According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), “Homeschooling may be the fastest-growing form of education in the United States (at 7% to 12% per year).” Many American families are realizing the amazing benefits of homeschooling their children.
It was estimated that 1.9 to 2.4 million students K-12 were home educated during the 2005-2006 school year in the United States, and many believe this number is very low. Although homeschooling may be thought of as “not mainstream” by some, it is, in reality, quite common and becoming more “mainstream” every day. Indeed, Home Education, in the purest sense of the term, has been around much longer than todays institutional education.
So, who homeschools? Parents that decide to homeschool represent a true “melting pot” of today’s society. “Homeschooling is quickly growing in popularity among minorities. About 15% of homeschool families are non-white/Anglo” and come from a variety of religious and educational backgrounds (cited by the NHERI).
Academics and MORE!
The academic rewards reaped through homeschooling are statistically clear. According to the NHERI, studies show that students who are home-educated usually score 15 to 30 percentile points higher than public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests, and almost always score above average on the SAT and ACT tests. Coupled with their strong study skills and an overall well-roundedness in their attitudes, manners, and focus, these high scores reflect a high level of academic mastery that colleges and universities have come to recognize resulting in them becoming considerably more active in recruiting Homeschooled students.
Through field trips, scouting, 4-H, community volunteer work, participation in political campaigns at all levels of government, interaction in local home school organizations, plus numerous other venues, students often are exposed to “social” opportunities far greater than what is offered by traditional institutionalized schooling, but with the added advantage of personalized attention for optimum academic growth at the pace that is right for the individual student.
In addition to the obvious scholastic benefits of Homeschooling for children, opportunities for their spiritual development under the leadership of their parents (or one who stands in parental authority) abound. This is true for both students and parents! Under each individual family’s love and guidance, the student is empowered with the personal care and flexibility not available in the typical institutional classroom setting. It is possible to establish, teach, and uphold Christ-centered values and curriculum in the home environment. Furthermore, most home educating families develop strong family bonds because of the quality time together that home educators enjoy.
According to a Texas Supreme Court decision made in June, 1994, Homeschooling is entirely legal in Texas (and in every other state-although laws vary dramatically) and parents who determine that Homeschooling is the best choice for their children and their family will be considered to be private school. Private schools in Texas are not regulated by any government entity. That’s great! HOWEVER, that also means that “the buck stops with Mom and Dad”. You have the RIGHT to Homeschool ... and you have the RESPONSIBILITY to make it happen so that your child is prepared as best as they can be for whatever life's work God may call them to.
So that you will know exactly where you stand legally in Texas if you decide to Homeschool, review and print for keeping in your permanent Homeschool file a copy of the Texas Law that applies to Homeschooling in Texas. Should you have any further questions concerning it, call our office at 972-772-0082 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are You Ready to Get Started? Consider These Steps:
STEP 1: PROPERLY WITHDRAWING YOUR CHILD FROM AN INSTITUTIONAL (public) SCHOOL
If your child is not currently enrolled in a Texas public school (due to age or because your family has recently moved to Texas) or if the child has been attending a private school, you are not required to take any actions before you begin homeschooling. If your child has never attended a public school, you are not required to register them, nor are you required to notify your school district that you intend to homeschool.
If your child is currently enrolled in a public school and you intend to homeschool the child, it will be necessary for you to withdraw your child from the school he or she attends. You can withdraw your child at any time during the calendar year. There is no official form required by the State of Texas to withdraw your children from public school.
We have developed a "Letter of Assurance and Intent to Homeschool” that you can use to withdraw your children from public school. This letter will serve as your official notice to the school administration that you are withdrawing your child from their school. This letter provides assurance to your public school that you will be homeschooling according to the requirements set forth by law.
When withdrawing, some school officials may ask you to submit a curriculum, lesson plans, tests, etc. before you withdraw your child from public school. Legally, you are not required to do so. As long as you return all materials that belong to the school and give them the Letter of Assurance and Intent to Homeschool, the school must officially withdraw your child from their school.
When delivering the letter, you will need to go to the school and return any school property in your child’s possession (textbooks, sports equipment, musical instruments, library books, etc.). Take these items and the letter to the school office to officially withdraw. The school administration may ask you to sign forms they have created specifically for their school, but you are not required to do. Again, there is no State of Texas authorized form for withdrawing your student and registering as a Homeschool parent.
If your child has no school property in his or her possession, you can mail your Letter of Assurance and Intent to Homeschool to the school office. If you choose to mail the letter, we suggest you send it via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to the principal or to your student’s counselor.
Note that your Letter of Assurance and Intent to Homeschool requests the school your child has been attending to provide all of your child’s school records, including all medical as well as academic records.
The Texas Open Records Act (TORA) requires that records of your student be considered private information (Chapter 552.026). However, TORA also specifically entitles you (i.e. parent, grandparent, or legal guardian of the student) to have access to ALL of the records pertaining to that student (Chapter 552.023).
Should you encounter difficulty during the process of withdrawing your student from a public school, we will help you in every way that we can. If you have additional questions about withdrawing your student from public school, Contact Us.
STEP 2: ATTEND OUR HOME EDUCATION CONFERENCES
NTHEN’s Conferences and Bookfairs offer exciting opportunities for homeschool parents and students to come together and learn, network, share ideas, and explore the latest educational tools, products, and services.
Our events provide educational seminars, keynote speakers, exhibits, and products available for purchase. Exhibitors include both locally and nationally acclaimed educational development companies, booksellers, subject-specific curricula companies, educational software, and online teaching companies.
Our exhibitors offer cutting-edge services and products to meet the ever-changing needs of the home educating community. And they include many companies owned and operated by homeschool families who offer products and/or services that have met the test of time.
Our Homeschooling Conferences provide an invaluable learning experience for both current and prospective homeschool students and teachers. Friends are made, existing relationships are nourished, and the sharing of ideas and services is a benefit to all who attend.
STEP 3: SETTING UP YOUR CURRICULUM
Choosing a curriculum is part of the foundation of your child’s academic future. No, it’s not THE most important step, but, after all, we are preparing our children for whatever lifes’ work God will call them to do. Your curriculum should support your plan and purpose for home educating. While there is great flexibility in the details, goals should be determined and known by parents and students alike. Establishing reasonable benchmarks and deadlines can also be helpful tools that can be of assistance in the full development of the student. For help in assessing curriculum options Click Here to Learn More.
STEP 4: JOIN ONE (or more) LOCAL SUPPORT GROUPS
Getting and staying involved with your local homeschooling community is one vehicle for providing social development and interaction with others for the student. Finding and joining a local Homeschooling support group affords parents, grandparents, or others (the teachers), opportunities to share and learn from each other, and to participate in various activities and field trips. It serves to provide a basic support network of like-minded people committed to moral and academic excellence.
However, all support groups are NOT alike! Indeed, they can be as different as daylight is from dark. Therefore, parents need to do their “due diligence” on each support group they are considering joining.
As a word of reminder, don’t join a local or regional or state support group just for the sake of joining it. Join with the purpose of giving back to that organization in whatever ways God has gifted you to do so. Most of these organizations NEED your fresh thinking, energy, and your vision. Give back all that you can. For help in locating local Support Groups in your area, click the square button on the top-left of this page.
Our prayer is that God will bless, and keep, and guide you in the days ahead.