The Ins and Outs of Homeschooling in Texas: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to the Lonestar State! Texas has long been associated with freedom; but what does that mean for Texas homeschoolers? What laws and regulations are you subject to if you’re homeschooling in Texas?

In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about beginning your homeschool journey in Texas, and what to expect along the way.

Is Homeschool in Texas Regulated? 

HSLDA Laws For Texas

When it comes to understanding your rights as a homeschooler, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is pretty much your one stop shop, offering a comprehensive guide of the homeschooling laws in all 50 states. 

Under Texas law, you are required to provide structured learning for your child from ages 6 to 18. However, many are surprised to learn that Texas does not require you to have a teaching certification or any special qualifications to teach your child. 

There’s also no hourly requirement or number of days required for teaching each year.

In fact, when compared to other states, Texas homeschoolers have it easy since homeschool is considered a private school by the state. 

While this means that you have more freedom to blaze your own homeschooling path, there are a few Texas laws you will need to be aware of. 

There are three main requirements you need to follow.

First, you must be teaching from a “bonafide” curriculum (or mix of curriculums). You can totally design your own curriculum, but there should be some sort of plan so that you aren’t just coming up with things on the fly. Basically, your homeschool can’t be a sham. 

Second, Texas requires that homeschoolers receive instruction in four core subjects: 

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Spelling and Grammar
  • Good Citizenship

I know what you’re thinking: Really? That’s it? It’s true. These are the only four subjects required by Texas state law. 

That said, it’s still a good idea to weave in some history and science where you can, so that your child isn’t totally lost in these areas when it comes up down the road or even in college. Not to mention, how will you know if you have a little budding Einstein on your hands if you don’t introduce your child to the wonders of science?

Finally, Texas requires that homeschoolers utilize teaching materials that can be seen in a written format. This basically just means that your materials need to be tangible, which includes workbooks, online curriculum, children’s books, textbooks, and other things of that nature. 

Get To Know The HSLDA

This is a great resource to take advantage of, especially for homeschool newbies. Their website offers TONS of free resources that answer any question you might have about your homeschooling journey.

In fact, the HSLDA is one of the most well-known non-profit homeschool advocacy organizations in the nation. While many of the online resources are available free of charge, they also offer a membership program for more personalized, one-on-one guidance. For $12 per month (or $130 annually), you’ll have access to legal services and representation as well as a number of exclusive member resources. 

Since Texas is one of the most lenient homeschool states, many parents forgo the membership option. However, it may come in handy should you encounter any bumps in the road, such as pushback from your local public school. 

Is Standardized Testing Required for Homeschoolers in Texas?

Ah, the dreaded standardized testing. Yuck. I still remember getting knots in my stomach on testing days growing up. I’m not saying testing is without merit, but I was pretty stoked to find out that Texas does not require homeschoolers to do any type of benchmark or standardized testing. Whew! 

That said, many co-ops and homeschool communities offer yearly testing options for a small fee. This can be a great way to measure your child’s progress and see how well they’re absorbing the material (and how well your hard work as a teacher is paying off!).

Not to mention, exposure to this type of timed, often high-stress testing is good if you intend to send your child to college, so they aren’t totally freaking out when it comes time for the SAT or ACT.

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool in Texas?

Now for the big question on every homeschool parent’s mind… how much does it cost to homeschool in Texas? The answer: it depends, but I bet it’s lower than you’d think.

Although the costs of homeschooling will vary depending on your unique situation, many homeschool families find their journey is actually cheaper than the costs associated with public school.

Possibly the only drawback of homeschooling in Texas is there are no tax credits available for homeschoolers, unlike several other states. This means you can’t write off your homeschool expenses, and there is no tax incentive or stimulus to help offset any expenses you may encounter.

But don’t let that scare you off. Homeschool can be quite affordable and there are many ways to customize your journey depending on your budget. You can even find several curricula and teaching resources for free! 

How to Start Homeschooling in Texas

If Your Child Has Never Been Enrolled in Public School

If you are starting your homeschool journey off the bat and your child has never been enrolled in the public school system, you are pretty much good to go! 

In this case, there is no paperwork to send in or notifications to mail off to your local school district. You can start looking at different curriculum options, building your schedule, and getting started. 

If Your Child Is Enrolled in Public School

If your child is currently enrolled in the public school system, there are a few extra steps you’ll need to take before getting started. First, you will need to draft a letter of intent to withdraw your child from their current school. You can find different sample letters and email templates online.

If you are withdrawing your child in the middle of the school year, make sure to let the school know and send your formal notice immediately. Otherwise, if you are starting fresh with a new school year, just make sure to send your letter before your district’s first day of school so your child is not considered enrolled for that year.

Join the Texas Homeschool Coalition

For those interested in homeschooling in Texas, I’d suggest checking out the Texas Homeschool Coalition. Like the HSLDA, the THSC is a legal advocacy organization that provides homeschooling parents with resources, legal protection, and one-on-one coaching throughout any bumps you may experience in your homeschool journey. 

Like the HSLDA, the THSC can help you understand your rights as a homeschooling parent so that you feel safe and empowered to make the right decisions for your child’s education. 

Under their membership option, they also offer events such as homeschool conventions, field trips, graduation ceremonies, and fundraisers. The annual membership costs $120.

Final Thoughts on Homeschooling in Texas

The great news is that homeschooling in Texas is much easier than other states that have more laws and regulations. This relative freedom is one of the many reasons that Texas is the perfect place to begin your homeschooling journey.

And whether you’re brand new to the homeschooling life or you’re a seasoned homeschool veteran, Texas has plenty of communities, groups, and resources that have your back and can help you out along the way!

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