Texas compulsory school attendance age
From age 6 to 19, children must attend school, either public or private (includes homeschooling), until they graduate or get a GED. If a child has been enrolled in school for prekindergarten, kindergarten, or 1st grade, the child must continue going to school that academic year, even if he or she is not yet 6.
HSLDA believes that a parent-issued diploma and transcript should be sufficient to demonstrate that a child has completed a secondary education. However, even if your child is beyond compulsory school attendance age, there may be situations where you would want to continue to follow the requirements of a home education option recognized under Texas law until your child graduates from high school (filing a home education notice, keeping attendance and other records, etc.). These records may be requested in some situations, such as obtaining a driver’s license if your child is a minor, enlisting in the military, applying to colleges, or demonstrating eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are a member of HSLDA and would like additional details, please contact us.
Withdrawing your child from his or her current school
If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, HSLDA recommends that you formally withdraw your child from that school. If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, we recommend that you withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
We invite you to become a member of HSLDA to receive specific advice about withdrawing your child from school and starting to homeschool. Local schools may have specific forms or withdrawal procedures. HSLDA members are eligible to receive individualized advice about whether complying with those procedures is advisable or required. HSLDA members can also use the sample letter of withdrawal for Texas available in Member Resources to correspond with school officials.
We generally recommend that any correspondence with authorities be sent by “Certified Mail—Return Receipt Requested.” Keep copies of the withdrawal letter and any other paperwork or correspondence, and any green postal receipts, for your personal records.
Note: If your child has never attended a public or private school, this section does not apply.
Complying with Texas’s homeschool law
In Texas, homeschools are considered to be private schools. To legally homeschool, you will need to follow these requirements:
1. Teach the required subjects.
The required subjects are: math, reading, spelling and grammar, and a course in good citizenship. Although science and history are not required by state law, any college your student applies to will require them for admittance, so you’ll want to make sure to teach those too.
2. Use a written curriculum.
The private school law as interpreted by the Texas Supreme Court requires that you use some form of written curriculum (online programs meet this requirement) and that you operate your homeschool in a “bona fide” manner.
Here is what to do if you are contacted by the public school about where your child is enrolled:
If you are contacted by the public school wanting to know where your child is enrolled in school, you should send a letter assuring the school that your children are being legally taught at home. (If you are an HSLDA member, use the form letter here.)
The importance of recordkeeping
You can find Texas’s specific recordkeeping requirements, if any, above. Regardless of what state you live in, HSLDA recommends that you keep detailed records of your homeschool program. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.