New Homeschooler FAQs
Many FAQs & answers can be found here along with Texas homeschool laws. We have added a few of our own below. Don't see the information you need? Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Homeschooling legal in Texas?
YES. Texas is considered a homeschool-friendly state, with no registration, standardized testing, or reporting requirements for home educators. The 1994 decision Leeper v. Arlington ISD upheld the rights of families wishing to homeschool in Texas by classifying them as private schools and therefore exempt from compulsory attendance requirements.
My child is NOT currently enrolled in a public or private school. Do I need to do anything?
No. You do not need to contact the school in this case. You may find it helpful to join a local group or co-op to enhance you and your child's journey into homeschooling, however, nothing is mandatory.
I do not have a degree, or if I do, I am not "trained" as a teacher. Can I still homeschool?
Absolutely! Did you teach your child to eat with a spoon? To potty train? To talk? Right from wrong?
Curriculum today is made to help the parents, many with instructional videos, manuals with step-by-step instructions, and more. There is also the option of finding specific outside classes to supplement where you are not confident or comfortable. But either way, no, you do not need to be certified or have a degree to teach your own child.
How much does homeschooling cost?
That varies from family to family. You can find free curriculums online, use books from the library, borrow from friends, buy from discount book stores, used books sales, and more, to cut your costs. Or you can buy from big name curriculum providers. The cost can range from one end of the spectrum to the other. Some parents start out using a pre-packaged curriculum as it's easy for the inexperienced parent, but it is not always a good fit for the child. Over time many parents end up picking and choosing what works best for both.
Are there any local places I can go and actually LOOK at homeschooling curriculum?
YES! There are two places in Houston where you can get hands-on with hundreds of different curricula:
The Homeschool Store, 12315 Ann Ln, Houston, TX 77064
Located on the Northwest side of Houston in the Tomball area, this amazing store is worth the drive. They sell new and used curriculum, and have lots of helpful staff. The employees are very knowledgeable, helpful, and never pushy. They have been in business for over 25 years, and you can spend HOURS in this lovely place. Makes a great road trip with other homeschool friends!
Mardel Christian Books, 20085 Gulf Fwy, Webster, TX 77598
While not specifically a homeschool store, Mardel has a decent selection of the most common homeschool curriculum including Saxon, Alpha Omega, Master Books, Memoria Press, Veritas Press, Critical Thinking company, Bright Ideas Press, Bob Jones, All About Spelling, A Reason for Writing, and MANY more. They also have a "homeschool sale" day in July with all curriculum and supplies being 20% off!
Are there any websites that review homeschooling curriculum?
Cathy Duffy Reviews-Cathy Duffy has been reviewing curriculum for the homeschooling community since 1984. She also reviews other resources she believes are important for those interested in homeschooling, education, the origins debate, and related political and spiritual topics. While we stretch beyond homeschooling, our primary goal always remains the same: To help families successfully educate their own children!
What's the difference between a co-op and a support group?
While a co-op can be a support group, not all support groups are co-ops.
A co-op (short for cooperative) usually indicates that you cooperatively teach with others. You might teach a class on photography, while another parent is teaching a class on biology. Most have several families involved, with a variety of ages of children, and the parents commit to teaching a certain number of classes each year. They are a great way to supplement your homeschool journey while allowing your children to get to know other homeschool families and make friends. Some co-ops are very academic, some are geared specifically toward performing arts (music/drama/art), while others are just supplemental.
Support groups (such as GCCHS) provide a hub where families can participate in field trips, get to know other families with like-aged kids, find out about classes, co-ops, events, homeschool days at local venues, park days, ask questions about homeschooling, and more.
How do I know what to teach them?
There are many answers to this question! The first thing to consider is their age and if you plan to put them into public school at any time in the future. If you do, it is suggested that you follow your school district's "scope and sequence" for your child's grade level. Most of this is available on your local school district's website. Search "(name of your school district) scope and sequence" and see what you can find.
If you are not planning to go back into the school district anytime soon, consider your child's age before choosing a curriculum. Younger children usually need only simple things, many available free or inexpensive. Math, handwriting (fine motor skills), simple phonics, and reading aloud to your child daily are what is most important. Simple science such as looking up bugs, leaves, or other things they encounter as they go through their day. Once they master reading simple books, you have choices galore. Consider your child's learning style before choosing. Being a part of a group like GCCHS is helpful so that you can ask other experienced homeschool moms what has worked for them!
There are two basic approaches to homeschooling:
1. The Traditional Approach
This approach uses graded textbooks or workbooks, follows a scope and sequence that covers each subject in 180 daily increments a year. It assumes that you will run your homeschool similar to that of a traditional institutional school. Curriculum that falls under this includes Abeka, Saxon, Bob Jones, School of Tomorrow, Alpha Omega, and may more.
2. Non-Textbook Approach
Textbooks are very teacher-directed. Non-textbook approaches tend to use "real" books to educate. There are several "non-textbook" styles including, Classical (studies history in three stages, each stage is four years, something known as The Trivium; the Charlotte Mason style uses "living books" and is based on the teaching of Charlotte Mason, an early 20th-century British educator. It teaches basic reading, writing and math skills and then teaches all other subjects through reading real books and exposing them to real ideas through nature, museums, and other real-life experiences; the Unit Study style integrates all subjects together under a theme, or topic, uniting all together; and the Unschooling approach assumes children are natural learners and allows them to lead the way in choosing what they want to study, based upon their desires and interest.
There is also the Eclectic, or Mixed approach, that many homeschoolers use. It takes what works of each style above and integrates them together. There is no set right or wrong way in this; find what works best for your family.