The other side of the ‘rights’ coin is ‘responsibilities’ when it comes to discussing homeschool laws.So continuing our discussion from last week, let’s start here, in Texas. Our state constitution requires parents of children from age 5 to 18 to educate them in reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, and a course in good citizenship. You need to have a written curriculum and actually teach them. That’s it. Of course we want our kids to understand things like science and history not to mention how to maintain good health, how to use technology, etc. But that’s 100% up to us to decide. And you decide what and how to teach even the required subjects. I chose to use grocery lists to teach spelling, budgeting, and meal planning. We kept a mental tally while shopping and tried to get as close as we could without going over the budget a la ‘The Price Is Right’. This was before smart phones of course. We played Yahtzee with 12 sided dice using a homemade scorecard built in a spreadsheet to master the times tables, My younger daughter swears to this day we never did school just because we played games and watched movies. The how is up to you! Why not find ways to make it fun instead of a chore. In other states the regulations will be different as will the reporting and assessment process. You can find your state’s laws at HSLDA.org.
For the ‘written curriculum’ requirement, I simply downloaded the TEA’s own guidelines and used it as a starting point to write up our daily/weekly/semester plans including the page numbers of the books we were studying. This is probably the best place to get into the curriculum question. There are so many choices! When we started I had a math girl with dyslexia and an anti-math girl who wrote stories. Each was ahead or behind in various areas so I dismissed ‘canned’ curriculum products. It just made more sense to tailor it for our family. My search landed us in Charlotte Mason Method territory for our how but I used more of a classical structure to determine what and when.
As far as the ‘bona fide’ manner requirement we just did it! We actually read books, participated in a drama club, and did the math as far as I was able to go. Math girl went to public school for high school since I was at my limit. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be a requirement for the public schools to actually educate the kids. You can’t actually sue the system for failing to teach anything. It really is your responsibility! Don’t get me started on their priorities! (Is gender identity or marriage equality at the top of your list) Children are socially promoted while illiterate and their parents have no recourse. Let that sink in.
Now, I’m not throwing all public school teachers together here. I’m just saying your kids deserve your deliberate and purposeful attention to choosing the best educational environment and teaching staff. Imagine if it was a normal thing for parents to interview potential teachers/principals for the job. I know some great teachers who treat their students like their own kids and I think every child deserves that kind of care and attention.