Texas Home Educators 

Is It Legal?

Is it Legal??? That was the first question my husband raised. Not can you do it, what's involved, or how much will it cost. Our situation at the public school had gotten to the point of shopping for a private school, and then looking into home education. We started home educating before Leeper was finalized.  So our first several years were spent keeping up with the progress of this lawsuit and praying for the judges to come to a favorable conclusion.

We went to several conferences and meetings, all the while my dh was asking Was it Legal? Now that the Leeper case has been ruled on by the Supreme Court, we have an outline of what are the parameters of home school.

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that a school-age child residing in the State of Texas who is pursuing under the direction of a parent or parents or one standing in parental authority in or through the child's home in a bona fide (good faith, not a sham or subterfuge) manner 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) of 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 21.033(a)(1) of the Texas Education Code and exempt from the requirements of compulsory attendance at a public school..

Since then the Texas Education Commissioner has sent letters out to the districts outlining the official status of home education. You can read letter as I always tell my kids, read the original documents for yourself.

The Home Education exemption is outlined in Excerpts from Texas Education Code As Passed by the 76th Texas Legislature, Chapter 25 Subchapter C. - Operation Of Schools and School Attendance, Section 25.086.  Basically, we are considered private schools and so our kids are exempt under section 1, enrolled in a private or parochial school. We are considered to be private schools.

We have a lobbying group in Texas called the Texas Home School Coalition which send people to the Legislature when they are in session and testifies before them, keeps home educators updated on bills as they progress, and even give classes, called Capital Days, teaching you how to lobby during the sessions. Their website has info on Home Education, support groups, and a sample *Letter of Withdrawl* letter that you might want to use if you pull your child out of public school. They also have a free quarterly magazine that lets you know about updates in conferences, kids winning awards and legislature updates.

Another great resource for finding out if *Is it Legal???* is a site written by an attorney.  Carwrecks gives a history of home schooling in Texas from a legal point of view.

Some school districts have their entire curriculum (lesson plans, not books) online for you to review. This is a good resource if you have questions about re-enrolling your child into your school district. Many home school parents start out just wanting to home educate only one of their children or all their children for only one year. Some do re-enroll their children, others find they are enjoying their home school experience and see the development of their child to the point of never re-enrolling them in public school.

Texas is one of the easiest states in which to home educate your children. I am not a lawyer and the above is given as friendly advice and not legal advice. Please read the laws for yourself. Leeper v. Arlington Indep. School Dist.,  No 1788761-85 Tarrant County Judicial Ct. Apr. 13, 1987.