As of October 2020, 12.3% of students in Texas were homeschooled. As a comparison, 4.5% studied under this modality in May 2020. According to data from the Census Bureau in the United States, the sudden increase was derived from the interest of parents in finding alternative education methods during the pandemic of covid-19.
“It is clear that in an unprecedented environment, families are looking for solutions that reliably meet their health and safety needs, their child care needs, and the learning and social-emotional needs of their children,” read the survey results of the Census.
The Texas Homeschool Coalition (THSC) expects interest to continue to grow this year as fewer remote learning opportunities will be offered in public and private schools in 2021.
"Our phones don't stop ringing," said Tim Lambert, the president of THSC, via video on his website. "We are seeing a very large interest in homeschooling."
According to the THSC, homeschooling is education directly supervised by a parent or person in parental authority in the child's home.
Homeschooling has been a fully legal alternative to public school since 1994, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). A student can stop homeschooling at any time and return to a public school, but since these types of students do not receive diplomas at the end of the school year, they will have to undergo an assessment that determines their level of schooling.
"Most districts have policies and procedures for assessing proficiency in courses students have taken at home," reads the homeschooling section of TEA. "The results of these assessments can be used to determine your grade level or to award credit or both."
A student who graduated from homeschool must be held to the same standards when applying to college as a student who graduated from school, according to the TEA.
If the parents or guardians of a student in Texas decide that homeschooling is the best option for this school year, they should take the following steps:
To start homeschooling, any student currently enrolled in a school district must be formally withdrawn and it is recommended that this be done before the school year begins. This is so that at the beginning of the school year the student is not considered truant, according to the THSC.
Children can be removed by sending an email or letter to the school. THSC offers a template to guide parents through the withdrawal process. The Texas Education Agency requires that the date homeschooling will begin to be specified on the withdrawal letter.
Sites like THSC offer free resources and resumes for up to six weeks so parents have time to choose which materials they want to use for homeschooling.
Free materials that THSC recommends include Ambleside Online, Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool, Old Fashioned Education, and Khan Academy.
Other online programs, like CoronaVirusHomeschooling.com, offer a free sample of their curriculum and lesson plans for 8 weeks so parents can see if homeschooling is a good option for their children.
For more structured materials with online components, there is Calvert Home School, which has physical book kits for the pre-K through sophomore years and costs from $ 160 to $ 380. In juniors through seniors in high school, Calvert Home School offers its materials online starting at $ 40 per month. You can try the resume free for 30 days to decide if this is the program you want to use.
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There are some alternatives and resources in Spanish, such as Nobis Pacem that has resumes up to grade 12. THSC also has some resources in Spanish on its website. For additional help, there are communities or groups like Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers on Facebook.