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Yes! Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Some states have more regulations than others. Check your state's regulations to make sure. The Home School Legal Defense Association at www.hslda.org gives a summary of regulations by state.
Texas is one of the most homeschool friendly states in the union for home schoolers. In Texas, we love our home schooling freedom!
The truth is, that there are hundreds of thousands of students being homeschooled in Texas alone. There are homeschool support groups offering activities in every major and even in the smaller population areas. The State homeschool basketball tournament is one of the largest in the nation. If you avail yourself of even all that just BCHE has to offer, you'll not have time to teach!
Because of the stigma of this question, parents new to homeschooling may try to sign their children up for too many activities. It is easy to get overwhelmed with "going and doing". Relax. Your child and/or children will be fine.
There are many ways for your child to get the courses he/she needs to complete high school.
• Homeschool Co-Op: Parents come together and agree to teach a subject or two in exchange for their child (children) attending. This usually meets once per week. BCHE offers classes each Fall and Spring in a co-op style setting just for high school aged students.
• Tutors: There are many people who specialize or have degrees in the subject(s) you need. Although this tends to be more expensive, it is a very viable option.
• Video Schools: Both Bob Jones University Press, ABeka Curriculum, among others, offer videos for High school subjects. One drawback is that in many cases, you can only use them for one child. There are numerous FREE resources on-line at your disposal to aid as well.
• Exchange: You and another parent get together and agree to teach the subject of your choice to each others children. Often a parent is a subject matter expert in an area that others can benefit from.
• On-Line Classes through the Internet: There is a growing number of classes available through the internet. From Web sites with lessons and email access to teachers, to once a week fully interactive real-time classes, the internet just may be the next real alternative for homeschoolers.
Because homeschoolers, on the average, excel above those in public high schools and even many private schools, many colleges are now welcoming them with open arms. You, the parent, need to keep good records and make sure your child has the credits the college(s) of their choice require. They also need to have some outside activities (as do traditionally schooled students). Many colleges require every student to take the SAT and/or the ACT entrance exams. Your child can also study for and take the College Board AP exams offered through high schools across the country. If your child passes this exam in a particular subject, this gives him/her college credit. Many times, a high schooler who passes one of these exams, attracts the attention of colleges and receives scholarship offers.
Traditional schools have to calculate a credit based on the length of time a class is in session (i.e. 180 days at a class time of 50 min/day = 150 hrs = 1 credit). You can keep track of the amount of time spent on a subject and give credit this way. You can also assume that teachers never actually teach a full 50 min, and if you use a traditional curriculum, such as one from BJUP or ABeka, and you complete the curriculum in a year, your child has earned one credit. If your child has activities outside the home for which you are counting as part of his/her subjects, you can use the # of hours spent to calculate the amount of credit given.
Grades: While in the lower grades, many parents opt not to give grades for their child's work, colleges usually expect to see some sort of grade. If you are using a traditional curriculum, it is a simple matter to grade the work based on the answer key. If you are using a less traditional curriculum, you might begin by establishing a set of standards and goals you want your child to achieve. Write these down. You can use these to evaluate your child's work and assign grades. If you are using a tutor, or an on-line tutorial, ask if the teacher will provide you an evaluation of your child's work at the end of the year. If you are going through a correspondence school, they will usually provide you with a transcript showing grades and credits, otherwise you will have to keep good records and list subject, grade, and credit along with the student information (name, address, etc.).
1. Know Your State Law: If you do not live in Texas, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association Web site to find your state laws and a list of homeschooling organizations. If you live in Texas, the law states:
"Home schools are considered private schools and must use a written curriculum covering math, reading, spelling, grammar, and a course in good citizenship and must be conducted in a bona fide manner."
2. Answer this question: Why do I want to homeschool my child?
Homeschooling is not easy. The rewards are great, but it can be quite difficult at times. You MUST be committed to make it work. You can do it...and we can help!
3. Find Other Home Schoolers to Talk to: Big Country Home Educators will provide many other homeschooling Moms and Dads to talk to. BCHE's mentoring program is geared toward the new homeschooler and those that just want to share ideas (and coffee!). If you are not in the Big Country area, the Texas Home School Coalition at www.thsc.org can guide you to a support group in your area.
4. Research Curriculum choices: Back in the early days of homeschooling, curriculum choices were few. Now there is a tremendous variety of materials from which to choose. You need to find materials that will work best for you and your lifestyle. Each parent is different and each child is different. What works for one child, may not work for another. The curriculum you use the first year you may not use the next year. The longer you homeschool, the more you will be able to see what works and what doesn't with you and with your child.
5. Purchase Your Curriculum
6. If your child is enrolled in a public or private school now, you must withdraw your child from that school. In Texas, your child is considered truant after 3 days of non-attendance. That is why you should not withdraw your child until after you have purchased or ordered your curriculum. You need to know your state laws as to notification and withdrawal procedures from traditional schools.
The following is a sample letter of withdrawal (rewrite in your own words):
[Your City,State Zip]
[School District Name] ISD
Dear Mr(s).[Principal's Last Name]:
I am writing to notify you that I am withdrawing my child, [name of child], from enrollment in the [School District Name]ISD. I will be teaching my child at home.
If you have any further questions, please submit them to me in writing at the above address.
CC: Texas Home School Coalition Association
[Big Country Home Educators or your Local Support Group]
7. Join a support group in your area: Your local support group can help you the most. They provide activities, field trips, formals, ceremonies, sports, and more! Also, it is a good idea to join your state advocacy group, the Texas Home School Coalition at www.thsc.org in the case of Texas. The national advocacy group is the Home School Legal Defense Association at www.hslda.org. its sole purpose is to ensure the right of every parent to homeschool in all 50 states. While it is not mandatory to join, the membership fee covers any and all expenses IF they have to intervene on your behalf with your school district or go to court. It is not mandatory to join any organization, of course.