Home education is clearly legal!
The only requirements to legally home school in Texas are:
- The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
- The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
- The curriculum must include the basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.
You may also send your children into the home of another parent or use a tutor for instruction.
The courts have determined that Texas home schools are private schools for the purpose of compulsory attendance. As such, home schools are not regulated, do not require teacher certification or third-party curriculum approval, and they are exempt from compulsory attendance laws.
Local school officials do have the right to make “reasonable inquiry” to determine whether your school-age child is in attendance in a private school. A 2010 letter from the Texas commissioner of education gives direction to school districts on how to legally make “reasonable inquiry.”
For more information on home schooling and the law, see State Requirements.
How did home schooling become legal?
The fact that home schooling is legal is based on the decision of the Leeper vs. Arlington ISD class action suit (Case No. 17-88761-85). Home school law in Texas is case law, binding on all 1,100 Texas school districts. That April 13, 1987, decision was a complete vindication of the right of Texas parents to educate their children at home.
Presiding Judge Charles J. Murray concluded that:
“A school-age child residing in the State of Texas who is being educated in a bona fide manner by the parents, or those standing in parental authority, in or through the child’s home using a curriculum, consisting of books, workbooks, other written materials, including that which appears on an electronic screen of either a computer or video tape monitor, or any combination of the preceding from either (1) a private or parochial school which exists apart from the child’s home or (2) which has been developed or obtained from any source, said curriculum designed to meet basic education goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship, is in attendance upon a private or parochial school within the meaning of Section 25.086(a)(1) of the Texas Education Code and exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance at a public school.”
For a more complete history, see The History of Home Education in Texas.