Here’s the basic information for homeschooling legally in Texas. As you will see, Texas is a homeschool-friendly state. The laws are simple and easy to follow.
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If I’m homeschooling in Texas, what do I have to teach to obey the law?
In order to be a legitimate home school in the state of Texas, you must teach:
- and good citizenship.
Additionally, you must pursue that curriculum in a bona fide manner, in other words honestly teaching your child and not just pretending or saying that you are. You can use a complete curriculum, gather from different sources, or develop your own curriculum. The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor). How you do this is up to you!
There’s no government oversight, mandatory testing, portfolio review, or the like. If your child has never been enrolled in a public school in Texas, you’re good to go!
If my child is currently enrolled in a school, how do I legally withdraw them?
If your child is enrolled in a private school, you should not have to do anything at all other than not return after the end of a semester or school year. Check your contract for penalties for withdrawing partway through a school year. (If withdrawing your child from the school is due to bullying or similar negative treatment, you probably have the right to refuse to pay any penalty in addition to being able to file charges against the perpetrators and any supervising teachers who allowed or facilitated the bullying.)
If your child is enrolled in a public school in Texas, you should write a letter to your child’s school principal officially withdrawing them from school. No, you are not legally required to contact the school district, but the chances are high that you will receive a visit from an attendance officer if you simply remove your child. Better safe than sorry! Send the letter certified mail with return receipt and keep copies of everything, including the return receipt.
No matter what school officials may tell you, you don’t have to show the school anything. It’s against the law in Texas for a school to require you to show them your curriculum, let them approve your curriculum, sign any commitment or recognition of their authority, or allow them to visit or enter your home. (Actually, if you have someone try any of this, call the Texas Home School Coalition right away and ask them what to do! You can reach THSC at 806-744-4441.)
If your child’s public school asks for anything, simply tell the school that you are teaching the required subjects in a bona fide manner. (See “What do I have to teach?” above.) Whether or not you use a canned curriculum, create your own, pick and choose, or even unschool is up to you as the parent. The public school system has no say in the matter.