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Texas Homeschool Laws

Discussion in 'Laws & Regulations' started by TexMom, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. TexMom

    TexMom 25+ Posts Admin

  2. Melissa Cruz

    Melissa Cruz < 25 posts

    Hi, I have a 17 yr old that is really behind in High school. She had an atv accident at the beginning of her 2nd semester. She missed most of that semester due to a bad concussion, headaches, and short term memory loss. I am trying to understand how homeschooling works. How do I get started? How do they graduate with a diploma? How do we prove she's doing work? I looked at the link provided, but I am still a little lost. PLEASE HELP!!!!
  3. TexMom

    TexMom 25+ Posts Admin

    Hi Melissa!

    So sorry to hear about your daughter's accident! Hope she is recovering and feeling better soon.

    If you live in Texas and want to homeschool your daughter, simply go to the school and tell them you will be homeschooling this next year. You will be asked to sign an intent to homeschool form. They will also want to you to pay any outstanding library fines and return any books that she has used in school. Since it has been summer, she probably has already taken care of the fines and books. So sign the intent to homeschool and that is it as far as taking her out. I've heard that some schools ask what curricula you will be using but you DO NOT have to answer that question. Legally, they don't have a right to that information. Just leave that part blank if they ask it. If they verbally ask, tell them you are researching what will work for your daughter. And tell them you belong to a state wide support group who is helping you. (Texas Unschoolers).

    After that, I would suggest allowing your daughter to heal for a while. There really is no rush to get started on a curriculum if you are going to use one. There are lots and lots of ways to homeschool and finding a way that works best for you and your daughter should be your first step. But again, don't rush this! You may want to consider a bit of deschooling. You can read more about that here. I would suggest that you find what your daughter is interested in and let her do a lot of that during the deschooling phase. She may need to just rest and recover for a while though so I wouldn't push even that. Last year in school may have been very stressful for her if she wasn't feeling well and taking the pressure off of her right now would probably help her immensly.

    In Texas, there is no one that you will need to report to after you sign the intent to homeschool. There is no testing. You do NOT have to prove to anyone what she is doing. You can supply her with a transcript and a diploma whenever you feel that she is ready. There are many online resources that could help you with that.

    She could also start some classes at a community college if she likes at some point. A lot of people don't even need a high school diploma if they choose to go to community college. She can take classes for dual credit and get her associates degree, alleviating the need for a high school diploma.

    It all depends on what your daughter wants to do. Here is a link to writing a transcript and articles about homeschooling kids that go to college. But college is not for everyone. It would be valuable time spent to look at what your daughter wants to do. Every child is different and with homeschooling, we as parents get to help our kids reach whatever goals THEY have. And there is NO RUSH to do this. We don't have to adhere to what the state wants for our kids. That is the beauty of homeschooling. And there are so many ways to reach a goal. When you withdraw her from school, relax and just "be" for a while. And when she is ready, start researching whatever it is that she feels she wants to do next.

    Hope this helps! Good luck and please let me know if you have any further questions.
  4. Melissa Cruz

    Melissa Cruz < 25 posts

    Thank you so much! That was very helpful!
  5. Catherine

    Catherine < 25 posts

    Hi to you and your daughter. My introduction is on the Introduce Yourself page. I want to respond to your post for two reasons. One is I love to help people make educational transitions. Two, I also had a concussion (back in march of this year) and my heart goes out to your daughter. I'm glad you are asking the questions you are asking.
    Without knowing where she is at in her healing, I will just offer a few things that may or may not apply. I have been fortunate to be lead in a direction that has been very helpful, and I hear that this isn't common. Most important, I learned the hard way that this injury is one that really knocks a person down. We can't put a brace or crutch on our brains can we?! The symptoms are frustrating and the only way to improve is not put any "weight on it." Fatigue is there to make us rest. While progress is excruciatingly slow, we can actually set ourselves back if we push it.
    She is 17, and as a professional counselor I can vouch for the fact that the most important part of her development is self identity and friendships. Not curriculum at all!
    That being said, to piggy back on Michelle's wonderful advice, as you go forward in your transition, know this: While you are in charge, and hopefully partnering with her in this process, you have every right to count the following things toward her hours...
    - sleeping
    Every extra hour she sleeps, count it.
    - dr appointments
    Every hour spent in appointments
    - neurotherapy (under speech therapy - and covered by most insurance
    Definitely every hour spent in therapy, and in doing the homework associated with therapy
    - concussion and head injury support groups
    This has been VERY helpful for me
    - minimize time on devices
    Scrolling is totally exhausting. Dim the brightness. Take lots of time away from visual stimulation, and count those hours too! Use alternate forms of online "errands" like speaking on the phone old-school style.
    - be patient with self with mood, irritability, and low bull-crap tolerance

    Healing from a concussion is not done in two weeks as the check out papers from the emergency room and Dr. offices indicate. It may become a temporary lifestyle and takes A LOT of adjusting. She won't want to hear this right now. I sure didn't. I kept trying to go back to work too soon, and setting myself back. Our tendency as humans is to insist on knowing what is ahead. I have had to come to accept of the last couple of seasons that I simply don't know when I will be back to normal. Teenagers heal much more quickly though. What I wasn't told is that 95% of concussion victims hit their head again. (I was told this AFTER I bumped my head -- even though it wasn't very hard, it did set me back.)

    I encourage you both to COUNT the healing as her job for right now. See where this leads you both. Become familiar with the words, "I don't know." : ) Watch as that answer really freaks people out.

    Much warmth,
    TexDad likes this.
  6. Melissa Cruz

    Melissa Cruz < 25 posts

    Hello Catherine,
    Thank you for your thoughts and kind words. This has been a very tough few months. The ER DR tried sending her back to school the very next day. Said she was fine. I'm not a fan of ER DR's. The biggest obstacle has been her memory loss, and headaches. I try to make her rest, but she is a very hyper 17 yr old. She couldn't sit still if her life depended on it (no pun intended!). She already struggles from depression, and this has made it worse. She refuses to take her medication. I'm honestly at my wits end with her. She is 2 years behind in school. She hates school. She hates people.....mostly everyone. She doesn't have any friends. I've tried taking her to counseling but she said it doesn't help just going once a week, so she refused to go after about 5 sessions. As far as schooling goes, I hope I have the strength to get us both through this homeschooling stuff!

    TexDad likes this.
  7. TexMom

    TexMom 25+ Posts Admin

    Hi Melissa,

    I know this must be a tough time for you. I've been unschooling for 10 years. It has been my experience that when our family is going through a rough time, that that is the time to really let go. Let go of "worrying" about education, thoughts of getting behind, labeling things....etc. If your daughter doesn't want to rest, what does she want to do? Maybe she hates school and thinks she hates people because she has been under lots of stress at school. Can it be okay that she hates school and people right now? Maybe school is not for her. It's surely not for everyone and is I believe the reason that the unschooling community is growing every single year. And maybe she's been around people that are pushy and telling her everything that is wrong with her instead of building her up!

    Can you think in terms of her not being behind? Behind by who's standards? The schools? This is an area that you might really want to examine. In real life, there is no behind. Can you just allow her to have the rest of this year without the stress of feeling behind? Your daughter will do what she needs to do when she needs to do it. With your support, she will heal and she will learn. When you add stress on top of stress it equals even more stress...and depression.

    See if you can look at your daughter as a whole human being - lacking nothing. She is having the experiences she needs to have to grow and learn. Yes, sometimes those experiences don't feel pleasant. But they are growing pains and can lead to some really happy moments of self discovery and becoming who she really is rather than who everyone has been telling her she "should" be. If she can have a period of time where she is just left alone, allowed to be how she is in THIS moment, you'll most likely see her blossom.

    In our culture, everyone is running towards this magical age of 18. Like at 18 everyone is suppose to be "prepared" for life. It is a huge untruth. We are all learning all of the time. Your daughter is where she is. She will learn more and more as time goes by. She may not ever be good in say Math for instance. She may never really like reading a lot. Can that be okay? Does everyone have to be at the same level as everyone else. Maybe you could ponder that some and see what answers you get. I for one was never good in math. Consequently, I steered clear of any jobs that required advanced math. My gift was in reading and writing. And that's where I've put my focus.

    Perhaps you would like to read a bit about deschooling. Here is a link to an article about it.

    I think that you will find that your daughters healing will be accelerated if you can relax and really SEE your daughter as whole and well. Find her strengths! Find her gifts and talents. Allow her to spend as much time doing those things as possible. Don't make her rest if she doesn't want to. Just find what she enjoys doing and do it with her if you can.

    I hope this helps a bit. It is always difficult to examine these paradigm shifts, especially when your daughter was just injured. But if you can see this experience as a time of growth for your family, I think you'll see so many wonderful results.

    All the best to you...
  8. Rachel

    Rachel New Member

    Hello, my name is Rachel and I have a 10 year old son. When he was in kindergarten he was diagnosed as ADHD and Oppositional Defiant. He is having an extremely bad time in school, always has. His conduct is getting worse every year and this evening it's apparent his confidence is too. He's in a special needs class and he expressed to me through tears, that he feels dumb. I think it stems from being separate from the rest of the children his age. He can't walk home from school or ride the bus with the rest of the students. He wants to be included but as long as he's in public school, it's the schools decision as to when he can stop the special needs class. His conduct must also be stellar but I don't see it improving. He takes medication and I'm considering homeschooling. I'm wondering if anyone has a similar story and maybe some words of advice or wisdom. Thanks in advance
  9. TexMom

    TexMom 25+ Posts Admin

    Hi Rachel -

    I apologize that it has taken me a few days to respond.

    So many kids begin homeschooling after a scary experience at school. I am so sorry your son has had to go through this experience.

    It is my belief that not all children (in fact most children) do NOT fit into the mold that the school system wants and needs for children to fit into. It is my opinion that ADHD is grossly over diagnosed. It is a label that is put on children, in most cases, because the school system needs for children to sit still. Teachers have 20 to 30 students per classroom and must enforce some sort of "crowd control" in an effort to keep order.

    But most kids don't want to sit for 7-8 hours a day. "ADHD" kids just scream the loudest. They absolutely cannot sit still and why should they? Why should a child of 5 or heck, even 15 year old HAVE to sit still if they want to move? The human body was not designed to sit all day long. I am not a doctor, but I would venture to say that your son needs to move. The sooner he is able to do that the better it will be for his physical and mental health. I don't believe this will be allowed in the "normal" classroom setting.

    All kids are geniuses. The trick is to find out how your son learns. He may NEED to move to learn. If so, the environment that he is currently in will stifle that learning process.

    Of course, when a child is told either directly or indirectly through actions (putting him in special classes until he is able to sit still), that he is not smart and that there is something wrong with him, his self esteem will most definitely be injured. So many kids grow up feeling stupid simply because the school system was unable to accommodate their learning style. I would venture to say that your son is very gifted and is just feeling so out of control and like his core being is being questioned. Kids internalize these types of things and can go through their entire life feeling as though something is wrong with them.

    If you decide to homeschool, I would suggest that you go through a very long deschooling phase. This can be difficult when you have had the "school mindset" for a long time. Most of us adults went to public school and then our children have followed suit. Here is an article that you might want to read about deschooling. If you could just allow your son to enjoy his days, take him to parks, gymnastics, climbing walls, etc. and see what happens. Forget about the subjects that school teaches and just be with your son enjoying life for a while.

    I would also suggest that you really look deep for the gifts and interests your son has. Build on those gifts. Encourage your son to do the things he loves doing. If that's running, allow him that. If that's gaming on the computer, let him do that. Allow him to do the things that he loves and do them with him if you can. Living in this way can restore his confidence and self worth. He will find the things he is good at and then just get better at them.

    Our society really puts a lot of pressure on kids. They are kids! They are learning to navigate their world. They will not always act appropriately. They will not always be on the "best behavior" that our society expects from kids. But I do believe if we set an example and are patient and loving with our kids as they navigate new situations, they will learn to become loving, trusting and beautiful adults.

    Research. Research. Research. Perhaps that can be your job as you deschool. Read lots of articles and books about homeschooling and unschooling. Try to allow the old paradigm of fear melt away into something new. There really is nothing to fear. Our kids will grow up to be who they are. And if we allow them to discover what they have to bring forth in the world, they will be happy and confident. Here is a list of resources where you might like to start reading:


    You might also like to find a local homeschooling/unschooling group so that your son could meet some other kids. You might find friends too that are on this path. We have a list at the website here:

    Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like. I will do my best to continue watching this thread and get back with you more quickly.

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