What do I need to do to start homeschooling?
THIS ANSWER ONLY APPLIES TO TEXAS HOMESCHOOLERS. If you are in another state, please contact a homeschool representative from your state.
If your children were previously enrolled in a Texas public school, you must submit paperwork, in writing, to withdraw them. The paperwork should be simple. You do NOT need to provide proof of curriculum nor the name of an overseeing organization. If you are moving to Texas from out of state, please check with the state you came from to make sure your child is officially withdrawn from their system.
As a homeschooler in Texas, you will be a private school. You are required to teach reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship using a bonafide visual (books, video, etc.) curriculum.
Where do I sign up for classes?
HOST is a homeschool support organization. We provide activities such as field trips, park days, sports programs, dances, and theater. We also have an enrichment co-op, but the main teaching for homeschoolers is always the responsibility of the parents.
Some of the other co-ops in the area (not related to, nor necessarily recommended by HOST) include Seaside Christian Co-op, the South Texas Christian Homeschool Co-op, Homeschool Unlimited Texas (HUT), and several Classical Conversations groups. An Internet search should get you information on these.
How do I know what to teach?
As a homeschooler in Texas, you are required to teach reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship using a bonifide visual curriculum.
There are hundreds of choices when it comes to curriculum. Many are free. Some cost nearly a thousand dollars. Most fall somewhere in between. Before purchasing a curriculum, it is best to talk to someone about what your homeschooling goals are. They can help you narrow your search field.
Cathy Duffy has excellent, independent curriculum reviews.
What about K12 or Connections Academy?
Both these options are public school at home. They work for some people. Feel free to check them out. Keep in mind, your children are still public school students. They will have to log in a specific number of hours each day and will have to take whatever standardized end-of-year test is required for their grade levels.
What about testing?
Homeschoolers are not required to take any test, nor report their progress to anyone. (You still should keep records of some sort).
If college is in your child's future s/he will need to take the ACT or SAT. Students planning to attend a community college will need to take the TSI.
Many parents have their young high schoolers take the PSAT in order to gain practice with standardized tests. This test is administered in mid-October, with registration deadlines usually a month earlier. Call the counselor at your local high school to make arrangements.
Yeeps! I hadn't thought about high school! Is that possible?
Absolutely. You are a private school. Colleges around the nation are legally required to accept your transcript with the same merit they would one from any other private school. Good news: many schools, and especially the more exclusive ones, have an office to recruit and help homeschoolers apply. They have found homeschoolers tend to be better prepared for the academic rigor and out-of-the-box thinking they are looking for.
And we're here to help you with the transcripts!
What about socialization?
Socialization. The biggest issue most homeschoolers face. Between dance class, field trips, orchestra classes, sports, student council, and scouts, we find it difficult to find time to do book work. But that's okay, because real learning happens in real life and much of what public schoolers learn in the classroom, we can experience where we are.
I still need help!
Of course you do. It's a huge undertaking. Please send us a message and one of our members will get in touch with you shortly.