Mex, hamburgers, and anything fried. But, thanks to the influence of many different ethnic groups and cultures (including African-American, German, Czech, Polish, and Mexican), Texas food is much more diverse and international in flavor. For some fun food-inspired field trips, check out some iconic Texas treats at the Blue Bell Creameries or the Dr. Pepper Museum!





Art

Texas is home to many artistic offerings from the serious, classical art museums to the weird and whimsical installation pieces.

 

Music

Like Texas's cuisine, the diverse population and different cultures have left their mark on Texas music. Many Texas cities and regions are home to world-class symphonies, opera companies, and play host to various traveling musical artists and performances. 





Many homeschool or community-based musical education groups offer students opportunities to develop instrumental, vocal, or choral skills.

Christian Youth Band of Austin – An instrumental, concert band program designed to provide a quality and fun concert band experience to 

  • Homeschool and private school students in the greater Austin area.
  • Heaven Sent Choirs – Offering Houston area homeschooled students a solid education in music appreciation, theory, sight-singing, vocal technique, and performance.
  • Hill Country Youth Orchestra – Sharing the love and joy of music through quality instruction, concert performances, and community service. 
  • Instruments of Praise – A homeschool band, string orchestra, and full-honor orchestra serve homeschool families in the Greater Houston area.
  • Joyful Sound! Choir and Performing Arts – Offers Choirs and Show Choirs for homeschooling families in the Greater Houston area, regardless of previous singing or dance experience, and provides optional opportunities for interested singers to compete throughout the year.
  • Lux Venit Choral Academy – A choral music program serves Tarrant County homeschool students, emphasizing music concepts and singing skills.
  • North Texas Homeschool Marching Band – The North Texas Homeschool Marching Band is a nonprofit organization that welcomes students grades 5-12 that want to make band a part of their educational experience.
  • Northeast Texas Academy of Fine Arts – Offering Homeschool Band, Chorus, Drama, and Art instruction to Rockwall, Hunt, Collin, and Kauffman counties.

 

Do you still have questions?

Consider joining a local Homeschool Group or Co-op where you can connect with other families for fellowship, encouragement, academic support, science fairs, labs, or extracurricular activities.

And find a HomeWorks by Precept Consultant in your state. A HomeWorks Consultant is a fellow homeschool mom who will be a friend to encourage you, pray with you, and walk alongside you in this journey. 

 

The Texas State Motto is "Friendship." The name Texas is derived from the Spanish pronunciation of the Caddo Indian word for "friend." So, it is quite fitting that Texas is known as one of the most homeschool-friendly states in the nation! You can do this!





Meet the Author


Veronica Whitley - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant
www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Veronica-Whitley


 

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