Homeschool Journey – Homeschooling in Texas
Looking back, our homeschool journey began by simply testing the waters. Homeschooling in Texas is fairly simple, from a purely authoritative perspective.
There is very little to report, nothing to report actually; beyond informing the school of your intent.
I’ll leave the details of that process for later. But in the beginning, I learned that all Texas homeschoolers needed was to study a few basic subjects. That’s it.
Here’s a quick overview by the Texas Home School Coalition about homeschooling in Texas.
Watch until the end and they’ll explain which subjects Texas requires.
The Struggle That Led to the Homeschool Journey
At the time, one of our older boys was struggling in the public school. He seemed to have large gaps in his education that needed filling.
He was in the fifth grade but seemed to be performing at a third-grade level.
Strangely enough, he had already repeated third grade.
I knew that something up to that grade level hadn’t clicked for him. We just needed to figure out what that thing was.
So, we made the decision to homeschool him for sixth grade.
We needed to “catch him up” on all of the areas he seemed to be behind on.
The First 12 Months and 7 Grades of Our Homeschool Journey
That year was crazy.
The only way we could figure out to find what he was missing was to start over at the beginning.
He laughed as he worked through the simple kindergarten and first grade curriculum.
It only took a month, and he whizzed right through it.
From “Ah-HA!” to Bored
When he got into second grade curriculum, he started to have “ah-ha!” moments.
But when he repeated the third-grade curriculum for the third time, it grew very boring for him.
Of course, I figured that would happen at some point.
It made sense that it started at the grade level where the public school had repeatedly failed to do their job.
Ups and Downs
After that, a roller coaster ride began.
This video is a great depiction of what this kidwent through.
Down through the boring content already encountered and up to new material he had to figure out.
He began to feel challenged as he started learning the things that had never clicked the first time around.
There was daily adjustment as he figured out if it was going to be an easy or challenging one.
A Full Time Job
That poor kid worked through seven years of schoolwork in those 12 months.
He finally got to sixth grade four months until the beginning of the new public-school year. And he covered all of the brand-new material in that time.
Using the online Time4Learning curriculum forty hours a week; school became his job.
There were lots of tears, heated discussions, and temper tantrums.
But it worked!
First Sign of a Homeschool Journey – Questioning the School System
He was able to re-enroll in the public school the next year. And he stopped struggling to understand the content laid out for him as much as before.
I soon began to wonder why the public school hadn’t been able to provide this service for him.
The Questions Began
Why can’t the public school do this?
Why couldn’t they help him without holding him back a grade-level?
Was social ridicule and embarrassment, a prescribed “fix” in the school system, really necessary?
If I could do it without all the negativity, why couldn’t they?
It was a real conundrum.
Then, I started asking even more questions.
Why weren’t my children being assigned regular things like reading Shakespeare?
What about learning how to write a book report?
So many questions; so few answers.
Even More Questions
Couldn’t they figure out my 4 year-old just needed to blow out the pebble he’d shoved up his nose?
Why did they even need my help to have him blow his nose? Couldn’t the school nurse handle this without parental involvement?
Why was the school assigning homework based on content found in a textbook? But then refusing to allow the children to bring the textbook home to use?
That didn’t seem normal.
What’s Their Job, Really?
When I told my children I wouldn’t be helping with their homework, why did the school have a problem?
Wasn’t it their job to teach the content?
And wasn’t homework supposed to be used to practice what had already been taught?
It began to seem as if the public school were just a huge waste of time.
What exactly was their job, and what were they paid to do? I seemed to be doing all of it myself.
What’s the Point of Public School?
What was the point if I had to teach the kids, myself?
If I had to look the answers up on the internet, what good were those tax funded textbooks?
Internet I paid for myself, no less.
Then, one day I reached my limit in patience for the public school.
The Day that Jumpstarted the Real Homeschool Journey
This was the day that I fully understood that the public school was nothing but a mean babysitter.
They wanted to get paid for sitting around pretending to work.
There was no interest in truth, education, or the law.
They only wanted to feel like they were in control. Boy were they wrong.
That day had been scheduled as an Ice Day.
A day off that could be rescheduled and used in the event that we had poor weather.
However it was May in Texas and HOT.
The School Schedule
In the morning I awoke and checked the little calendar hanging on the fridge.
It showed that I’d be keeping the kids at home. But just in case, I double checked.
I went the school’s website to make sure that the day was still scheduled off.
Sure enough, I was going to be hauling five boys around town while running my errands.
So, I got them all up and dressed; and away we went to get everything settled.
When the Nurse Says You’re Truant
We were driving from the grocery store to the bank and everyone was yelling that they were hungry.
A woman at the school, serving both the nurse and office secretary roles, called.
She very rudely informed me that my children were truant.
I had exceeded the number of days she would allow for absences, she said.
And I would be receiving a fine in the mail for not being a responsible parent.
No Tact = No More Respect
At that moment, the tactless woman and her government institution lost all respect from me.
My business voice, crafted over years of sales and customer service experience, came into play in the most marvelous way.
I took control and left her stuttering.
I Doubt You Will
No. They would not be issuing a fine.
She would be marking every single absence for the day as excused.
If she refused, she would be speaking to a lawyer and the Texas Education Agency.
They needed to know about her school’s lack of ability in informing their students of the school schedule.
I had written proof that she was in the wrong, and that the day was scheduled off.
It was posted on the internet on a website maintained by her school district.
The Digital Stamp of Delivery
And as for any other unexcused absences, she would be changing them to excused, as well.
All the doctor’s notes had already been faxed directly to her desk by our physicians.
So, if she refused, there was even more electronic proof that she had failed to do her tax-funded job.
I would not be running myself ragged to provide anything more to her.
My duty had already been fulfilled and I had the documentation to back me up.
Using the Business Voice
The calm demeanor and informative recollection of past events left her heated, angry, and stuttering.
She wasn’t used to being put in the servant’s role.
Having been stripped of her power, she resorted to idle threats.
Then, I put the last nail in the coffin.
Perhaps I needed to speak with her supervisor.
And did you know, this nurse/secretary thought she didn’t have a supervisor?
She actually thought that she was the boss.
Let me tell you, nurses and secretaries aren’t ever the boss. Certainly not public school employees living off of tax dollars like welfare babies.
How do you work off of tax dollars and not have a boss?
Somehow, she thought that she could refuse to do her job and punish me for her poor work.
The Fact About Superintendents
But I did manage to locate her supervisor, the newly elected superintendent of the school district.
He fought hard for my vote that day.
The fact of the matter is that her boss was nothing more than a politician. That made her even lower on the power scale.
But he tried his best to smooth things over.
I got the feeling that he viewed the whole debacle as a sort of cat-fight between women.
Little did he know at the time, I planned on reducing the school’s access to money by reducing the headcount.
It dropped from approximately 600 to 595 at the end of that school year.
What to avoid in a homeschool journey.
Headcount? Well, you see, each school is paid by the state for each kid that is enrolled in the school.
In Texas, and probably everywhere else,the same form of payment is used to sell herds of cattle.
Yes, they view children as cattle for school funding purposes in Texas.
And the schools will lie, cheat, and falsify documents to get paid on that headcount.
The Homeschool Journey Truly Begins
That day, I went home and began a major research project on homeschool curriculum.
From my first foray into the world of homeschool, I already knew the State Laws and how to disenroll a child.
All I had to do was send a letter of intent to homeschool. It would cover everything the school needed to report to the State.
Everything they needed to show that they should be receiving less money, that is.
The Letter of Intent to Homeschool
The Letter of Intent to Homeschool was simple.
All I had to figure out was how to do it for more than one student at a time.
I ended up using one template and making a separate copy for each child with their name on it.
At the end of the 2014-2015 school-year, I sent the letters to the school informing them of our intent to homeschool.
Withdraw My Children!
The letters requested that my children to be withdrawn from the school.
They were the letters that marked the beginning of the homeschool journey.
But it wasn’t going to be a smooth process.
That same rude woman, probably now holding a grudge, tried every mean, nasty, and illegal trick up her sleeve.
She was determined to make the withdrawal process difficult.
The Threats Begin Again
I was told that she would make sure our children were held back when I re-registered them.
This says “when” because she assumed I would give up and bring them back to the school.
I was told that had to fill out some sort of paperwork for her files.
Now, filling out paperwork in this situation in Texas is absolutely unnecessary. According to my research, it could be detrimental from a legal standpoint.
But this woman took it a step further and illegally demanded that I abide by her rules.
Regardless of the Texas Education laws.
The Only Requirement
She was politely informed that the Texas law says my written statement was the only requirement.
This sent her into a rage. I’ve never seen a public servant get so bent out of shape!
But her reaction didn’t change the law. It certainly didn’t change the fact that I had already met the one and only requirement.
And when I refused to fill out her paperwork, she threatened to send a constable to my house and fine me again.
My husband and I had a good laugh about that.
Not only did we know our rights, but my husband was a 12-year veteran of the police force.
He personally knew the constable and had worked with him in the past.
The boogieman wouldn’t be paying us a visit.
Don’t let the boogieman get you!
The Texas Home School Coalition for a Smooth Homeschool Journey
Then, I began forwarding and copying her nasty emails to the school’s superintendent and to the Texas Homeschool Coalition.
THSC is an organization with lawyers on hand to help with disputes and educate about Texas homeschooling laws.
They are very accustomed to Texas public schools being unaware of the parents’ rights to homeschool their children.
And THSC’s advice was invaluable in making that woman madder at me than I had ever seen her.
Tantrums thrown by school officials are still tantrums.
For some reason she didn’t expect me to know our rights or her responsibilities in the matter.
I’m not sure why she had such an issue with such easy tasks. Maybe because she was working two jobs at once?
But her attitude didn’t win any battles in the war she created.
Numerous tantrums were thrown and she didn’t seem to realize or care that there were laws.
She threw so many tantrums that the superintendent finally told me to just ignore her.
Ignorance in The Home School Journey
This woman seemed to think that her unprofessional behavior was deserving of attention.
Her ignorance compelled me to dig my heels in.
Ignoring her wasn’t an option.
A Taste of Their Own Medicine
The superintendent was quickly informed that that woman was a legal liability to his job.
Her ignorance could get them sued down the road if he didn’t straighten her out.
You see, I know that homeschooling is popular in our area. At some point, someone was going to really let her have a taste of her own medicine.
Deflated and Inflated Egos
I ended up with an apology from the school district and a bit of an inflated ego.
It took weeks to get that woman to disenroll my children from the public school and I enjoyed every second of it.
While this incident was irritating; I have to admit that it provided me with an arrogant sense of superiority.
Entertainment and Success
It provided a bit of entertainment.
Yes, I was arrogant, and I used that to gain the upper hand.
It was a great way to start our homeschool journey and a satisfying ending to the public school maze.
Satisfied with the Homeschool Journey
There’s nothing more satisfying than to educate an “educator” on a power-trip.
To overrule someone whom is employed by an institute of education, about their own educational laws.
I was successful, and I’ve never talked to any of those people again.
Satisfied with the Homeschool Journey.
De-Schooling and The Start of a New Private School
We spent a month or so de-schooling, and then jumped straight into our studies.
In Texas, a homeschool is considered a private school; and I took this seriously.
I delved into guiding my children to information.
There wasn’t any teaching involved; I guided. All I had to do was treat it like it was homework.
Gave them the textbook and told them to read.
I told them to do the same thing I did when I needed to answer a question.
“Figure it out.”
Do you have started your own homeschool journey? Are you just getting started? How did withdrawing from the public school go for you? Let us know in the comments.
Go here to read more about the Pros and Cons of Homeschooling.