How do I know I am qualified to homeschool?
The truth is you have probably been homeschooling your child and don't even realize you are doing it. Ever taught your child to cook something, watched a nature documentary with them, helped with homework or a school project, wandered in a museum? Then you have homeschooled your child. We believe that every parent who is invested in their child's spiritual, emotional, physical, and educational well being is a parent who is equipped to homeschool. Does that mean eveyone should homeschool? Probably not; but don't let fear of your abilities be your deciding factor.
What about socialization?
The issue of “socialization” is quite possibly the most misunderstood aspect of homeschooling. Popular opinion assumes that children need periods of interaction with a group of peers to acquire social skills. By contrast, however, many believe that extensive peer contact during childhood can cause undesirable peer dependency. “Do not be deceived: `Bad company corrupts good morals'” (I Cor. 15:33 NAS).
Young children are more likely to be influenced by the majority than to be an influence on them. Children who receive their education outside the home are prone to accept their peers' and teachers' values over those of their parents. Some advantages of freedom from peer pressure can be self-confidence, independent thinking, the ability to relate to people of all ages, and better family relations.
How long does is a typical homeschool day?
Homeschooling requires a time commitment, but not as much as you might expect. One-to-one tutoring is more efficient than classroom instruction and thus takes less time. Time requirements vary according to the methods used, the ages of the children, and how many children are being taught.
Academic instruction might begin with one-half to one hour for the early grades and work up to a few hours of instruction and/or independent study for upper grades. Most correspondence courses state that their work can be completed in four or five hours per day.
Is there any required curriculum?
In order to be a legitimate homeschool, you must have a curriculum which teaches reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and a study of good citizenship. You must pursue that curriculum in a bona fide manner. This curriculum may be obtained from any source and can consist of books, workbooks, other written materials, or materials on an electronic monitor including computer or video screens, or any combination of these. Outside of these basic perameters the style of curriculum and any additional materials are totally up to you as the parent. Be aware, however, that different states do have different criteria as to what they require for homeschoolers. Texas is a very open state when it comes to homeschool requirements, but others are more stringent, so always be sure to check.
How do you know what books or curriculum to get?
A good place to start would be to buy the book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Educational Philosophy for Your Child's Learning Style by Cathy Duffy. It will help you look at your teaching style and your student’s learning style and will help you sort out what types of curriculum you may like. Websites like http://www.cbd.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/ will allow you look up specific books and look inside of them to get more information. Talking to other homeschool moms and going to homeschool curriculum fairs are other great ways to get this information. One important thing to know is that the "right" curriculum is strictly up to you and what works for your family and your child. The beauty of homeschool is being able to choose the curriculum that helps you to be the best teacher you can be and your child be the best student he or she can be.
I have decided to homeschool. What do I need to do if my child is enrolled in public school?
Although you are not legally required to register with the school district or receive their permission to homeschool, you should withdraw your child(ren) from the public school. Failure to do so, could result in school officials filing charges of thwarting compulsory attendance or failure to attend school against you and/or your child(ren). Write the principal of the school your child attends (or will be attending if you are writing while school is not in session) and tell him that you are withdrawing your child from his school in order to teach him at home. Send the letter certified mail return receipt requested to receive proof of delivery. If the school subsequently contacts you and says that you must do more (come to the central office, fill out a form, etc.), do not go to the school.
The Texas Education Agency has told the school districts in Texas that such a letter meets the guidelines of cooperation with the school district in compliance with the compulsory attendance laws. Unless the school district has evidence that your letter of assurance is not true, this should be the end of your contact with the school district over withdrawal. A sample letter can be found at www.thsc.org.
What is required for graduation?
Home schools in Texas are private schools and not regulated by the state; therefore home schools, just as with other private schools, set their own graduation standards. There is no minimum age requirement for graduation. If you plan for your student to go to college then you should find out what the high school requirements are for that college.
When a student meets the requirements set by his school for graduation, he may receive a diploma. Diplomas may be ordered from the Texas Home School Coalition Association and other sources.
Can my home educated students get into college?
There is no reason that a student with a diploma from a homeschool in Texas could not go to college. Some colleges and universities are friendlier toward homeschoolers than others, so some will be easier to work with. In Texas, state colleges are required to accept a homeschool graduate's diploma and transcript and to treat a homeschool graduate just as they would any other applicant. Homeschool graduates are accepted at most colleges and universities around the nation, and even recruited by many.