In 1994 the Texas Supreme Court unanimously upheld lower court decisions that home schools, by law, are considered private schools. Private schools are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirements placed upon public school attendees. Private schools in Texas are not regulated or accredited by the state.
- Section 25.086(a)(1) of the Texas Education Code (Texas Statutes)
- 1987 Leeper vs Arlington ISD class action (PDF)
- 1994 Texas Supreme Court decision (PDF)
- White Paper on History of Homeschooling in Texas (Texas Home Educators)
- Texas Education Agency’s Home Schooling page
There are only three requirements to homeschool in Texas:
- The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
- The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
- The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.
There are no reporting agencies and no testing requirements for homeschoolers. The state of Texas does not regulate homeschoolers once they have been removed from the public school system.
IF YOUR CHILD HAS NEVER ATTENDED SCHOOL
- If your child has never attended public school you can simply keep them home and homeschool.
- You do not have to notify the school or sign the intent to homeschool if they have never been enrolled.
HOW TO WITHDRAW YOUR CHILD FROM PUBLIC SCHOOL
- BY MAIL (recommended): It is suggested that you send this certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof of their receipt of the letter. Texas Home Educators also suggests you send a copy to the registrar in case the principal forgets to notify them. They have a sample letter here.
- IN PERSON: Go to the school and tell the administrator that you will be withdrawing your child to homeschool him/her. You can physically deliver your letter (recommended) or sign the provided form (“Intent to Homeschool”, “Homeschool Assurance Statement”, or whatever the school titles it) This form may ask you what type of curriculum you intend to use. You DO NOT have to answer this question. You can leave it blank if you like. Or, if you want to put something there you can simply say you will be using an eclectic approach, utilizing many types of resources.
- Pay any library fines, return books that belong to the school, settle up cafeteria charges, etc.
- Should you have any issues from the school, you should contact an attorney or you can seek legal guidance from a homeschool group that provides legal representation.
- Enjoy homeschooling your child!
Many people who are exploring unschooling are afraid that the unschooling philosophy doesn’t meet the above requirements. Remember, that as long as your child is exposed to reading, spelling, grammar, math and good citizenship in any form he is being exposed to visual forms of media from which he CAN and WILL learn. When YOU as the parent begin to see all that he/she is learning you will be amazed that learning can happen in every day life.
How Do They Learn… ? offers more inspiration in recognizing everyday learning.
Meeting the Texas Homeschool Law Requirements is a summary of a presentation Sue Patterson gave at the 2015 Texas Unschoolers Conference.