Texas Christian Alliance
Supporting Home Education

Ministering in Christ's name to Texas homeschoolers...


Frequently Asked Questions

Unfortunately, it is not possible to exhaustively discuss all of your questions nor answer them in ways which will be completely satisfactory. If, after you review the following, you have more questions or need more detailed answers, please contact either TCASHE, HSLDA, or your regional support organizations. We would be happy to discuss these topics further. Also, we will be able to provide you with publications which elaborate on the questions more fully.

  1. What exactly is homeschooling?
  2. Is homeschooling really legal?
  3. Is homeschooling something new?
  4. Does homeschooling really work?
  5. Does 'how my child is educated' really matter?
  6. What if I, as the parent, don't feel qualified to teach?
  7. Where can I find someone to homeschool my kids?
  8. Where can I find help?
  9. What curriculum does Texas require?
  10. Where do I find a curriculum?
  11. What are the big differences in the curriculum available?
  12. Do parents need to be state certified?
  13. How do I get 'permission' to homeschool?
  14. Do I need to register my homeschool?
  15. Do I need to have my child take standardized tests?
  16. What do I do if CPS or the truant officer comes to my homeschool?
  17. How do I take my kids out of public school?
  18. How is my homeschool viewed for college admissions?
  19. How does a homeschool handle transcripts and diplomas?
  20. What about grades?
  21. What about extracurricular activities?
  22. What about socialization?
  23. When is the best time to start?

What exactly is homeschooling?

Homeschooling is the natural implementation of 'parent directed education'. In homeschooling, parents take full responsibility and direct oversight for the education of their children in their own homes. This does not necessarily infer that the parents provide all of the corresponding instruction. However, true homeschooling is parent lead and does not depend on either the organization nor oversight of an outside institution.

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Is homeschooling really legal?

Yes. In 1987, in the decision regarding the Leeper vs Arlington ISD case, the 17th District Court of Texas ruled that home schools which are conducted in a bona fide manner and which incorporate the teaching of certain basic subjects are in full compliance with the state's compulsory attendance laws. In 1991, the Court of Appeals of Texas completely affirmed this lower court ruling. Finally, on June 15, 1994, the Texas Supreme Court solidified the decision by affirming the lower court rulings and permanently prohibiting further prosecution of bona fide home schoolers in Texas. These decisions make Texas one of the most favorable states for home schoolers.

For complete details on the laws & legalities of homeschooling in Texas, please consult with competent legal counsel or review the information which the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) makes available.

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Is homeschooling something new?

No. The size of Texas and its frontier history made homeschooling the natural approach for early child education in many parts of the state. However, even apart from Texas' historical evidence, homeschooling is not new; it was the normal means of instructing children prior to the creation of our modern public education system. This historic evidence for homeschooling was one of the most compelling reasons for the Texas Supreme Court's decision regarding its legality.

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Does homeschooling really work?

Yes. Numerous studies and the success of many prior home school graduates prove that homeschooling really works. In homeschooling, the parents are intimately involved in the child's education, the education progresses at the child's actual comprehension rate, and the child understands the material more thoroughly. Also, the majority of negative education factors are non-existent thereby providing a more encouraging environment in which the children are able to excel.

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Does 'how my child is educated' really matter?

Yes. Your child will form his or her opinions and beliefs based on the content and manner of information being taught. Within a homeschool, the parent is able to teach their biblical convictions without unwanted contradiction or causing the child to encounter unnecessary ridicule. Further, since the parent is directly involved in the child's education, the natural relationships are positively re-inforced, the child receives loving attention & encouragement, and the child's personal learning styles & interests can be accommodated.

Any educational institution which attempts to instruct a diversity of children using a repeatable pattern technique, eliminate the intense parental involvement, or bypass the faithful adherence to biblical convictions will naturally be incapable of producing graduates or alumni who hold these family tenants.

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What if I, as the parent, don't feel qualified to teach?

Unless they have received a traditional education which culminated in the acquisition of a teaching certificate, most parents feel somewhat inadequate. This inadequacy is frequently enforced by their focus on the difficult higher level education courses and by the comments offered by 'well meaning' friends. The feelings are natural, but they are not insurmountable.

Today's curricula are designed specifically for parental use in the homeschool. These curricula include all of the guides and instructional materials that the parent will need; many also include special access to experts.

Finally, if homeschooling is begun while the child is still very young, you will be able to acclimate & progress slowly. By the time you encounter the courses which originally worried you, you will have developed the confidence and a complete support network.

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Where can I find someone to homeschool my kids?

Homeschooling is the responsibility of the parent or guardian. You can cooperate with other parents; and, you should most definitely be in agreement with your spouse. But, no one else can do the job; they can only assist you.

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Where can I find help?

Providing you with the help you need to homeschool your children correctly is the ministry of organizations, such as TCASHE. There are, however, many other aides: area support groups, parent co-op teaching teams, on-line discussion forums, magazines & periodicals, and regional conferences.

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What curriculum does Texas require?

State law dictates that homeschoolers conduct their schooling according to the following:

  1. Written curriculum.
  2. Minimum subjects covered:
    • Grammar
    • Reading
    • Spelling
    • Mathematics
    • Good Citizenship
  3. Taught or conducted in a truly bona fide fashion.

Other subjects, such as Arts, Science, Foreign Language, and Physical Education, are not mandated by Texas' law. However, if you intend for your children to continue their education after graduation from your homeschool, you will find it necessary to incorporate them into your curricula.

To review the specific details, review this Legal Summary.

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Where do I find a curriculum?

There are several good books which provide overviews and reviews of the available curricula; among them are Mary Pride's and Cathy Duffy's curriculum critiques. You should obtain one of these books; they are available in many church libraries and larger book stores. If you live in one of the regions where a home school conference or bookfair is held, you should make plans to attend; discussing the curricula directly with their representative and other veteran home schoolers will provide immeasurable guidance in helping you select the best combination.

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What are the big differences in the curriculum available?

There are a very large number and variety of curricula available on the market. Some curricula cover only specific subjects, whereas others are all-encompassing. Some curricula are very grade specific; others provide the complete coverage of all elementary & secondary grades. Finally, most curricula are published in printed form; but, an increasing number are available electronically. You will need to study the options carefully to choose the curricula that's right for each of your children.

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Do parents need to be state certified?

No. Parents are neither licensed nor certified in Texas. Further, if you choose to become involved in a co-op education program with other parents, you are permitted to teach their children as well, so long as the primary oversight of the education remains with the child's actual parents. Many studies have been performed which prove that teacher certification has little affect on the educational outcome of the children. Your convictions to homeschool and your personal involvement in their education will do far more toward advancing your children's education than any certification.

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How do I get 'permission' to home school?

In Texas, parents do not need special permission to begin homeschooling their children; it is your right. Therefore, you do not need to ask nor receive anyone's permission. Naturally, since both parents should be involved in the home school, it is adviseable to reach a mutual understanding with your spouse. You should, however, anticipate a certain level of opposition to your decision. Many well-meaning people will question your decision; some will even try in interfere.

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Do I need to register my home school?

Texas has no registration requirement for homeschool children or parents. However, many parents find it beneficial to formally name their homeschool. In doing so, it is adviseable for the parent to register this school name as a business. This is accomplished by obtaining a DBA (or "Doing Business As") with the local courthouse.

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Do I need to have my child take standardized tests?

Apart from the standardized achievement tests which most colleges and universities use to compare the relative merits of their applicants, your children will not be required, in Texas, to prove their level of education via any testing program. However, you may find that having your children occasionally take some of these achievement tests helps you ensure that their education is progressing normally.

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What do I do if CPS or the truant officer comes to my homeschool?

In Texas you have the legal right to homeschool your children, including both natural and adopted. You do not need to be apologetic nor fearful. However, the possibility of encountering an episode with either CPS or a truant officer is a very real possibility, especially if you have withdrawn your children from the public schools. TCASHE, and most home school experts, recommend that you join the HSLDA for exactly such an eventuality. As a member, you can immediately call their offices and receive assistance. Meanwhile, you should be as polite and non-confrontational with the officers as possible. Unless the officer presents a valid search warrant, you are under no obligations to let them enter your home, examine your records, question your children, nor ridicule your convictions. If requested, you should provide a formal letter to the local school district stating that your homeschool operates in compliance with the Texas Supreme Court decisions.

Since most people are not truly familiar with homeschooling or the laws which govern it, you may find it wise to make both family members and neighbors aware that you are homeschooling; similarly, you may choose to avoid certain activities which increase the probability of receiving a CPS or truancy officer's visit.

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How do I take my kids out of public school?

If your child has already been enrolled in a formal education institution, most experts will recommend writing a letter to the school's administration describing your intentions to homeschool. In the letter, you should ask for copies of your child's current transcript. This is not necessarily mandatory. However, it can avoid some unpleasant episodes later, especially during the high school years. Naturally, if your child has never been enrolled, you will not need to notify the school of your intentions.

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How is my home school viewed for college admissions?

Homeschools are viewed as private parochial schools within the state of Texas. Admission to post-graduation institutions, such as colleges and universities, will be based on a combination of the records you've kept, the transcripts you provide, the grades your child has earned, and the standardized test score your child obtains. Not all colleges and universities, however, have the same opinion of homeschooling. You will want to contact the specific institutions in which your child has an interest in enrollment and request details regarding their specific requirements.

You should not allow the college or university to dictate that your child obtain a GED. This both undermines your student's education status with the institution and creates ongoing prejudice against all homeschool graduates.

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How does a home school handle transcripts and diplomas?

Since the Texas Supreme Court recognized home schools as an alternate form of private, parochial schools, you as the officials of the school have the right to determine graduation requirements, recognize graduation status, grant diplomas, and issue transcripts. Since colleges, universities, and businesses have certain unspecified expectations on these documents, you may find it beneficial to purchase a package which contains templates. You may, also, decide that having the forms notorized is worthwhile.

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What about grades?

Grades are a useful way of tracking your progress through the educational material, verifying your child's comprehension of this material, and validating your school complies with the legal mandates. However, until you actually prepare to place your child into another education institution, such as a university or public school, the grades you keep are actually only meaningful to you. Since events arise which can suddenly alter even the best plans, you should at the very least keep records of the assignments you have given and the children's corresponding activities. Once your child enters the upper grades, you should also keep records of your child's major projects and accomplishments.

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What about extracurricular activities?

Depending on whether you live in a metropolitan or rural area, the number and variety of extracurricular activities available will differ tremendously. In the larger metropolitan areas, you will be able to find coral groups, ensembles, ballets, drama teams, debate tournaments, and sporting opportunities. In smaller and rural areas, your options will be somewhat more limited; however, you may actually be able to enroll your child in some private or parochial school activities, especially if they are small enough to have difficulty filling the available positions.

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What about socialization?

Most homeschool children are very active in a wide variety of activities outside of their home, including their church, music, sports, and scouting programs. The few homeschoolers who don't naturally receive sufficient opportunities can create alternatives, including neightborhood or civic involvement, club enrollment, or specialty ministries. Generally, however, homeschool children receive completely adequate socialization.

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When is the best time to start?

Naturally, the best time to start your home school is just before your first child would normally enter into the formal education system. However, as a parent and resident of Texas, you are free to start your home school at any time, so long as you have already obtained your curriculum. If you start your home school, including disenroll your child from the public school, during the normal school year without this curriculum, you could be charged with truancy.

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